North Plainfield Arts Festival Features Live Paintings, Poetry Slams

Credits: NA Rudy
Credits: NA Rudy
Fourth grader Farah Bajinath won the poetry slam.  Credits: NA Rudy
Credits: NA Rudy
Credits: NA Rudy

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Kids from Kindergarten to High School spent months crafting the art on display at the 19th Annual North Plainfield Arts Festival Friday Night.  Hundreds of students, parents and attendees packed the High School for three hours as the young artists proudly, and sometimes nervously, showed off their work.

The students demonstrated a wide array of skills for just about every type of art possible, including performance, baking, poetry, music, painting, computer design, photography and more. Few classes of art were left out.

At the visual art exhibit work from every age of student was on display, from cute animal crafts to advanced digital photography.  Mixed media paintings were very popular, and the colors jumped out around the room.

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Sonya Larado, who teaches art and digital photography throughout the district, was especially proud.  “Every one of these digital photographs was taken right here at the high school campus,” she said, obviously impressed by her students. “But each one has such different colors, textures and perspectives you’d never guess..” 

For the second year in a row, East End School students participated in a “poetry slam” competition to see who could not only write the best poem, but give the best performance.  A dozen writers from kindergarten to fourth grade showed off their original work in front of a packed high school library, including seven who had performed the previous year.  Fourth grader Farah Bajinath won the poetry slam.

“Many times I read the submissions ahead of time and wonder if the poems are going to be any good,” said Alison Longley, East End librarian. “But then they stand up and read them and they are all wonderful.  Poetry is meant to be read.” 

Each of North Plaifnield’s six schools sent their band or chorus to perform at the auditorium, complemented by the middle school Wind Ensemble and the high school Jazz Band.  Also performing were the Winter Guard, a drama workshop and a series of living paintings. The Winter Guard will perform again today at 4 p.m. at the High School.

The living paintings are a regular performance piece for the high school, says high school drama teacher Leann Chiaramante, and has been done many times.  “It’s always extremely popular with the audiences, and our performers love to do it.”

Sophomore George Garcia performed as Spaniard Salvatore Dali presenting his painting The Persistence of Memory. Dressed in a brown suit with Dali’s trademark curled moustache painted on, Garcia explained to the crowd about the history of the painting and answered questions. “Mostly they want to know why the clocks are dripping,” said Garcia.

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