Arts and smarts go together at Dapto PS

´╗┐Felicity Jaimes, Maddison Ahearn-Ramos, Nakita Dutton and Kayleigh Cheadle show off students' self-portraits at Dapto Public School's festival. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Dapto Public School was awash with music and colour on Wednesday as students showed off their creative talents at the school's annual Creative Arts Festival.

But this year's event was bigger than others the school has held in the past, with every single student taking part.

Parents and community members gathered to watch performances from the school's hip-hop group and the Wakakirri Story Dance ensemble, who won the Wollongong finals earlier this year.

Students also had the chance to showcase their musical talents, playing guitar, keyboard and percussion and singing in a choir.

The library was turned into an art gallery for the day, with every centimetre of hanging and display space taken up by the children's colourful artworks, from ink paintings to decorated masks to perspective drawings.

Self-portraits of each student, done in the style of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, lined the walls, and ceiling too.

Andrew Hedger, one of the co-ordinators of the festival and the school's art teacher, said they had been planning the day since the beginning of the year.

"We wanted to make sure this time that everyone was represented, that every child had the chance to perform or showcase what they've done in music or art," he said.

"The kids have been really proud to show off what they've achieved throughout the year and it's been a great opportunity to build strong community bonds.

"We've got a really strong belief in the creative arts. It's a way we feel can build students' self-esteem and through building self-esteem comes achievement in other areas of the curriculum."

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