Telstar Middle School’s ArtReach event set for Thursday

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BETHEL — Telstar Middle School art students will host the school’s 10th annual ArtReach event, titled “Show Your Sparks,” from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, to help support a new collaborative program between School Administrative District 44 and the University of Maine 4-H Bryant Pond Learning Center.

Melissa Prescott, visual arts teacher at Telstar Middle School, said that she started the ArtReach program 10 years ago, describing it as an “annual arts-integrated service learning project” where students focus on providing “service to others through creativity, collaboration, communication and civic involvement in real-world problems.”

“Students begin the ArtReach at the start of each school year by working together to choose a worthy cause to help,” Prescott explained. “This might be a good thing that they see happening in the community that they want to support, or a problem in the community they want to help solve.”

Prescott said that after the art students choose a project to focus their efforts on, they “attend project-related field trips to learn more about what they chose, produce a short film and design a website to educate the public about the project.”

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The students in Prescott’s sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade advanced art classes chose to support the Telstar Freshman Academy program, which Prescott said is a “collaboration between SAD 44 and the U-Maine 4-H Bryant Pond Learning Center designed to increase student engagement and academic success through experiential integrated learning.”

Prescott said that all of the visual and performing artworks presented at the Dec. 11 show “are designed to showcase the students’ ‘sparks.’”

“We’re using the word ‘sparks’ as a metaphor to describe the passions and interests of youth that light up their lives and express the core of who they are and what they bring to the world,” Prescott said. “The goal of the students is to increase ‘sparks-focused’ learning opportunities at the Telstar Freshman Academy in collaboration with local nonprofits.”

The student art exhibit portion of the event will last from 5 to 7:30 p.m., with all proceeds of purchases of student art sales going toward funding activities at the Telstar Freshman Academy.

Prescott said that the performance portion of the event will begin at 6:30 p.m., with “short films produced by students, as well as musical performances, poetry, comedy, dance and more.

“We also have five short films to share, some made by teams of students, others made by individuals,” Prescott said.

For more information on the 2014 ArtReach event, visit www.ShowYourSparks.wix.com/Telstar.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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