Oregon High School seniors raise money for arts program by showcasing local talent

Local News

OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) — The COVID-19 pandemic impacted many local students–canceling dances, sporting events, and shows.

We got the chance to speak with two seniors who thought quickly to create their own music and art festival to showcase local artists’ work.

“We said why don’t we give people the opportunity to share what they love and their talents,” explained Claire Lebash and Whitney Kirk, two seniors at Oregon High School.

As seniors, Labash and Kirk are required to do a special project before they graduate, but the pandemic canceled their original plans.

“Music has always been a huge passion of mine. Claire loves it and just and a lot of things got canceled in choir we have to stand 8 ft apart you know it’s hard,” they explained.

“We had to do a senior capstone project this year and originally we were going to go a different route but it didn’t end up working out so we realized since we’re both in music and we missed out on different opportunities due to covid and stuff like that.”

They had to think quickly on their feet and decided to create their own art and music festival, featuring work from students and people from the community.

“I was very happy because I wanted to show my art and get into the community more,” said Jillian Higgins, Oregon alumni, and artist. “To see that Claire and Whitney put up this project, it gives me a chance to show pieces that I didn’t get to show at the competition.”

Higgins says the pandemic canceled her opportunity to showcase her work. But this time around she can.

“So I did this as a tribute piece to Walt Disney because my dream is to be a storyboard artist for Disney eventually one day,” said Higgins.

Overall, the students were able to showcase art from 16 artists and 8 musicians were able to play their music throughout the day.

“It has been a lot of hard work but I’m just glad we’re able to give these people a chance to share their talents and their passions,” they concluded.

The students tell us all donations collected from Sunday’s art festival will be used to fund the arts program at Oregon High School.

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