School community celebrates the arts at PortFest

Anan Rayn, Contributing Writer

Face painting, performances, and even art galleries filled the halls in celebration of art and music in our schools. On May 11, HEARTS hosted the second annual PortFest indoors at Schreiber, due to poor weather conditions.

PortFest is an annual celebration of different areas of the arts where members of the community come together to see art pieces created at schools, whether they are performed or displayed on the wall.  Each of the schools in the district participated, and hosted activity booths.

“It was great to see all the different opportunities for creativity and art in Port Washington,” said junior Stephanie-Anne Thompson. “Being able to walk around and see artwork from kindergarten to a professional level was just amazing.  Everyone there seemed to really have a passion for the arts and I loved it! It was so nice to see people come together for what I think is a great cause.”

Port Washington hosts PortFest to fund the community organization HEARTS, which stands for “Helping Enrich the Arts.”

“PortFest is an incredible opportunity for the fine performing arts programs in our schools,” said director of creative arts Ms. Sheri Suzzan.  “We had the opportunity to showcase the fine talent in all seven of our schools through musical performances, and art exhibits.  All of the money raised goes to enriching the arts programs in all of our schools.”

At PortFest there were art galleries for viewing, live theatrical performances for watching and musical performances for listening.

There were also local artists who sold their artwork while elementary and middle school art was displayed in the halls.  Festival goers also had the opportunity to peruse wares from local vendors, who sold  a variety of art-related projects like sea glass, purses, make-your-own-print bandanas, necklaces, and pins.  Local businesses, including Port Pediatrics, also ran booths.

This year included a special spontaneous performance of the Harlem Shake, hosted by Berest Dance Center.

“I loved performing and I thought it was really fun,” said fourth grader Nicole Fernandes, who attends Berest, “My favorite part was when the older girls danced Swan Lake before the Harlem Shake.”

The Improvables, an improv troupe from Schreiber, also took the stage.

“This year I had the great opportunity to host one of the stages at PortFest,” said junior Sabrina Brennan. “What’s great about PortFest is that it’s a great showcase for performers.  I performed with the Improvables, and we did a lot of games.  With mostly musical improv with the help of the audience’s suggestions, it was a really one of a kind experience and I was happy to be a part of it.  The goal of Portfest was to support the arts and I definitely think they reached that goal.”

The event was considered a success, despite the unfortunate weather.

“It was nice to see the turnout for PortFest,” said sophomore Daniel Snyder.  “Not only where there great activities and entertainment for the kids, but everyone got to see some wonderful artists and also learn about the many local businesses we have in Port.”