Saint Mary's Hall celebrates fine arts

School hosts 3,000 for festival

SAN ANTONIO – Move over biology and algebra. For two days, it's all about the arts at Saint Mary's Hall as it hosts thousands of students and their talents.

The school is hosting the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest fine arts festival. The festival is a near-50-year annual event being hosted in South Texas for the first time. Students attend from Texas and surrounding states.

The grounds became something of a stage for students for students to show their singing, acting, photography, drawing, dancing talents and more.  

"I think it's very obvious just from the atmosphere that fine arts is something that needs to be valued at schools," said Mary Barnett, a sophomore at Saint Mary's Hall.

She and her sister, Jane Emma, 17, a senior at Saint Mary's Hall, sang a duet and led a finger-snapping crowd in a number from the Broadway show "Hamilton."

The festival is not a competition. It is an opportunity for students to show their inner Picasso, share ideas and gain instruction from mentors in various workshops.

"For them, it's wonderful, because they are surrounded by like-minded students that have the same passion and joy for the arts," said Jonathan Eades, Saint Mary's Hall head of school.

Although the students are enrolled in fine arts courses, they won't all necessarily pursue careers in the arts.

"I love music, mostly as an escape," said Amu Karla, senior.

When she graduates this spring, she plans to attend Trinity University and study neuroscience with plans to become a doctor.

Karla stood on stage at the makeshift coffeehouse and sang "Stand By Me" to an appreciative audience.

The philosophy of the independent schools is that fine arts are critical to developing confident, well-rounded adults.

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