SOMERS, N.Y. – Somers Central School District will hold its 16th annual Festival of the Arts show at Somers High School from 7 to 9 p.m. this Thursday.

The festival, which has been organized by the district’s art department every year since 2001, emphasizes the unified promotion of the art programs at all levels, kindergarten through 12th grade, said Angela Holder, a Somers High School art teacher and art department leader.

According to art department members, the best way to promote the program is to showcase the art students produce at all levels, Holder said.

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 “We really feel that a little kid’s art, a little kid’s drawing or scribble, is the seed and the foundation for what we do,” Holder said. “It is equally as important as the work of someone who is going off to college and doing incredible, masterpiece-quality art. It’s the same̶—they’re equally precious.”

The district offers basic art classes in the lower grade levels and more diverse, advanced classes once students age up and can choose their electives. With courses ranging from sculpture to fashion to graphic design, Holder said visitors to the show can expect a dynamic exhibit.

In addition to the students’ work featured at the show, the department chooses one student annually to be highlighted on the show’s promotional postcard. This year, senior Paige Wagner was featured with one of her sculptures.

“The art department chooses a senior who we feel best represents the hard work ethic of the department,” Holder said, adding that Wagner has taken every sculpture-related course offered by the school.

Beyond providing the community a fun evening and the students a chance to share their work, Holder said the district’s art classes provide a host of benefits to students. Art classes nurture vital problem-solving and 21st-century learning skills, she said.

Such skills are necessary to develop within the district’s cross-disciplinary approach to education, she added. In alignment with the STEAM framework for learning, an acronym for “science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics,” Holder said the department “really tries to promote the ‘A’ in STEAM as one of the building blocks of education.”

“The students work really hard all year,” Holder said. “This is a great event for the community, the families and the students to come out and support the Somers Central School District’s art program and the wonderful work that the K through 12 students create.”