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Art in the Park: Students from LA Schools will showcase artwork in downtown LA

Advanced clarinet students practice at San Fernando Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified School District during the Fall 2013 semester.
Advanced clarinet students practice at San Fernando Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified School District during the Fall 2013 semester.
Ken Scarboro/KPCC

A giant student art show will take place Saturday at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles featuring everything from short films to a group performance of Pete Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

The event is the grand finale for the Los Angeles Unified School District's first official arts fest, which kicked off March 1 to honor national arts education month

Superintendent John Deasy, State Senator Holly Mitchell and L.A. City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell are all expected to attend, along with more than 2,000 students from the district. Students will showcase their work during on-stage performances, as well as art displays featuring paintings, photographs and crafts, among other works.

RELATED: LA schools arts budget: Most funds will go to 'arts integration' teachers

"Because art has such a broad and powerful impact on our society, we must continue to raise awareness of its importance and influence in our schools and beyond," Steven McCarthy, the district's K-12 arts coordinator, said in a statement. 

The festival comes on the heels of the district's announcement in February that it wants to restore nearly $16 million in arts funding by the 2016-2017 school year. More than $9 million of the proposed funding is set to go toward hiring 101 arts integration staff positions, trainers who show academic teachers how to incorporate the arts in subjects like math and history.

Some arts teachers have said they are skipping the event on Saturday, preferring community based art shows that are easier for students and their families to attend. The district covers 710 square miles, larger even than the city of Los Angeles, incorporating Huntington Park, West Hollywood, San Fernando, Maywood and other cities.

Some of the neighborhood arts showcases have been going on for years. The Eastside Arts Festival at Eagle Rock High School was celebrated for the third year on March 1. About 750 students attended. 

"Any event like this is magnificent for the children," said Longaker, who said she'll be at Saturday's event in downtown Los Angeles.

Elementary visual arts teacher Diane Cordingley attended the Eastside festival, but said she wouldn't be going to Saturday's event.

"I don't think teachers are very involved," she said, adding that she and many of her colleagues are focused on providing year-end arts shows at the schools where they teach. "If we do it at the local schools then the community can come and it's more of a community event."

More than 20 schools participated in school site events during the district's arts festival. Two schools' events are still to come (listed below).

Saturday's event at Grand Park is free and open to the public.


Friday, March 14:

Friday and Saturday, March 14 & 15:

Saturday, March 15:

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the district did not fund the Eastside Arts Festival. KPCC regrets the error.