The Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island (EHS) was recently jumping with the Teen Art, Music and Poetry Festival that attracted a crowd.
For the fourth year in a row, the audience was delighted to view beautiful artwork, listen to poetry and hear music created by talented teens aged 12 to 20. Students from over a dozen area schools participated.
Calvin Dame, religious director at the EHS, pointed out, “There is so much talent with poetry, singing and art in our teens and so little opportunity for them to share their skills in a supporting and caring venue. We’re pleased to provide a place to share their talent.”
“The theme of the festival is ‘Create a Caring World.’ This year we have over 120 pieces of art and poetry from Nassau County high schools and middle schools, thanks to teachers who understood our vision of creating a day that celebrates the arts without contests or competition. By taking away the ‘fear factor’ of who has to be the best for a prize, the spirit in the room is amazing. Kids who have never met are enthusiastically supportive of one another,” festival coordinator Alison Pratt said. In regard to the singers and musicians, “whether a student is a seasoned performer or has never been on a stage before, everyone is encouraged and cheered on as the audience celebrates the unique talents of each performer.”
MacKensie Schroeder from Hicksville High School spoke about her artwork entitled “Self Portrait.” “I worked from a photo I took of myself. In art class with Beth Atkinson, my teacher, we studied about Fauvism. I Photo-shopped my photo to enrich the colors and worked from that. I drew in Prismacolor color pencils.” The talented artist will be studying visual arts at the New York State Summer School of the Arts this summer.
Parent Rod Stenz commented on Brie Metcalf- Oshinsky’s poetry. “What delivery on that poetry! She is so comfortable and outgoing.” Metcalf-Oshinsky is a member of the SUNY New Paltz Poetry Slam and a singer in the band, “The Sun Kings.”
Everet Yi remarked about all the poetry presented that afternoon: “I thought the poetry slam spoke to me in a heartfelt way. It’s a unique medium for social issues.”
The event was a fundraiser for the EHS outreach program, Ethical Friends of Children. A suggested donation was cash or a baby item. The group has been providing gently used children's clothing and infant furniture to needy families since 1985. It is currently headed by Joan Brown and Terry DePalo.
“I learned the tradition of activism here. They address social issues of Long Island and international issues. It’s a hotbed of community action,” Eric Alexander, member and former youth director, said of the society.
This “community action” was also seen in the presentation by Alexa Rinaudo from Mepham High School and Austin Boral from Jericho High School, who won the Weill Student Social Action Grant from the EHS this year. They spoke about how they parlayed the $500 Weill Grant into earning $14,000 for Habitat for Humanity through a Bowl-a-thon with both schools. They voiced how everyone should follow their passion.
Sponsors for the festival were the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, Can-Dee Music Company, Stop & Shop, Panera Bread, TCBY, Vision Long Island and Uncle Bacala’s Restaurant.
The Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island has been working to make a difference in the lives of Long Island residents for 60 years. Their goal is to create a caring world of respect, justice and love through implementation of ethical action and bringing out the best in others. They are now open year round. Visit www.ehsli.org for upcoming events.