Annual gala to feature live music, artwork, drama, working artists

Cary Ashby • Mar 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM

The annual Celebration of the Arts simply doesn’t honor the fine arts; the gala is an immersive experience.

Norwalk High School students will provide background music while you stroll through the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center admiring the best of the best — artwork by students in kindergarten through 12th grade. 

Artists will be creating new work in the gallery while visitors enjoy appetizers and desserts and the drama department will perform scenes from “Seussical the Musical.”

The March 18 gala kicks off with appetizers and desserts from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Percussionist Elec Simon, currently a soloist with the Cleveland Cavaliers Qstix, is the featured performer during his concert at 8 p.m. He was a 10-year member of the off-Broadway show “Stomp.”

Simon will perform with five other musicians.

“He’s full of kindness and talent. I think he’s going to bring a great show,” said Jennifer Evans, who co-chairs the gala with Mollie Wetherill. “He is one of the showmen for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ halftime show.”

As of Wednesday, about 400 tickets had been sold. The cost is $60 and $30 for adults and $15 for students.

By going to acelebrationofthearts.ticketleap.com/coa, you can order a ticket, print it and take it with you to the gala. You can also purchase tickets by calling Mollie Wetherill at 419-660-6511.

“Definitely more tickets are available. … Tickets are still coming in from students,” Evans said. “Pretty much any seat (at Ernsthausen) is good.”

NHS juniors Danielle Ashakih and Maya Reineck have artwork displayed in the Ernsthausen art gallery.

Ashakih, 17, the daughter of Tina and Daniel, created a sculpture called “Gnome House” out of clay, fake moss, paint, mulch, walnut shells, glaze and ink. It took her about 15 hours to complete.

“We mixed mud glue to make (the moss) stick on the bottom,” she said. “There is a stump outside of my house that looks like (what I made).

“I didn’t expect to put eggs on the top, but I did. I felt the top was blank, so I thought why not put a nest on top,” Ashakih said. “It was really a fun project to do and I enjoyed it.”

Reineck, the daughter of Trina and Dave, created a scratch board called “Paisley Mandala.” She used a knife to scratch black ink off a white board to create her design.

“We learned a lot of different techniques beforehand. I doodle a lot, so that’s how I came up with the design,” Reineck said.

The teenage artist learned to focus while she worked on her project for nearly 15 hours over three weeks.

“Everything had to look pretty much symmetrical (since I was) doing it free hand,” she added. “I thought it turned out pretty good. Drawing a perfect circle was kind a hard.”

A Celebration of the Arts is the annual fundraiser for the Endowment Find for Norwalk City Schools. The fund awards about $50,000 in scholarships to NHS graduating seniors each year, distributes grants to educators and helps support the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center.

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