Student musicians, artists show off at annual Fine Arts Cabaret

Friday, April 14, 2017 - 13:01
  • Senior Gabrielle Breitsprecher works on an acrylic painting during the Eagle River Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Eagle River High School. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Artwork on display at the Eagle River Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Eagle River High School. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Sculptor Thane Barta, a senior, sets up his pottery display before the Eagle River Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Eagle River High School. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Ashton Stubblefield spins clay into the form of a pot during the Eagle River Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Eagle River High School. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • People walk among artwork displays at the Eagle River Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Eagle River High School. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River High School teacher and conductor George Pierce leads the orchestra in taking a bow following its performance at the school’s Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A little girl drinks soda while walking past artwork made from discarded aluminum cans during the Eagle River Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Eagle River High School. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • People walk past “Marilyn,” original artwork by student Emily Thompson, during the 2017 Eagle River Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • From left, Eagle River High orchestra violinists Katyrie Brown, Maddie Bidinger, Shannon O’Hare, Katie Bernhardt and James Salter perform during the school’s Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017 at Eagle River High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River orchestra members (clockwise from left) Kevin Gabbert, Tammy Hostman, Blake Hale (standing in back), Abbie Jensen, Thomas Massie (partially obscured) and Katie Bernhardt perform during the school’s Fine Arts Cabaret on Friday, April 7, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

A school cafeteria might seem an odd place to celebrate the finer things in life, but for one night each year the large multipurpose room at Eagle River High School transforms into the Paris of the north.

From painters and sculptors to guitar players and singers, the annual Fine Arts Cabaret gives the school’s Fine Arts students a chance to shine. The event has become a staple of the school’s springtime calendar, and this year was no different, with hundreds of people packing the school’s cafeteria and common area on Friday, April 7.

“We wanted to have an event that focused on the Fine Arts program,” said department chair Jacob Bera, who said the event dates back to at least 2008.

The event featured performances from the school’s band, singers, piano soloists and other musicians, along with displays of artwork. There was also a silent auction and food for sale courtesy of various clubs and the school’s Parent Teacher Student Organization.

Senior Brekken Cogswell displayed her 2D designs at the cabaret, which she said is something students look forward to all year.

“This is kind of the art kids’ one night to show off their stuff,” she said.

Cogswell said the ongoing battles to justify government spending on the arts is something students are acutely aware of.

“There’s so many budget cuts going on, I want to people to be aware of how important this is,” she said.

Cogswell said the work shows the wide variety of styles and talent at the school. Some of the work is straightforward, some is abstract, some political or socially conscious.

“We’re not all just painting landscapes,” she said. “Everyone is super different.”

She said it’s fun to have a night set aside for artists to get the spotlight.

“This is a whole other community that doesn’t get as much attention,” she said.

Senior potter Thane Barta said he enjoys being able to talk to the public about his work. People who attend the cabaret often give feedback, and students sometimes even sell their work.

“It shows the public what the school is doing,” he said.

Barta said he’s appreciative of the Fine Arts program at Eagle River. Being able to use a potter’s wheel, for example, is an experience he wouldn’t otherwise have.

“Those things are like 1,200 bucks,” he said.

Aside from giving artists a space to show their work, the event is also a fundraiser for the department. Bera said he expected to raise about $1,200 through ticket sales, with more coming in through the silent auction — which was bolstered this year by the help of the newly formed PTSO group.

“They’re helping out a lot,” Bera said.

Bera said the event is primarily student driven, with the artists themselves setting up, taking down and planning much of the evening. As he oversaw the set-up Friday afternoon, Bera was surrounded by students busily hanging paintings from the walls or setting up sculptures.

“They’re pretty proud of the event,” he said. “The kids make it happen and the work speaks for itself.”

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