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Elmsford Union Free School District Incorporates STEAM Into Art Festival

Left to right: Elmsford Union Free School District grade 11 students Emily Santos and Chelsea Garvey
Left to right: Elmsford Union Free School District grade 11 students Emily Santos and Chelsea Garvey Photo Credit: Contributed

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Each year, students in the Elmsford Union Free School District look forward to the art show to celebrate the excellent work done by students throughout our school district. This year was no exception; we were once again able to walk the halls of Grady Elementary School and see beautiful works of art. This show, however, was different from previous years.

Dubbed the Spring “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Festival, this celebration brought new activities to the scene. Grady Elementary School art teacher Leah Sanft, who organized the event with teachers Laura Wygant and Carrie Silva, explained the change.

“We really wanted to have an event where everyone could be a participant in the arts, not just a spectator," Sanft said. "We wanted to shine a light on the importance of all the arts, and how the arts are part of all kinds of learning.”

As a result, while we viewed the art work on the walls, we also were able to experience hands-on activities at display stations. Sanft welcomed everyone to the show with a collaborative hallway mural celebrating a spring scene. Teachers and student-helpers created activities for younger kids like beading, knitting, poetry writing, postcard making, techno charms, dance, cupcake decorating and musical chairs.

We also learned how art can be seen in mathematics and science through demonstrations on Mondrian math, math quilting, origami, bubble-making, robotics and microscope slides. The courtyard was opened as a performance space for music, poetry and spoken-word performances.

Grady music instructor Tim Brown and his fifth- and sixth-grade students opened up the evening with an amazing mash-up performance combining drumming patterns and rhythmic instrument patterns from Ghana with a three-part melody from Zimbabwe. Everyone loved the individual performances, including the third- and fourth-grade poetry readers and our high school singers and spoken-word poets.

From our point of view, the evening was a great way to let off STEAM and enjoy the artistic talents that flourish in the Elmsford UFSD.

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