MCHS Students to Appear at Chautauqua and Hispanic Festival


The Madison Cultural Awareness Event at the Broadway Fountain

Sophia Hall , Staff Reporter

This month is a busy one for Madison, Indiana – particularly for it’s student population. Madison Consolidated High School students are actively participating in September’s arts and culture events: The Hispanic Cultural Awareness Festival (September 15th) and Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art (September 28th-30th) which will both be held in downtown Madison. With homecoming squeezed in between these two weekends, students at MCHS have their hands full in September.

Many are unaware that Madison’s Chautauqua Festival was actually created by MCHS art teachers in 1970. Since then it has become Madison’s most attended event, drawing in nearly 40,000 people, tourists and locals alike, each year. It is a unique opportunity to find “handcrafted fine arts and crafts, as well as meet the artisans who created them.” This exciting community event will be held September 29 and 30, 2018 from 10 am to 5pm, in rain or shine along Broadway, Elm, Vine and Vaughn Streets in the downtown river area.

MCHS art teacher Melanie Torline caught The Madisonian up on how her students would be participating in Chautauqua this year: “My ceramics students are doing several clay projects to sell at The Madison Fine Arts Academy booth. One of their projects is creating a garden gnome; they had to make four different designs and get to keep one and will sell three.”

MCHS senior Simon Knox  has been working on a painted terracotta leaf bowl. He explained the process. “You start out with a block of terracotta clay, then you wedge it and put it in the slab roller to give it an even thickness.” Then students push leaves into the clay to imprint their texture, and cut around the shape of the leaf. Finally it is molded to form a bowl, and painted.

MCHS senior Simon Knox making a terracotta bowl for the annual Madison Chautauqua Art Festival

Torline also has painting students that will be creating mini watercolor paintings of historic downtown Madison scenery to sell. Students going on the FAA New York City trip later this year will also be selling items at the booth to fundraise. These items include hand designed t-shirts and Halloween decorations. All the unique items previously mentioned will be sold at The Madison Fine Arts Academy booth, and all the proceeds will go back to the Fine Arts Academy.

The dance group, show choir, and advanced theatre students from MCHS will all be performing all day Saturday the 29th at Chautauqua. They will do 12-15 minute shows across from the Visitor’s Center near to the Fine Arts Academy booth. Advanced theatre will be performing bits from their creepy upcoming musical comedy The Addams Family (showing in full at MCHS October 5-7th).

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Not just art students will be contributing to the community events this month. MCHS Spanish Club will have a booth at The Hispanic Cultural Awareness Festival which will be held on Saturday, September 15th at the Broadway Fountain or the Brown Gym if weather is not suitable from 4:30 – 9:00 p.m. It will have food, music, dance, and art from different Hispanic cultures. The event has been held for many years in Madison. It is free and any community member is welcome to come celebrate and join in the spreading of appreciation and knowledge of other cultures that are part of our community.

Students of any Spanish class at MCHS can sign up to volunteer cleaning tables, serving food, drinks, and the ever popular nachos and cheese, or picking up trash after the festival. Any other students interested in volunteering can come to A204 after school the 13th and 14th.

Angela Elswick, the leader of Spanish Club and a long time Spanish language teacher at MCHS, said her club members will lead activities for the children at the festival. Kids who come to the MCHS booth will be able to decorate maracas constructed ahead of time by Spanish Club members with styrofoam, beads, and tape. In previous years the maraca activity was a hit, but allowing the kids to make the maracas from scratch was an ordeal according to Elswick.

“There were beads everywhere,” Elswick said, laughing.

This year there will be decorating supplies and coloring sheets available to entertain kids at the family festival.

Both The Hispanic Cultural Awareness Festival and Madison Chautauqua Festival are held just once a year, so don’t miss the opportunity to go check them out and support MCHS.