60th annual Festival of the Arts showcases student artwork

By Nikhita Dass

On April 26 and 27, student art filled Whitman’s halls at the annual Festival of the Arts event. In the commons and auditorium, the annual event featured performances from choir, orchestra, band, jazz band and wind ensemble. It also showcased visual art from classes like photography, ceramics and digital art. 

The Festival of the Arts is an annual two-night event hosted by Whitman. It highlights Whitman’s instrumental music and visual arts departments by displaying art in the commons and hosting student performances in the auditorium. 

Sophomore Audrey Haile, a member of the treble choir, began preparation in early January and performed with the choir on the first night of the event. 

“I think it’s really important to be able to showcase the talent that people have in the arts,” Haile said. “A lot of other things at Whitman are only focused on academics and so I think this is a really good important opportunity to show how well-rounded our students are.”

2023 marks the 60th annual Festival of the Arts, with the first festival dating back to 1963 — just one year after Whitman’s founding.   

Sophomore Helen Rabley, who displayed several pottery pieces from her ceramics class, said she enjoyed seeing the variety of art at the festival. 

“It’s really important that everyone gets to showcase their own talent,” Rabley said. “It’s empowering because their family and teachers get to see their work and improvement and see how far they’ve come.”

Families and friends of Whitman students enjoyed the many performances and showcases, as well as the food truck vendors parked outside the commons. 

Former Whitman teacher Celia Sandberg attended the festival to support students and said her favorite part of the event was the choir performance. 

“I think that singing in the choir is an excellent thing for any student,” Sandberg said. “It teaches you all kinds of self-expression and confidence.”

Many of the students involved in the instrumental music program also participate in other extracurricular music programs, and throughout the festival more than ten instrumental music and choir groups performed.

Expression through art is incredibly important and Festival of the Arts offers a creative outlet that promotes student self-expression, Sandberg said. 

“I think that art is one of those methods of communication and expression that we need more of,” Sandberg said. “People need more ways to communicate abstract feelings like love or loss in other ways than just words.”