Monday, May 8, 2017

Running for the Arts 5K & ArtFest Enjoys New Look

Participants in the 25th annual Running for the Arts 5K & ArtFest
You couldn’t have asked for a better day to host nearly 1800 runners for Spring Branch Education Foundation’s 25th annual Running for the Arts 5K & ArtFest on Saturday. Blue skies, mid-70s temperature and an occasional breeze greeted runners, vendors, performers and community members.

This was the event’s first year at the Altharetta Yeargin Art Museum, and everyone seemed to embrace the move. Runners Caleb Oliphant and Tim Berranger, both Stratford High School freshmen, loved the new venue. They enjoyed the shaded streets, but more important, they live in the area and liked seeing their neighbors as they ran.

Debbie Slack, SBEF board member and special events chair, believes the new location is perfect to grow the ArtFest. “There’s room to expand and showcase the district’s fine arts groups and involve the community,” she said. “Our entertainment is superb.” Performers ranged from string ensembles to choirs and jazz bands. Bach to Rock, a community partner that draws from district residents, joined SBISD’s talent.

Debbie envisions the art booths becoming an even larger part of the day – growing to 100 vendors – as community members anticipate the event as an art destination.

“We didn’t know you were here.”

Art lovers added to their personal collections as they browsed the art auction.

Kathy Goss, AYAM co-curator, said, “For the first time, the auction is where it should be – inside an art museum. The auction has great art from local artists. They’re happy to support us, and we’re thrilled to increase visibility for the art community and the museum.”

The art was on display for two weeks before the festival. “We had people come in and say they didn’t know the museum was here. We’re happy they’re finding us,” said Leann Newton, co-curator.

Running for first

Housman Elementary took home the Top Participation prize with 47 percent of the student body – yes, 47 percent! – registered to run. The school wins $500 certificates from Academy Sports and Outdoors and Young Audiences of Houston.

“We’ve come in second place for the last four or five years,” said Carmelo Pastrana, the school’s health fitness specialist. “There was no reason we couldn’t be first.” So he set out to make it happen. A two-finger typist, he personally completed online registration for each runner. But first, he involved every teacher, and classrooms competed against each other. It helped that HUG tutoring volunteers and teachers donated $1,305 for registration fees. The classroom with the most participation can look forward to a pizza party. Second and third place classrooms will enjoy popcorn parties.

True community

For participants, Running for the Arts 5K and ArtFest was seamless from the starting line to award presentations. Still, it takes a village of volunteers to make it happen. Spring Branch Education Foundation offers huge thank yous to everyone who made this expanded – and growing – event a success: board members, Health Fitness teachers, PTAs, ROTC students, fine arts performers, district facility staff, AYAM curators and board members, National Charity League volunteers, donors, sponsors, artists and vendors. And of course, the runners and community members who anticipate next year’s 26th annual event.


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