Giraffes, zebras, and antelope wandered through the Kincaid Elementary School gym, which helped to bring the “Lion King Jr.,” play to life. In a classroom, students pulled and tugged on the colorful goo dripping from their hands. Outside, other students drained water from pink and green pulp made out of old t-shirts.
The activities were all part of Kincaid’s annual Celebration of the Arts.
“It is a long-standing event at Kincaid Elementary. I think we have had it ever since the school was built in 1973,” said Patsy Rausch, Kincaid art teacher and event organizer. “The students get assemblies and break out sessions on art, music, dance, and drama. They experience a level of art culture that they may have never experienced.”
From a cartoonist and graphic artist to a choral director and yoga instructor, the students spent the day engaging with and learning about working artists. They also experimented with different art mediums.
Rausch, who wanted the students to understand that not all artists become art teachers, beamed when she talked about her favorite session at the Kincaid art celebration—paper making.
“[The portable papermaker] was acquired through a grant from Cobb Tank. The grant provided the funds to get a hollander beater. The hollander beater is a portable beater that pulps t-shirts. The pulp is made into paper,” explained Rausch.
When she is not using it for Kincaid’s Celebration of the Arts, Rausch shares the machine with other art teachers in the Cobb County School District so their students can also learn about the art of papermaking.
Many of the artists in residence at Kincaid’s Celebration of the Arts were parents and community members. At least one was an alumnus of Kincaid.
“We like to pull people from the children’s village,” added Rausch.
Community members are not the only ones who stepped in to teach Kincaid students about the arts. To the delight of the students, a group of Kincaid fifth graders conducted slime workshops for students in the lower grades.
“We had butter slime, fluffy slime, and glitter slime,” described fifth grader Janice. “We [taught] some students from kindergarten, second, and third grades how to do it. It is really fun. It is messy. I love just playing with it.”
Other Kincaid students gave their fellow students a taste of theatrical art when they performed “Circle of Life” from the “Lion King Jr.” play.
“We picked kids from the audience to get up on stage to make art real, to make it relevant. They got to perform “Circle of Life” like they just watched,” recalled music specialist Peter Bush.
Fifth grader Anya, who played Rafiki in Kincaid’s adaptation of the play, was looking forward to all the art activities ahead of her after she stepped off stage at the end of her theater workshop.
If her love of the arts continues, Anya may be back at Kincaid two decades from now teaching a “Celebration of the Arts” workshop herself.
“I love illustrating and painting. I’m an artist,” Anya declared. “I love singing and acting because art is my favorite thing to do.”