TPHS Arts Fest

A woman stands in the dim light of her kitchen, cleaning. An octopus reaches out its tentacles, searching. Hands extend upwards to hold a plant, supporting. The room falls silent, waiting. A silhouette appears, dancing.

The second annual TPHS Arts Fest — held May 19 through 20 — was simply exquisite. Starting at 4:30 p.m. in the lobby of the TPHS Performing Arts Center, community members wound their way through rows of artwork made by students of every skill level. Beautiful paintings, photographs, sketches and sculptures filled the room.

“Her name,” a remarkable oil painting on canvas by Julia Liu (12), featuring a woman cleaning a kitchen, stood upright on an easel, backlit against a window. Many pieces of artwork were displayed just like this, making it feel as though one was standing right next to the displayed subject.

Placed adjacent to the gallery walk of 2-D art sat a table covered with shiny ceramic pieces. An octopus, created by Daisy Chen (9), was colored in blue and orange and sat upright with its long, thin tentacles seeming to extend toward the viewer.

Projects made of materials ranging from clay to cardboard were scattered around the gallery as well, depicting animals, foods, mugs and vases. A highlight of this selection was a sculpted set of hands cradling a face, created by Kiara Edwards (11), which held a potted plant in its “skull.” The finished product can only be described as peaceful — a state attained by the harmony of the mix of plant and clay textiles and the serene expression on the face.

For two hours, people strolled through the gallery, enjoying the art free of charge. Later that evening, people were admitted into the Proscenium Theatre inside the PAC to watch live performances by the TPHS Dance Company, members of the TPPlayers and other students who volunteered their talents. Libby Bezdek (12) kicked off the performances with a small dance and moving speech about the importance of keeping the arts alive.

There were many incredible performances, choreographed and practiced to perfection. The Intermediate and Advanced Dance P.E. classes took to the stage in fun, coordinating outfits, such as black and white sets, matching orange shirts and sparkly tops. Some of the performances by the Dance P.E. classes featured up to 50 dancers at once — a number made even more impressive by the performers’ coordination.

One performance in particular highlighted the skill involved in sharing the stage with so many dancers. Clad in black shorts and white button-down shirts, the dancers twirled, spun and rolled, all while constantly changing the size of the dominant group on stage. With just a few girls starting out on stage, more joined them and then swiftly left again. The performance was so enrapturing that it was hard to know where to look at some points, trying to take it all in at once.

The music choices for each dance were equally interesting. Many performances started off slow to match the dreamy music before transitioning to quicker movements to keep up with the louder, harsher music. Never was there a dull moment.

Dance was not the only live performance, however. Poetry, music and a short film were also featured.

Gwynnie Kermorris (11) performed “A Gilded Little Town,” an original poem that personified emotions such as envy and narcissism, while also questioning human nature.

Addi Rose (9) performed an original song, “The Way it Was Before,” singing and playing the guitar. With heartbreaking lyrics and a clear voice, her performance was stunning.

“Shelby,” a short film by Ryan Hincy (11), who takes Advanced Video Film and is a member of the TPHS broadcast show Falcon Vision, featured a sweet-natured dog who always wanted to go with his owner to the park. This film was met with smiles and warm exclamations from across the audience.

The Proscenium Theatre brightened an hour later, to the collective disappointment of the Arts Fest patrons. Exiting the packed theater and passing through the rows of art in the lobby, everyone in the audience — including me — was sad to leave.

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