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Music, art, comedy on tap at Batavia Fine Arts Festival

Empty Bowls sundaes to support food pantry

BATAVIA – For the sheer joy of creativity, the Batavia Fine Arts Festival not only will showcase the talents of Batavia High School students in performing and visual mediums, but will also invite Tri-Cities community members to make and take their own art.

The event opens at 5 p.m. March 3, capped by a live multimedia student performance of improv comedy melded with video beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box theater at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre, where the festival is set in the two-story lobby. Also featured will be ice cream sundaes as part of a fundraiser to support the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry.

In addition to fine art displays by students, musical offerings will highlight a string quartet, the BHS Jazz Combo and the Chromatics, an a cappella singing group, all performing on the balcony of the lobby. That perch was an acoustic hit at last year’s event, said art teacher Jennifer Melendez, who helped found the festival five years ago.

“All of their beautiful sound resonated through the whole facility,” she said of the 2016 event.

In addition to art on display, students will be busy at tables creating artwork before everyone’s eyes, Melendez said.

“It’s fun to walk past and see them making artwork live,” she said.

There will be two areas where visitors of all ages can get in on the act at no cost. At the Creative Corner for crafts, people can fashion duct tape art and artist trading cards.

“The Graphics Maker Taker is a fun place where you might be able to make some custom buttons for free,” said Melendez, noting there also may be pop-up shops with student designs.

Henna tattoos will be offered for a charge dependent on the intricacy of the temporary design.

“Our National Art Honor Society students will be doing henna tattoos on anyone who wants one; the proceeds will go toward our art program,” Melendez said.

Students have handcrafted one-of-kind ceramic bowls and mugs that will be for sale for $10 to support the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry, as part of the Empty Bowls nationwide grassroots campaign. Cash or checks are requested.

Melendez said it’s been a BHS project for many years. This year, it will offer a choice of coffee or a build-your-own ice cream sundae to sweeten the Empty Bowls deal.

Kimmer’s Ice Cream in St. Charles has donated all the ice cream. Melendez said owner Kimberly Elam is a BHS graduate.

“It’s wonderful she’s giving back not only to the community, but to her alma mater as well,” Melendez said.

The festival open house will end at 7:30 p.m., when people are invited to the free show by the improv comedy troupe called But Seriously, Folks, teaming up with the school’s video production class.

Helping run the festival are members of the National Art Honor Society, along with the following teachers, Dawn Zalkus, art; Andrea Schindlbeck, art; Kathleen Tieri-Ton, graphics; Scott Larson, video production; Peter Barsch, chorus; Chris Owen, band; Allison Liska, orchestra; Brian Van Kley, band; and Dominic Cattero, Batavia Fine Arts Centre director.

“The [festival will] showcase what amazing students we have – how talented they are and how much they love the arts,” Melendez said. “We wanted to offer something for our community to come and see all the wonderful things happening at Batavia High School in the arts programs.”


• 5 to 6 p.m. BHS String Quartet

• 6 to 6:20 p.m. Chromatics vocal group

• 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. BHS Jazz Combo

• 7:30 p.m. But Seriously, Folks improv partnering with video production showcase

• 5 to 7:30 p.m. Empty Bowls benefit featuring Kimmer’s Ice Cream; Creative Corner; Graphics Maker Taker;  student artist tables; henna tattooing

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