The arts are alive and well in the lakes region. Next Tuesday and Wednesday evening, May 25-26, more than 100 students at Lake Region High School will show the community what they’ve been painting, designing, choreographing and sketching at the second annual Student Art Festival.

The show will include work you’d expect, such as painting and sculpture, but there will also be dancing, music and a fashion show.

“We want to show the community what we’re all about,” says Chris Beal, art teacher.

The school will open its doors at 5:30. Admission is free. Art will be hanging in the lobby and hallways, and at 7 p.m. shows will start in the auditorium.

Everything from hip-hop to jazz to ballet is planned for the “dance showcase” with 17 dancers. Angelica Beek, a senior from Casco, will be doing her routine to music by Michael Jackson and Carrie Underwood. Beek has been prancing and twirling since she was 7 or 8 years old and will be performing a “point dance,” a kind of ballet, at the showcase.

“I’m going to Central Maine Community College in the fall,” Beek says. “I’m going to start majoring in elementary education, and then attend the University of Maine at Farmington and the dance program up there. I’m ultimately hoping to become a dance teacher.”

Beek is already getting a taste of teaching at Lake Region. She’s an assistant teacher for the freshman-level dance courses, assisting faculty member Carmel Collins.

“It’s a completely different level when you’re learning choreography and then actually teaching it to students,” Collins said. “Angelica has done this for the past two years.”

The hallway will display artwork by many, including Ashley McGinn, a senior from Bridgton. She’s pretty fast with charcoal and chalk, and will be displaying a few of her “speed sketches.”

McGinn is another student approaching adulthood who came to art an early age. Programs at Lake Region have been a positive way for a student like her to develop a hobby into real talent. McGinn likes abstract art and remembers people scolding her for coloring outside the lines when she was young.

“I’ve been doing art since I was about 4 years old,” she said. “Charcoal’s my favorite; I like getting messy.”

Some speed sketches take her just a few minutes, while others take more time. “Gypsy,” which is charcoal and chalk, took her about an hour to complete.

Faculty members say the student show is not just for the super talented; anyone enrolled in art classes gets to show off.

“We want to show the community the talents we have here,” said Bruce Hilton, industrial technology instructor. “Some kids don’t get enough recognition.

The show displays different calibers and abilities; there’s a sense of pride in what’s been done here.”

Ben Calileo, a Bridgton senior, is in Hilton’s “woods and metals” class and fashioned many laminated cutting boards that will be used in home economics classes. The boards were a required, graded project, but Hilton encourages students to go off on their own directions, too.

Calileo likes the equipment in the woodshop and has chosen to spend many “free periods” there since he was a freshman. He got creative and made a wooden hoop for a fly fishing net. Many other students have taken to welding, discovering it can be a practical skill as well as a window to creating unique sculpture. Several pieces of metal art will be on display at the show.

The school hopes two nights is enough to squeeze in all the offerings. There will be different performances each night. Tuesday is the “dance showcase,” Wednesday is the “pops concert.” For more information, call the school at 693-6221.


Don Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Raymond. He can be reached at: [email protected]


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