PCES celebrates ‘Arts Alive’ to wind down school year

By Mike Lange
Staff writer

    GUILFORD — Wearing hot pink or lime green T-shirts adorned with an “Arts Alive is a slam dunk” logo, more than 300 students and 100 volunteers participated in the annual celebration at Piscataquis Community Elementary School on June 7.

NE-ArtsAlive-S-PO-24Observer photo/Mike Lange

    BIRDHOUSE BUILDING was one of the popular classes at the “Arts Alive” celebration June 7 at Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford. Pictured, from left, are volunteer Jim Annis, Noah Littlefield, Kimberly Rideout, Jewell True and volunteer Kirby Roberts.

    “Arts Alive,” which started more than 30 years ago in School Administrative District 4, brings “the whole school and community together,” said Diane Stephen, a second-grade teacher and “Arts Alive” coordinator. “In addition, you have the dynamics of sixth-graders working with kindergarteners and first-graders on their projects. But we couldn’t do this successfully without the volunteers. They are amazing.”
    Walter Boomsma, a volunteer publicist for SAD 4, recalled that he got involved with “Arts Alive” 10 years ago when Valley Grange sponsored a Dictionary Project program for third-graders. “It takes a tremendous amount of organization and a lot of volunteers,” Boomsma said. “I became so impressed that I started substitute teaching last year.”
    The 30-plus workshops included birdhouse building, dance, tie-dying, sand art, geocaching, cake decorating; and making jewelry, homemade musical instruments and cards.
    Principal Julie Orton said that “Arts Alive” started with 100 students in the district’s old elementary school. “I didn’t think we could do it with more than 300 students in the same building, but Diane said she would make it happen. And she did,” Orton said.
    Programs like “Arts Alive” are a perfect example of how the school and community can work together, said the princpal. “And as long we have the community support and volunteers, we’ll always have ‘Arts Alive’ at PCES,” Orton said.
    Hardwood Products of Guilford hosted the barbecue lunch and provided financial assistance for “Arts Alive.”

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