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Every Year, an All-Out Art Fest in Torreón

By Amanda Wood
Every Year, an All-Out Art Fest in Torreón

All grace and color, a student performer looks right on the money during Colegio Americano de Torreón’s 23rd annual CAT Day and Arts Festival (photo: CAT/A. Wood).
The students at Colegio Americano de Torreón, Mexico are called on every year. This calling does not directly correspond with a telephone line, a lone mission, or even a class question—they are called to inspire their community by showcasing their passions at the annual CAT Day/Art Festival.
Colegio Americano de Torreón (CAT) hosted its 23rd annual CAT Day/Art Festival on 27 November 2013. Now, a festival of this proportion is an all-encompassing experience that depends on every single student and teacher to remain a success, as it has consistently been. It showcases such art as jewelry-making, painting exhibits, theater productions, multi-cultural dances, fashion, and even cuisine. It also allows for younger students to create art themselves through small crafts, cultural practices, and music.
“The main objective of the ArtFest/CAT day is to provide a place where students can show their talents through works and performances,” says Larissa Olivares, a veteran music instructor at CAT. “[It] is a school-wide event that brings all stakeholders together with one purpose.”
That purpose, to many, is to not only experience, but relish in the value of all art. Although art appreciation is a great part of the festival, the development and commitment of the pieces are part of the value as well. “Getting students (and teachers) involved and prepared in advance is the most difficult part of CAT day. There are a variety of activities, all of them worth experiencing,” stated Lora Head, English department chair.
Teachers are expected to coordinate events that the students participate in, and local artisans are invited to share their experiences and products. “Artists are also invited to participate, as a way of giving a chance to students to listen, watch, or experience different high-quality artistic expressions that maybe they would not encounter on their own,” commented Ms. Olivares. Expectations for these artists are high, and they never fail to satisfy the students.
These artisans can come from many parts of the city, and even the country. They have been known to provide learning opportunities for the students with their exhibits, in some cases including jewelry made from salvaged wood, lamps made out of compact discs, and cars made out of cardboard!
Ms. Head maintains that “[The]art festival should be an opportunity for students to experience art of various types ‘up close’ and even participate in artistic installations that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in.” These opportunities remain open, to provide the CAT community with as much “up close” exposure as possible. Students are allowed and encouraged to engage in as many styles as they can handle.
The festival is easily one of the most cherished and important events that the school holds annually. It emphasizes the importance of art, as well as giving recognition to those students who thrive on using the right side of their brain. As Ms. Head puts it, “Not everything that has to do with learning is about books and classrooms.”
Ms. Wood teaches Grade 10 English at Colegio Americano de Torreón.

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