Cultural Activities Center festival

Samantha Guthrie, 7, plays with inflatable animals during the second annual Festival of the Arts at the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center in Temple on Saturday. There were about 3,000 pieces of art in the gallery.

TEMPLE — About 3,000 pieces of art decorated the gallery Saturday for the second annual Festival of Arts at the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center.

“This is the largest display of student artwork in Central Texas,” said Robin Couvillion, executive director of the CAC. About 18 public, private and church schools participated.

The art gallery will remain open for four weeks, he said.

The day’s activities started with an 8 a.m. Run for the Roof 5k, sponsored by the Contemporaries of the CAC. That was to fund a new roof for the center, but the art festival was open to the public. “It’s for the people to see what the CAC is about,” Couvillion said.

Although there have been art exhibits at the CAC for 18 years, the festival added a lot more activities, said Jane Boone, CAC marketing director. In addition to the 5k, festivities included a one-mile fun run, a phantom run, live music, an inflatable obstacle course, sidewalk drawing and paper art.

Emily Hill, 10, a fourth-grader at Trinity Episcopal in Marshall, finished first in the 14-and-under category in the 5k run, with a time of 36 minutes.

A frequent participant in the CAC art projects, she is the daughter of Graydon and K.D. Hill, of Salado.

After the race, Emily, her mom, and her grandparents, Bob and Sharon Douglas of Morgan’s Point Resort, looked at the raku pottery demonstration in the CAC ceramic studio. Sharon Douglas is president-elect of the Contemporaries.

Raku firing is a Japanese method, said Marilyn Ritchie, CAC visual arts director and art teacher at Holy Trinity Catholic High School.

Raku got started when an emperor decided he wanted pottery work done right away. His artists told him pottery takes time, but he couldn’t see the reason for a delay.

“It became a ritual for Japanese tea ceremony,” she said. “It was totally choreographed from that moment on. We don’t choreograph it.”

She said the potter glazes a bisque-fired pot, and immediately fires it in a raku kiln. After about 40 minutes, while it is still red hot, it is put in a garbage can with shredded newspaper. It is then taken out and quenched in water. The process makes unusual images on the pottery.

Instead of newspaper, the Japanese used leaves, rags or other combustibles, Ritchie said. “Artists are all for experimentation.”

Kim Kennedy, a visual arts teacher at Travis Science Academy in Temple, said the art festival included the work of about 100 students in grades six, seven and eight. One example was a family tree made of plastic bags and string, “interpreted in fibers,” by Lizette Wong, a seventh-grader.

“This was to me a higher level of thinking for the seventh grade,” Kennedy said. “I had seen something at the Texas Art Educators Convention that made me think of the fiber that she worked with, and that inspired the family tree.”

She showed two collaborative works, a cardboard sculpture and a recycled bottle project. “You learn now to stretch your budget,” she said.

“Some of the kids don’t even know they have this talent until they’re in art class,” she said. “Some didn’t want to be there, but in time they’re happy. It gives them an outlet.”

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