Drama and musical performances are scheduled for Arts at the Plaza on April 27. Photo courtesy Columbia County School District
Drama and musical performances are scheduled for Arts at the Plaza on April 27. Photo courtesy Columbia County School District

Arts at the Plaza highlights Columbia County student artists and performers

More than 2,000 elementary through high school students will participate in the inaugural Columbia County Arts at the Plaza April 27.

“The fine arts is a wide spectrum of talented young people. It’s challenging to get to all the band concerts, get to all the choral performances, get to all the theater, drama performances, to see all the different art works,” said Brooks Smith, the Columbia County School District’s career and college coordinator, who is helping spearhead the initiative. “We have quite the patchwork of the art shows and performances throughout the school year. What I thought would be amazing…if we could pull all of these different art forms together.”

And a festival was born to highlight the talents of Columbia County’s students.

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., arts lovers can view visual arts that are either on display in person at the Columbia County Performing Arts Center or digitally, while a variety of performances will take place.

Many events will take place on the center’s stage while smaller ensembles will be featured inside the lobby.

Danielle Starcher, who teaches music at River Ridge Elementary School as well as helping with the event, said her students are thrilled to be participating in Saturday’s festival.

“They are just so excited to see the size of the stage. They are used to a very small stage. I tried to explain what an incredible opportunity it is to perform at this facility. It’s not an opportunity most students have. Some performers work all their lives to perform in something like this.”

More than 2,000 students are expected to participate in the annual Arts at the Plaza April 27. Photo courtesy the Columbia County School District

For some schools, a musical performance might include rearranging the cafeteria to provide a performance space with seating. This gives students a bigger picture.

Starcher said she’s excited that students will have the chance to see the programs available at the schools they will feed into.

Smith said the event will have a true festival feel as the market has recently opened next to the performing arts center. People can shop or buy funnel cakes and other refreshments at the market then go and catch a performance.

“They will really be immersed in a wide range of talent,” he said.

The debut arts fest has been in the planning for a couple of years and organizers hope that it will be something that people enjoy and want to see continue.

“My hope is it will be such a success that it’s going to continue to grow into maybe more than one day – grow into a weekend,” Starcher said.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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