School To Host ‘Holly Jolly Artfest’

BERLIN – Berlin Intermediate School (BIS) will open its doors to the community next month for an inaugural “Holly Jolly Artfest.”

On Dec. 9, children ages 3 through 12 will have the opportunity to create holiday themed ornaments, paintings, sculptures and more in the school’s cafeteria.

Stefanie McElhinny, an art teacher at BIS, said this will be the first year the school has hosted an Artfest near the holiday season.

“We’ve had Artfest going on for a decade and it’s been at different times throughout the year,” she said. “Now we are trying to gear it towards the holidays.”

McElhinny said this year’s event will give children the opportunity to work with different materials and create holiday gifts.

“There are a lot of different arts and crafts to try,” she said. “The idea is if the kids can’t afford gifts, they can hand make the gifts.”

Each year, the school’s art department organizes an Artfest event for the community. McElhinny said the event has grown in recent years and averages 250 participants.

“It’s about bridging the community,” she said. “It’s also open to kids not yet in the school, so the community gets to see what Berlin Intermediate School has to offer.”

McElhinny said children can choose between any of the 23 craft stations available that day and can complete several arts projects.

In addition to traditional arts and crafts projects, BIS will also have a screen-printing area, where children will have the opportunity to print on a T-shirt or tote that is provided to them.

“We offer a gamut of art stations,” McElhinny said. “It’s not just drawing and painting.”

McElhinny said donations and support from the Art League of Ocean City, the Worcester County Arts Council, Little Dreamers Wellness Center and the BIS PTA made this year’s Holly Jolly Artfest a reality.

She also extended her gratitude to Stephen Decatur High School teacher Laurie Chetelat and student volunteers.

“Stephen Decatur High School volunteers and Berlin Intermediate School’s PTA have played an integral part in assisting smooth operations,” she said. “Our PTA members generously volunteer to operate the concession stand, while SDHS volunteers receive service learning hours operating the stations.”

The Holly Jolly Artfest will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. A $3 admission fee will cover the cost of the craft stations and an Artfest tote.

“We are self-sufficient,” McElhinny said. “The fee will replenish what we spent this year and the rest will go toward next year’s Artfest.”

McElhinny said children should wear “paint-friendly” attire and must be accompanied by an adult.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.