Children want many things, especially at this time of year. What they want most from adults doesn't cost a penny. That is encouragement.
The Children's Arts Festival encourages Southeast Missouri students to create art while listening to music, an idea fostered by the festival's founder, Dr. Robert Gifford. This year "Turkey in the Straw," "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and "Sleigh Ride" provided the inspiration. Nearly 250 drawings and paintings were chosen for display at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. The young artists were feted at a reception attended by admiring adults.
Twenty-seven schools in four counties were invited to participate. Twelve schools did so, and 1,900 students created art for the festival.
The festival also presented performances by the Academy of Dance Arts, the Shere Khan musical ensemble from Central Middle School and choirs from Central High School and Kelly High School. This was a change from past years when university professors were primarily responsible for the performances.
Encouraging children to create couldn't be more important. Encouragement is nourishment that assures they will thrive.