Hylton PAC Arts Alive! Offers Something for Everyone

Members of the Manassas Belly Dance Group dance at the Arts Alive! festival on April 13. (Photo Credit Kathy Smaltz)

A springtime partnership has bloomed between the Prince William County Arts Council and the Hylton Performing Arts Center in the form of Arts Alive! held on Saturday, April 13 from noon-8 p.m. There visitors swarmed indoor and outdoor performances, enjoying the family-friendly free event now in its third year running at the Hylton PAC.

According to Kathy Bentz, liaison for the Prince William County Arts Council, which sponsors the event, the partnership works well for both entities because, “the Hylton team is so used to putting on events,” and it’s an opportunity for people who may never been to a performance at the Center to see the facility … all for free.

Planning began six months ago, said Bentz, who has seen the number of people who attend increase steadily each year. As local performers and participants flooded the event grounds, Arts Alive! also drew people from all over the county, including students from Springwoods and Dumfries Elementary Schools, as well as performers from schools in Oakton and Vienna, Va.

Write by the Rails authors: (L-R) Maria Stewart, Nancy Kyme, Patricia Daly-Lipe, Tamela J. Ritter read to those who visit their booth, signed and sold their books. (K. Smaltz)

One Manassas resident and mother of young children, Melissa Harvey, said that she attended last year because her daughter, Alessandra, then four years old, was a performer, “and we had a really great time so we wanted to come back again.” This year, free to roam, Alessandra got her face painted and stood at the row of easels painting her own masterpiece.

Other children who enjoyed the face painting were Bristow residents Keily and Kelvin Maqbool. Already an artist in her own right, Keily, a second grade student at Nokesville Elementary, says that when she’s painting, she “likes to paint the ocean and the sun and the birds.”

Events and recognition for artists of all kinds abounded for tweens, teens and adults as well. One of the first booths one saw upon entering the stunning performance center was a table sponsored by local authors, members of Write by the Rails, who – in addition to talking about their books with passersby – also read selections from their fiction, poetry and nonfiction in the Buchanan Gallery upstairs.

Temporary galleries were also set up to the right of the entrance with a variety of styles by visual artist members of the Manassas Art Guild. In addition to member paintings being displayed for viewing and purchase, the Guild sponsored a children’s art fair for the first time this year, with student work on display from local schools such as Battlefield High and Linton Hall School.

Alessandra Harvey second grade student at Nokesville Elementary, had her face painted and did some painting herself (K. Smaltz)

Some of the most popular exhibits were those featuring dancers and dramatic performers. All eyes were on a group of at least twenty women dressed in beautiful, exotic costumes — members of the Manassas Belly Dancing Group, whose goal is to share the love of dance with women of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Throughout the year, this local organization performs at Manassas parades and senior centers.

Prince William Little Theatre put on a musical show featuring music from the 1950’s. High school freshman Megan Griggs and sophomore Lindsay Streinberg were two of the day’s performers who traveled from Fairfax County to showcase the theatre’s talent. Performing a number from the hit TV show, “Smash,” they dressed like pop culture icon Marilyn Monroe, and sang “Let Me Be Your Star.” A few minutes later, donning sweaters and bobby socks, they took part in an ensemble piece from “Bye, Bye Birdie,” the theatre’s upcoming show.

Meanwhile, on the outdoor stage set up to the right of the performance center, the Bull Run Cloggers tapped away to country music, Irish medleys, and patriotic songs. The group, which performs year round and offers clogging workshops to the public, featured a number by clogger Jayne Treadwell, who according to their announcer, “learned how to clog in a barn with her grandfather, who had just learned himself how to clog when he was 65 years old.” Their group, which filled the free-standing bleachers and hee-hawed its way through several lively numbers, said they’d be performing again at the Manassas Railway Festival on May 18.

Whether performance attendees enjoyed the visual arts, readings by local authors, music – ranging from string quartets to brass ensembles — or took in the fancy footwork of dance troupes, the day accomplished its purpose of making the arts available to county citizens in a stunning setting and encouraging them to participate in the many opportunities available throughout the year.

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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