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Posted: February 8, 2019

10th Annual Festival de Bellas Artes

More than 1,500 students came together to sing, dance and learn.

Dance and music groups from 40 APS and charter elementary, middle and high schools performed for each other at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Students also took part in workshops on a variety of topics including Folklorico, African dance, hip hop, mariachi, indigenous music and dance, merengue, cha cha and salsa, Haitian dance, taiko drumming, and guitar. 

Four days of performances and workshops culminated in two free public performances at the Hispanic Cultural Center.

The festival was started by Anne Marie Strangio, a former choir teacher at Washington Middle School who was frustrated by the harsh judgment of her Spanish-speaking choirs during district competitions.

“My students felt like second-class class citizens when they were criticized for singing ‘too much’ Spanish and for not having fancy outfits like the others schools,” recalled Strangio, who is now principal at Lew Wallace Elementary School. In response, she started up a different kind of festival, one focused on the artistic expression of culture.

The annual festival is supported by the National Hispanic Cultural Center, APS Fine Arts and Title I.