JACKSON TWP.  This year’s theme for the annual Jackson School for the Arts (JSA) All District Arts Extravaganza is a Mardi Gras Carnival theme presented through dance, music, theatrical performances and activities. The event will showcase more than 500 young artists.

Scheduled for 5 to 10 p.m., Feb. 24, the 12th annual community arts showcase hosted by Jackson High School will feature live performance artists, paintings, a mask making station, face painting for the children, and a photo booth to capture the moment. Admission is free. Visitors can purchase a dinner or the dessert and coffee bar while enjoying the performances and auctions.

Susan Gardner, the district's arts consultant and program director, said the community is invited to bring a mask and dress in costume for the event.  

"Each year the Extravaganza grows to include more talented student artists from our community," Gardner said. "This year’s carnival theme is a perfect way to express the joy, exuberance, creativity and celebration of the arts." 

Student dancers, singers, musicians and actors will present more than 30 live performances. Student artwork by fine artists and photographers will be on display, including a new exhibit in The Meraki Gallery showcasing student artworks that have earned prestigious Gold Key and Silver Key Scholastic Art Awards. Artists in residence this year are Dr. Rollo Dilworth and Seth Stewart.

"This is the first year The Meraki Gallery will be open for the Extravaganza event," said Lisa Ayres Suber, art teacher and faculty advisor for the gallery. "Students from all mediums are excited to showcase all the hard work they have put in this year. This annual event is a time for all of our arts students including musicians, actors and artists to shine in front of their peers, parents and the community."

The silent auction will present more than 125 unique and valuable gift baskets for bidding. This year’s live auction features more than a dozen baskets including club seats for an Ohio State football game; weekend getaways; Cleveland Indians baseball tickets; golf package for Brookside Country Club; a Pro Football Hall of Fame package with tickets to the enshrinement, game and concert; a weekend in Pittsburgh with a food, brew and distillery tour; and many more packages.

There is also a Judith Ripka design necklace valued at $1,300 from Gasser Jewelers in the live auction.

"We have artists representing grades kindergarten through seniors and choirs from the elementary schools, the middle and the high schools. Plus, the high school symphony band will be performing. Our goal with every event is to raise money to provide opportunities for our students in the 2018/2019 school year," Gardner said. "This event is a community event that takes the cooperation of the JSA teaching team, Jackson Local administration, students, parents and the Jackson Township community. We have many community members volunteer to help at the event every year and we couldn’t do it without all of them. Plus, this year we will be introducing the class of 2022 artists, the eighth-graders who will be entering our program next year as freshmen."

Theater teacher Hannah Rissler said the theater group will be presenting an act from this year’s spring production.

"We will be previewing our spring production of 'Arsenic and Old Lace,' a high school production featuring 16 students on stage with the help of all of the students behind the scenes," Rissler said.

More than 80 patrons and corporate sponsors help make the annual JSA Arts Extravaganza possible including Alfred Nickles Bakery; Dr. Greggory Elefterin; Ash Family Dental; Akron Children’s Hospital; OMNI Orthopaedics; Standard Plumbing & Heating; Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths and Dougherty; RE/Max; Prato’s Pizza; OnTheBrink Creative; and The Buzz Maker Public Relations.  

The Jackson School for the Arts is a nonprofit providing a highly specialized art program within Jackson High School. Established in 2001, JSA provides talented students with curriculum, activities, student organizations and mentoring that support personal and professional development, creativity, academic achievement and a high level of skill in practice. JSA provides advanced coursework including Advanced Placement (AP) and College Credit Plus (CCP) courses, as well as real-world art experiences, art practice, performance and competition experience. In 2017, JSA launched The Meraki Gallery, a student-run exhibit space within Jackson High School. For more information, contact Gardner at 330-837-3501 or visit www.JSAJackson.org.