Barrow County’s annual Fine Arts Festival is going to look different, a lot different, this year.
The festival, which officially starts March 1 but will kick off Feb. 27-28 with two band concerts, will be much larger and last much longer.
The festival will stretch over six weeks, March 1 to April 15, will be held at a number of locations and will include the efforts of a few thousand Barrow County students. A major change will be the display of visual arts, Lee Bane, STEAM coordinator for Barrow County, said.
The displays will be larger than in the past. Bane explained that each school will have a classroom in the new Center for Innovative Teaching, the former Russell Middle School.
Schools have had displays on “two sheets of butcher paper,” Bane said, “to display basically their full year (of work).”
The CFIT will be set up more like an art gallery, Bane said, and each school will display its work in a classroom. Each art teacher will design the gallery for each school.
The art will be exhibited March 20-31. Displays have been for only five days in previous years.
For the first time, the displays will be open on a weekend.
Hours are expected to be 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The festival also will include nearly 20 performances of musical and drama groups. It will begin Monday and Tuesday with concerts at the two county high schools.
Performances will be held between March 1 and April 15.
The final two will be musicals put on by the drama departments at each high school.
Appalachee will present “Hairspray” March 31-April 2 and Winder-Barrow will perform “Bye Bye Birdie” April 14-15.
The elementary honor chorus, made up of 10 fourth- and fifth-grade students from each elementary school, will perform March 24 at the Colleen O. Williams Theater in downtown Winder.
The Bethlehem Elementary School Hip Hop Club will perform March 22.
The same day, Sims Academy will present its first “short films” festival at the Williams theater. That will start at 6:30 p.m. and last for “about an hour of student-produced short films,” Bane said.
He said the art teachers also will produce their own work for display, also a new feature of the festival.