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Artists and students collaborate to offer Willow River Elementary show

Artist Rachel Navaro works with first grader Eden Kupka on the class project for the upcoming 10th Annual Willow River Music and Art Show April 11. Also pictured are from left Axel Diessner, Patrick Gibson, and Sophie Thompson. (Photo submitted)1 / 3
Artist Heidi Sime is surrounded by Willow River fifth grade students at work on their contribution to this year’s art and music show. (Photo submitted)2 / 3
These young fourth grade artists are working on their projects for this year’s Willow River art show with artist Megan Gaworecki. (Photo submitted)3 / 3

On Friday, April 11 Willow River Elementary School will host their Tenth Annual Music and Art Show.

Students, teachers, and parent volunteers have been working since January to prepare for the show which includes a student display, a make-and-take station, a silent auction, and musical performances.

The show is unique because it brings students together with professional artists in the community to create their display works of art for the show. This year’s theme, “By Local,” reflects that collaboration.

To create their artwork for the display portion of the show, kindergarten students worked with acrylic artist Audrey Martin to create images of a grove of birch trees. Martin locally teaches adult classes at Pitchfork and Urban Olive and Vine ( and also hosts in-home parties. First grade students worked with the owner of The Create Space (, artist Rachel Navaro. With Navaro’s guidance, they used milk jugs and paper mache to create African inspired masks.

Show organizer and local printmaking artist, Genie Castro ( worked with the second graders using presses that the Willow River Parent Group purchased to create professional looking monoptypes.

Wedding photographer Emily Steffen ( taught third graders about how to tell a story through images and then the students used iPads purchased through the Education Foundation of Hudson’s Star Grant program ( and the Willow River Parent group to photograph parts of their school day.

Students used the Pic-Tap-Go App to edit the photographs for final display. Fourth graders worked with Megan Gaworecki, owner of Scout Supply Company (, the art teacher at River Crest and North Hudson Elementary Schools, and an artist that sells her work and vintage finds at Hello the House in downtown Hudson.

Heidi Sime is a local welding artist who taught the fifth graders about Dakota culture and guided them in creating miniature teepees for the show.

In addition to student displays, there will be a make-and-take station in the art room. For a $5 donation, patrons can create a work of art like some of the display pieces. Supplies and guidance are available to create an acrylic painting of birch trees inspired by the kindergarten projects, a monotype on the printing press like the second graders, or a manipulated vintage photograph similar to the fourth graders’ work.

Local artists will also have their work available in the Media Center for purchase in the silent auction. Parent volunteers are working with each class to create a work of art to contribute to the sale as well. A portion of each sale supports the Willow River Parent Group, which supports many educational opportunities throughout the school.

In addition to all of the art events at the show, students will be showcasing their performing skills in the atrium. Performances will run the duration of the show and typically range from skits, singing, instrumentals, dancing, and other skills.

Students will display their talents in martial arts, acrobatics, and even hula hooping. To expand on the theme of By Local, students in second through fifth grades will be composing their own songs in music class following the show.

Publicity for the show was provided by Dunn Brothers Coffee who put advertising for the show on their coffee jackets, and by Joe to Go for ordering special coffee jackets designed by the students to promote the event.

The event is open to the public and begins Friday evening at 5 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. April 11th from 5p.m.-9p.m.