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At festival, graffiti was encouraged

They even gave students the markers at Land O'Lakes High's annual event, at which drawings, dance, poetry and cooking filled the halls.

By MICHELLE JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 29, 2001


LAND O'LAKES -- People were encouraged to write graffiti on the walls at Land O'Lakes High School Friday night. Markers, in many colors, were even provided.

Paper, however, covered the walls where the graffiti went.

It was the 2001 Art Fest, sponsored by the Academy of Communications, Arts and Public Service and the school's National Art Honor Society. Art, dance, poetry, culinary arts, music and drama were featured throughout the school. "XC Rocks" was 15-year-old Danielle Shimer's contribution to the graffiti wall; it meant, she explained, that cross country rules.

Danielle also helped at the Kid's Korner, where children had an opportunity to participate in arts and crafts and watch a puppet show.

Cassie Coughlin, 10, was making a quiet bottle at one of the tables covered with bottles of water, glitter, colored beads, toothpicks, corn kernels, food coloring and liquid soap to make the water inside the bottle bubble.

The idea was to put the stuff in the bottle, shake it up and watch it float.

"It is really cool," Cassie said as she finished her creation.

Jamie Martin, the Early Childhood Education teacher, said all 40 of her students were volunteering in the Kid's Korner.

"They are wonderful kids," she said. "Most kids get a bum rap, but I have wonderful kids."

In the vocational hallway of the school, the Culinary Arts class was offering chili samples as four teams competed against each other in a chili cookoff.

Flavors of Southern chunky, cactus jack venison, boohoo and Ned's Texas red chili were available in small cups.

Jerry Stacy, the girl's basketball coach, said he liked the boohoo chili.

"It is spicy enough to make it good," he said. "It has a nice, rich flavor, and it is good and meaty."

He couldn't cast his vote for it, however, until he tasted the others.

Travis Hartmann, 16, Matt Parrish, 15, and Sean O'Connor, 15, cooked the boohoo chili.

"We made it so spicy it should make you cry," Travis said.

Dancers from dance studios and instrumental groups, and choral groups from elementary, middle and high schools entertained in the senior cafeteria and the upper cafeteria, along with a chorus from the University of South Florida. The Sanders Elementary School Chorus performed songs including Whacky Do Re Me and Heart of America. All of the groups sang to standing-room-only, appreciative audiences.

Molly Shattuck, 12, was one of the members of the Dance and Gymnastics Academy of Tampa who performed. Dressed in blue leotards with gold stars, the girls danced to Get Down Tonight.

"This is an excellent opportunity to show what skills they have learned and a good way for them to get exposure," said Christine Shattuck, Molly's mother.

Myrtle Bailey and her daughter Jennifer were waiting to see Jennifer's sister Jacqueline, 11, perform with her group from Denham Oaks Elementary.

While they waited, they shared a piece of Northwestern Supreme Cherry Cheesecake that the culinary arts class had made along with several other desserts to sell.

"It is delicious," Bailey said. Roxana Padley and her 13-year-old daughter, Brittany, were also sampling the desserts.

"I hope they took out the calories," said Roxana Padley as she ate a piece of chocolate peanut cake. "This is fantastic."

The Land O'Lakes High School Thespians performed along with the Quail Hollow ES Book Talkers in a minitheater. And the school's jazz combo entertained along with Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger, published poets who gave readings and signed their books.

Erin Sell, 15, from the Medical Skills Program, checked people's blood pressure and handed out coloring books.

Student art was hung in the theater room and exhibits by photographer George Cuddeback and artist Marge Whaley were showcased in the commons area.

Flora Chan, a 10-grader, won a blue ribbon for her sketch, which she titled Submerged with Emotion.

Ariel Brown, 10, left the festival with a smile and a blue and purple hair wrap she got at the Kid's Korner.

She also performed with her school chorus.

"These are my two favorite colors," she said, referring to a strand of her long blond hair wrapped in thread. "But the singing was the most fun."

-- Michelle Jones covers central Pasco community news. She can be reached at (813) 226-3459.

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