SAN GABRIEL, CA – Fifteen second- and third-grade English learner students thumped their chests, waved their hands in the air as they sang and acted out their feelings during a passionate rendition of “Flashlight” from “Pitch Perfect 2,” earning wild cheers and applause from an audience of parents, teachers, staff and community members.

This emotional performance was one highlight of ArtFest, Washington Elementary’s annual celebration of student talent and creative expression staged on April 21.

“I look forward to ArtFest every year because it allows us to express ourselves and share our art with others,” fifth-grader Karyme Martinez said. “I like that I can share my interests with my friends and family and do creative activities with them.”

Washington’s cafeteria was transformed into an art gallery for the event, complete with the musical stylings of Gabrielino High School’s string orchestra. Parents, students and community members studied panels of student artwork from every Washington student, which ranged from still life paintings to portraits and mixed-media collages.

Each grade level also put on its own performance, highlighting student progress in choral, dance and instrumental music studies. Fifth-graders donned leis and sang “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid,” while kindergarteners delighted parents with their rendition of “The Hokey Pokey.”

ArtFest began as a small year-end event to highlight student art projects and developed into a community affair celebrating the importance of art in education, complete with a student gallery, musical performances and hands-on activities.

“Our art program helps us make the arts – in all their forms – a priority in our students’ education,” Washington Principal Ross Perry said. “ArtFest is our way of saying thank you to everyone who supports our program and helps us encourage creative expression in and out of the classroom.”

Family-friendly activities included chalk drawing, clay sculpting, mask making, watercolor painting and a digital illustration demonstration from artist Ian Dale.

“San Gabriel Unified believes art is fundamental to a well-rounded education, whether it is learned and expressed through performances, painting, or other media,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “Thank you to Washington teachers, staff and parents for providing their students the opportunity to celebrate their artistic accomplishments.”


042817_SANGAB_ARTFEST1: Washington Elementary’s second- and third-grade English learner students entertain parents, staff and community members with an enthusiastic rendition of “Flashlight” from “Pitch Perfect 2” at the eighth annual ArtFest on April 21.

042817_SANGAB_ARTFEST2: San Gabriel Unified students, families and community members sculpt clay creations during Washington Elementary’s ArtFest celebration on April 21. The annual event celebrates the importance of art in education with a student gallery, musical performances and family-friendly activities.