Old Orchard Beach High School students are bustling about the school today, putting the finishing touches on a variety of art awareness projects.

In the cafeteria, drama club members rehearse scenes for a play, while art students deck the walls with mixed-media art works for an exhibit. In the hallways, the tantalizing smell of baking apples and cinnamon fills the air as culinary arts students practice baking.

It’s all in preparation for the school’s third annual “Arts and Acting a la Mode” event to be held at 7 p.m. today, showcasing student art at the school.

Old Orchard Beach High School Art Director Martha Curtis Gagne, who is always seeking creative ways to generate appreciation for various art forms, proposed the multi-department arts collaboration. Though other high schools offer similar events, pairing art with music, Curtis Gagne wanted to focus on the visual component of art by merging acting and culinary works with traditional forms of the discipline.

The project aims to impart value to those works in two ways: by recognizing the individual contributions of student participants and by raising money to fund programs they are enrolled in, together with charities of their choice. Some of the funds raised at the event will buy art supplies for Haitian children through the Kids Love Kids operation’s “Operation Goody Bag” program.

Tonight’s show features the one-act play “Masterpiece,” which drama club students performed this past weekend in regional competition in Maine’s One-Act Play Festival.

Old Orchard Beach was awarded a certificate of achievement for outstanding prop design and construction. And, student Lucas Wade was awarded an All-Festival Cast Award.

Amy Wright, the school’s drama director and event coordinator, said the play was the perfect fit for both the competition and tonight’s community show, as it details the life of an artist.

“I’m hoping the event will yield a good turnout,” said Wright. “I’d like our students to know what it’s like to have a full audience respond to their work.”

Since this night is all about merging arts forms, it follows that many of the school’s students will play crossover roles throughout the event.

Senior Callie Mills, 18, will turn out two performances — first as a baker to help create the event’s dessert, and then as a character on stage.

“I’ll play the role of the color purple in the play,” said Mills. “This is a story of an artists’ life as told from the point of view of the colors from her creations.”

Junior student Angie Paolucci, 16, also will do double duty as the drama stage manager who has a brief role in the play.

Paolucci said many of her peers have stepped forward to fill various roles to make the event a success, and one she is eager to share with others.

“Performing this show for the community allows everyone to see the hard work we all have been doing throughout the year,” said Paolucci of the varied student contributions.

The art exhibition includes pastel and oil paintings, textiles, weavings and batiks, sculptures, ceramics, drawings and masks created by grade 9-12 students.

The handiwork of culinary arts students also will be displayed — though for a very limited time.

Junior chefs from instructor Ann Nash’s Culinary Arts II class will put the “A” in a la mode, by turning out 100 servings of the event’s signature homemade apple crisp dessert during their regular class blocks today.

Nash said her students are up to the task but naturally a bit nervous to be baking for such a big crowd.

“The expectation for the end product goes up considerably when you know it’s going to be served to the public,” said Nash. “They need to be mindful of safety and sanitation rules, while making sure the dessert looks and tastes good. Though, their biggest challenge is likely to be that they won’t get to eat any of it in class, as they usually do.”

As the energy built for the student works to take center stage this evening, Curtis Gagne applauded this opportunity to celebrate the various art disciplines.

“Creating art can be a very isolating process and there are not a lot of opportunities for collaboration,” said Curtis Gagne. “Integrations like these, whenever they can occur, are always welcome events.”

 

Staff Writer Deborah Sayer can be contacted at 791-6308 or at: [email protected]