/ Modified feb 18, 2023 8:43 a.m.

Cochise College plans sixth annual Youth Arts Festival for Saturday in Sierra Vista

The event is free and aims to encourage children to try performing and fine arts.

SV Youth Arts Fest Cochise College Student Ethan Rodriguez works on a styrofoam sculpture during his art class with Art Instructor JenMarie Zeleznak.

It’s about making a safe space to create.

The sixth annual Cochise College’s Youth Arts Festival, a free and open to the public event, will run from 10am-3pm at the Sierra Vista campus and will feature theater and musical performances from the Sierra Vista Community Theatre and the Cochise County Youth Orchestra.

Callie Hutchison is the director of the Cochise County Youth Orchestra. She says that the group will have 25 of its students performing on Saturday and adds that it’s critical to provide a safe space for youth to create.

“Our goal is to make it possible for any kid in southern Arizona to play a string-instrument regardless of their financial ability to do so,” said Hutchison, who noted that the Cochise County Youth Orchestra is a 501c3. “I think it’s important for our kids to participate in music — and all kinds of music — in Southern Arizona because it fosters a sense of community, it teaches teamwork, it teaches critical thinking.”

Youth Arts Festival coordinator JenMarie Zeleznak also says that the event will have booths with make-and-take crafts, which are projects that can be made during the event and taken home.

Jay Hamwright, the chief professional officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Sierra Vista says that the club will be hosting a LEGO booth and will be encouraging kids to participate in their photography and fine arts contest.

“So, we’re bringing out some of our artwork and we’ll let some of the community vote on some of the projects that we have,” said Hamwright. “Because, we select the winner to send to the regional competition for Boys and Girls Clubs around the country.”

Zeleznak says that it’s important to facilitate creativity with the youth in the community.

“The more that we’re able to offer that diverse and creative outlet, youth will be able to discover and realize their potential, which is something I really stand behind,” said Zeleznak.

She says that she hopes to keep expanding the event to include more community partners in the future.

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