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Inaugural Weakley County Schools Arts Festival Celebrates All Things Art

(Clockwise Bottom from Left) Dresden High School’s pop band ROAR launched the outdoor performances at Saturday’s Weakley County Schools Arts Festival. Seen performing here are Abigail Farris, Andrew Boyd, Haley Dick, Mallory Dean, Keylee Calabrese, Hope Petersen, teacher and band director Jacob Abbott, Gabe Parker, Austin Peevyhouse. Not pictured are Nick Skarsten and Dylan Workman. ROAR’s next performance is Friday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Dresden Farmers Market as part of the Iris Festival. Weakley Playhouse brought Romeo and Juliet to the celebration of the arts. Seen here in the scene recreated from their upcoming production that begins May 6 are (left to right) Betsy Mantooth, Kayleigh Hilt, Atlantis Taylor, Michael Moon, Stanley Dean, Abbey Buchanan, Taylor Longacre, Jeremiah Britt, Drew Callahan, Director Martin Kane, Tori Ary, Nathan Reese, Sam Butero, Avery Rogers, Neela Hernandez, Lydia Thorsen, Gryphon Rowland. Not visible but performing were Bryson Boyd, Abigail Collie, Lizzie Ostenson, Emily Kelley, Katelin Rutledge, Matthew Moon, Samantha Hurt, Zanda Tipton, Zowie Tipton, Hayden Swaim, and Lucy Oelrich. Music teacher Rebecca Steele worked with two ensemble groups to provide music for the festival. First up were clarinetists (L to R) Amy Kang, Azaria Rooks, Bryson Boyd, and Alina Armega. They performed a collection of Irish folk songs. Nearly 150 pieces of art were on display at the countywide art show within the Weakley County Schools Arts Festival. School and county winners are seen here with Weakley County Schools Director Randy Frazier and Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum. Westview saxophonists (L to R) Samantha Bates, Akeisha Chua, and Alyssa Chua, along with Westview alum Daniel Capua offered a set of American folk songs and Shenandoah. Volunteers Carla Field and Anna Clark helped Weakley Arts Can prepare a Green Room for the artists, actors, and musicians whose work was featured at the Weakley County Schools Arts Festival. The room was set aside to honor a tradition in the arts – treating artists well in their own space during a production. Members of the Fortnightly and Kiwanis Clubs made the special treats served in the Green Room possible.


Weakley County Schools Communications Director

WEAKLEY COUNTY (May 2) – Sunshine made for a great backdrop to a day of celebrating Weakley County Schools’ talent. From the outdoor stage offering music and theater to indoors at the Martin Event Center where the space was transformed into a pop-up art gallery, the Weakley County Schools Arts Festival on Saturday focused on spotlighting students who are a part of a growing arts community.

Beginning at 11 a.m., Dresden High School pop band ROAR took the stage with ten instrumentalists and vocalists joining director and teacher Jacob Abbott for the first of two musical sets ranging from B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” to Blink 182’s “All the Small Things.” Next up was a Westview clarinet ensemble playing Irish folk songs. Then the stage went back in time with members of the Weakley Playhouse in full costume for a scene from Romeo and Juliet. After a Westview saxophone ensemble regaled with American folk songs, ROAR returned to close out before art show winners were announced inside.

Weakley County Schools Director Randy Frazier served as the emcee for the art show ceremony. Prior to announcing the countywide winners, he praised the students’ work, also on display, which earned honorable mentions for having secured submission as school winners. He then went on to announce the following:


Photography – 3rd place

Pre-K – 2: Barnes Bragg, “A Long Day’s Work” – Martin Primary

3rd – 5th: Ivy Grace Snider, “Animal” – Gleason

6th – 8th: Carson Gibson, “A Green Landing” – Martin Middle


Photography – 2nd place

Pre-K – 2: Boone Hampton, “Sunrise” – MPS

3rd – 5th:  Emmitt Bragg, “Triple B Farms” – Martin Elementary

6th – 8th: McKinley Harrison, “Life in the Ocean” – MMS


Photography – 1st place

Pre-K – 2:  Caisley Smith, “Secret Lagoon” – MPS

3rd – 5th:  Clark Stephens, “Bridge of the Evening” – MES

6th – 8th:  Kaylynn Pearce, “Life” – MMS

9th – 12th: Amber Parker, “Guardian Angel” – Gleason


Painting – 3rd place

Pre-K – 2:  Katie Edwards, “Violin” – MPS

3rd – 5th:  Mariana Ivansic, “Fruit Galore” – MES

6th – 8th:  Allie Rogers, “Two Ghosts in the Place of You and Me” – MMS

9th – 12th: Akeisha Chua, “Little Boy’s Balloons” – Westview


Painting – 2nd place

Pre-K – 2: Travis Bailey, “The Raven” – Gleason

3rd – 5th:  Ella Murphy, “The Rainy Day” – MES

6th – 8th:  Natalie Copeland, “Night Memories” – MMS

9th – 12th: Megan Totty, “Transcendentalism” – Westview


Painting – 1st place

Pre-K – 2: Greyson Stout, “Plant Attack” – MPS

3rd – 5th:  Liv Killebrew, Untitled, DES

6th – 8th:  Millie Kemp, “Apple in Hand” – DMS

9th – 12th: Akeisha Chua, “The World Is Cruel But I Still Love You” – Westview


3D/Mixed Media – 3rd place

Pre-K – 2: Persie Foster, “The Erupting Volcano” – Gleason

3rd – 5th:  Micah Luddeke, Untitled – DES

6th – 8th:  Lyric Mullins, “Gerald and Tiger” – MMS


3D/Mixed Media – 2nd place

Pre-K – 2: Kinley Trevathan, “The Camping Site” – Gleason

3rd – 5th: Jaxon Luddeke, Untitled – DES

6th – 8th:  Sabrina Vieyra, “Cat Face” – DMS


3D/Mixed Media – 1st place

Pre-K – 2: Faith Nobles, Untitled – DES

3rd – 5th:  Clark Stephens, “King of the Sea” – MES

6th – 8th: Sicily Kelly, “Beautiful Flower” – MMS

9th – 12th: Brandon Bonilla, “The Brandon Mug” – Greenfield


Drawing – 3rd place

Pre-K – 2:  Persie Foster, “The Singing Birds and Giraffe” – Gleason

3rd – 5th: Pierson Virgin, “Cave Man” – MES

6th – 8th: Lydia Moore, “Sass” – MMS

9th – 12th: David Rivera, “Perspective” – Westview


Drawing – 2nd place

Pre-K – 2: Maisy Dodson, “Dragon Chicky” – MPS

3rd – 5th: Colton Phillips, “The Aquarium” – Gleason

6th – 8th: Allie Rogers, “Eyes Blue” – MMS

9th – 12th: Elayna Loza, “The Beauty Within” – Westview


Drawing – 1st place

Pre-K – 2: Ross Jackson, “Elephants” – MPS

3rd – 5th: Emmett Zimmerman, “The Seasons” – MES

6th – 8th: Alina Vo, “Beauty in Finding Yourself” – MMS

9th – 12th: Lexia Sawyers, “Sound of Shattered Light” – Greenfield


Before announcing the winners in the new addition to the art show – the Upcycled: Guitar as Art, Frazier noted the donation was made possible due to Weakley Arts Can and their relationship with Yamaha.

“The guitar maker provides blemished or damaged guitars to schools and organizations for them to transform into visual art. Some of our Weakley County guitar artists worked with the pieces that they were given. Others had a hard time finding what exactly might be wrong with the guitar. But either individually or in a group, they indeed made art,” he explained.

More than 30 guitars were on display using exhibit pieces crafted by area FFA members. The winners by age bands are:


Guitars – Created by one individual

Elementary School – 1st Place:  Aubree Simmons, “Bridge Over Otter Water” – MES

Middle School – 1st Place: Allie Rogers, “Life by the Sea” – MMS

High School – 3rd Place: Neela Hernandez, “Ghastly Music” – Westview

2nd Place: David Rivera, “Space” – Westview

1st Place: Zanda Tipton, “Don’t Be Ashamed” – Gleason


Guitars – Created by groups


3rd Place: Maisy Dodson, Knox Bannon, Kylie Bratton, Caisley Smith, Maclin Moore, Boone Hampton, Drake Kirk – MPS

2nd Place: All Martin Elementary Students – “The Art of Doodling”

1st Place: Abigail Owens, Claire Essary, Carson VanMeter, Charlee Sutton – DES


Middle School:

3rd Place: Alyssa Staples, Rylee Cousins, Olivia Breeden, Aubrey Hodge, “Music of the Stars” – DMS

2nd Place: Destiny Ragan, Lily-Ana Smith, “Honey Comb Bee” – DMS

1st Place: Madison Rodgers, Keira McCoy, Sabrina Vieyra, “Japanese Dream” – DMS


High School:

3rd Place: Zowie Tipton, Serenity Minard, “Frog Verse” – Gleason

2nd Place: Garrett Garner, Hayden Smith, Samuel Thum, Chandler Finch, “The Musical Dunes” – Greenfield

1st Place: Destanie Dean, Mavree Craig, “Music Within the Walls” – DHS


Distributing the prize packages was County Mayor Jake Bynum, who announced that the first-place winners would get an extended stay in the spotlight.

“We have been watching the art show grow from year to year and this year we extended the invitation to continue to keep the first-place winners visible to the community. So, following the festival, we will be transporting the first-place winners to the Weakley County Courthouse where they will be on exhibit through the end of June. We look forward to sharing this talent with the county for the weeks ahead,” he shared.

Frazier commended the work of area teachers of the arts and festival coordinators Amber Wharton who curated the art show and Pam Sliger, who oversaw the performance stage. He called attention to the exhibit pieces and metal signage which were crafted by FFA students across the county. He also expressed appreciation to event sponsors Weakley Arts Can; the City of Martin who donated the use of the space and staff assistance from Tim Barrington, Christopher Pinto, and Duncan Hollis; Discovery Park of America; donors Sandy and Martha Edinger; and guitar maker Yamaha.

“We’ve come a long way from the first art show at the Personal Development Center back in 2020 where we only focused on visual art,” Frazier noted. “With the addition of the stage this year and the chance to utilize this beautiful facility, we are truly celebrating the arts and look forward to doing so for many years to come.”

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