VAN ALSTYNE — The Van Alstyne Independent School District held its first ever Arts Festival on Thursday, May. 3 to celebratet the hard work and artistic ability of Van Alstyne’s students, with submissions from students in every grade level from elementary to high school.

The halls were lined with beautiful pieces of drawn and painted art, courtesy of the art departments students. Theatrical shows and musical performances were held throughout the event, entertaining the crowds of parents and members of the community who came to support the cause.

Fine arts director Tim Fulton, the man who got the ball rolling on the event, shared the goals for this arts filled evening.

“It’s just a come and go event, its an opportunity for parents to come see what their kids have been working on all year, and have a good time,” Fulton said, adding that the diversity of art being displayed is important. “It allows some students who otherwise wouldn’t have seen a band performance or haven’t been exposed to theater to tonight get the chance to be exposed to these different artistic avenues.”

With many school districts making athletics a main priority, the importance of the arts can oftentimes go unsung. However, with events like the Arts Festival, students are given the opportunity to share their talents with their community.

Local parent Veronica Westmerlin gave her rousing support for VAISD fine arts programs.

“Whats really great is that no matter what your kids do, they are pushed to do their best — whether its band, art or athletics, they are always supported and always being pushed in a positive direction,” Westmerlin said. She went on to compliment how the event came together. “It’s simply amazing — the artwork they have, the community coming out in full support. It’s great for the kids.”

The VAMS and VAHS theater teacher Jeremy Stein expanded on these sentiments.

“It gives them [students] a chance to express themselves,” Stein said. “It’s an outlet for those who might not feel their most comfortable on a field, but they have something to say — they have opinions, hopes and dreams. And it’s yet one more outlet that allows them to express themselves and take ownership of their work.”

The look of pride and confidence shown by the Van Alstyne students was inescapable. Every student walked with a head held high, beaming as they showed parents and peers their work.

“I like it, I feel proud,” VAHS senior Jessica Webb said of the show. “I like that they are finally really showing the arts side of the school, because Van Alstyne is a lot of times more focused on sports. So, this is a great opportunity for some less exposed programs to showcase what they do.”

With the final performance taking a group bow on stage, the VAISD finished their first year of what is sure to be a cherished annual event.