The godfather of festivals

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2012



RESERVE – The broad cultural heritage of Italy was on display Thursday evening at Riverside Academy as the school celebrated its fourth annual Arts Festival with food, music and other activities.

In typical south Louisiana fashion, the event kicked off with a parade — but since it was Reserve, a golf cart parade — followed by the high school’s dance team and marching band. Once the parade made its rounds, students from younger grade levels, dressed as Venetian gondoliers, began entertaining festival goers with Italian-inspired music. The musical performances were capped off with a trio of opera singers from the New Orleans Opera.

Riverside Assistant Principal Dr. Rhonda Perkins said the annual arts festival picks a different cultural focus every year.

“We started with France, then did Hispanic, Irish and now Italian,” Perkins said. “We want to balance out classroom instruction with hands-on exposure to the arts. Every aspect of Italian art and culture is on display.”

Perkins said the school’s art department showcased decorated Venetian masks, while the school’s English department gave a presentation on literary art. There were also cooking demonstrations, jewelry decorating, stained glass, mosaic maps and other activities.

Perkins said much of the event was funded through a grant from the River Region Arts and Humanities Council but added that the festival also serves as a chance for many of the school’s clubs and teams to raise money for their organizations.

“All of the proceeds from the food and drink for sale, and there was quite a bit, go toward various activities the school organizes every year,” Perkins said.