By: Monika Spaulding

The community is invited to celebrate the Night of the Arts on Monday, March 4, from 6-8 p.m. at Salem Community Schools. This is the third year for the corporation-wide event which highlights student work and learning in the arts departments at all three schools, grades K-12.

The event will be held at Salem Middle School in the Ray Oppel Court (the new gym).

SHS art teacher Carole Clodfelter said there will be an art show displaying artwork from all three school buildings, as well as hands-on activities practiced in the elementary music classes. Musical performances will be held featuring members of the middle and high school choirs and bands.  

Clodfelter said the event is held in March to celebrate National Youth Art Month.  

“The Night of the Arts is a special time to share what students have been creating in the art and music classes with school, family and community members,” she said. “Students enjoy looking at other students’ artwork and listening to the different musical performances. It is a great opportunity for younger students to experience art and music and hopefully encourage them to continue exploring art and music in more advanced classes.”

The art show will also include the Senior Showcase, highlighting the efforts of seniors who have participated multiple years in art at the high school level.  

“Our Night of the Arts is an incredible opportunity for families!” said Bradie Shrum Elementary music teacher Andrea Gorman. “The atmosphere at our Night of the Arts is always energetic and full of life! It is always fun to look around and see everyone enjoying both art and music! Art and music are such amazing outlets for self-expression and also perfect for stress relief!”

Gorman said she enjoys viewing all of the artwork from students all the way from kindergarten to high school seniors. 

“Our art teachers do an incredible job with the students and it is impressive to see the student artwork,” she said. “The kids are extremely creative and it's really fun to see them using their artistic talents to express themselves.”

Gorman added that the event is a great opportunity for families to hear beautiful musical performances by SCS students.This year, the high school band and choir will perform in the same area as the artwork is displayed (ROC), so everyone can enjoy the music all evening while they view the artwork.

“Last year, our elementary music area was busy the whole night so I'm hoping it will be the same this year!” said Gorman. “I had a lot of people enjoying the interactive music activities all night–all the way from super young kids to my current and former students and even parents joining in on the fun! I'm hoping for a great turnout this year, too!”

Gorman said kids of all ages are encouraged to participate in interactive music opportunities. There will be bucket drums, rhythm instruments, Boomwhackers, rhythm basketball, jump bands (something new), and more.

“I look forward to seeing a lot of students and their families enjoying and making and exploring music together,” she said. “There will be a little bit of everything for families so they can feel like they are inside our music rooms and part of our music classroom experience.”

Gorman said Eric Lange, who teaches music in grades kindergarten through second, will be sharing a station with her that evening.  

Vanessa Read, who teaches art in grades kindergarten through second, said her students will be showcasing their art skills on display boards.  

“There are roughly 75 artworks per grade using a wide range of art mediums,” she said.

SMS art teacher Gwen Dowling said she thinks it was important to the music and art teachers to create an event like this because “the arts can sometimes get left out or not highlighted as easily or often as sporting events and such. We don't really have many events where the community can see everything that is happening with our students in their arts classes. 

“We have SO many talented students and we wanted to showcase these kids and put their amazing work out there for everyone to see,” she said. “We want people to come see us at Night of the Arts and realize how amazing our art programs really are!”

Dowling said it is a fun night for everyone with hands-on learning with instruments, music and art. 

“Ultimately, I think we want young children to come to this event and indulge in the hands-on aspects, touch the instruments, play the music games, look at the artwork and add something to whatever collaborative art I have out that year, and see how fun and exciting the arts can be!” she said. “It really starts with them. The excitement starts in our elementary school with hopes they are eager to learn more and create more in middle school and spark a great interest in the arts inside of them so they carry that over to the high school level and beyond!”

Rita Roberts, who teaches art to students in grades third through fifth said there will be over 100 artworks on display for students in her grade levels. 

“Realistic art, abstract art, landscapes, sculptures and Asian related art will be featured in our  display,” she said. “Our students have worked hard to complete some amazing things!”