Annual PortFest supports the arts and music in local schools


Senior Ryan Rivera paints a participating child’s face at Portfest. Schreiber students volunteered at the event, which was hosted by the HEARTS foundation.

Tessa Peierls, Staff Writer

Upon entering the school on May 17, visitors were treated to a colorful display of elementary school artwork as the music of  elementary schools, middle school, and high school ensembles filled the cool air. With the constant performances in the field, the childrens ran around from one tent to another to experience the different activites that were held during PortFest.

“The thing that I like about Portfest is that it gives an opportunity for more creative people, like dance classes, bands, and drama clubs,” said junior Ariel Waldman.

This year’s PortFest featured entertainment by local artists, musicians and performers. Other activities included face painting, creating light-up paper lanterns,  making clay pets, and tie-dying. A silent auction was also held, which offered various prizes and gift packages, such as tickets to Jersey Boys and a ticket to the Port Summer Show.

Some of the other performance groups in PortFest this year were Battle of the Bands-winning student band Infinity and students from the Berest Dance Center. Actors from the Summer Show also performed.  Among the hosts for the various stages were the Improvables, Schreiber’s improv team.  There were four stages for performances as well as an art exhibit.

“I like that it’s something for the people who are artistically inclined to participate in, because we have less opportunities,” said junior Nina Grauer.

Ms. Olga Berest is the owner of Berest Dance Center, whose students have performed at PortFest every year.

“PortFest brought together masses of families from the community to celebrate the importance and need for the continued existence of the Arts,” said Ms. Berest.  “Unlike other fairs, this one concentrated only on music, art, dance, theatre and all that could creatively involve families and children.”

Due to budget cuts, Port Washington art programs have recently received less funding.  Ms. Sheri Suzzan, Director of Creative Arts, works with HEARTS to organize PortFest, in order to help fund arts programs in the district.

“HEARTS was founded to raise funds to enrich the arts,” said Ms. Suzzan.  “PortFest is a vehicle to bring awareness of how rich in the arts our community is.  A day to celebrate the arts both in the community and in our schools, and raise money to enrich the ever decreasing school budget for the arts.”

HEARTS, which stands for Helping Enrich the ARTS, is a community group whose mission is “to add meaningful value to children’s lives and our community by supporting, promoting and enriching the performing and visual arts programs in Port Washington Public Schools.”

This year marks the third annual Portfest.

“I had a blast getting getting to know the people that make this town so great,” said HEARTS Community Liaison Leigh Richards.

“It’s wonderful that an entire community can come together on one day to support HEARTS and it’s even more rewarding to see how much everyone enjoyed themselves,” said junior Lena Kogan.

Ms. Suzzan also shared her opinon about the arts in general.

“It is outstanding and inspirational! How can you not love the arts? It makes people feel good. Creativity rocks!” said Ms. Suzzan.