Arts Night offers chance to display hidden talents

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OTHELLO — At some time in his or her life, most everyone dreams of an opportunity to display or demonstrate their artsy side.

Thanksgiving and Christmas family gathering opportunities are past now, but Community Arts Night at the McFarland Middle School in Othello is coming up Jan. 24.

This is the eighth edition of Community Arts Night. Organizer Gretchen Durepo, arts teacher at the school, invites anyone with art talent to sign up. The show will go from 5-8 p.m.

“I was hoping to have the biggest turnout yet,” Durepo said.

This is a show for non-performing and performing arts. You can participate to simply display your talent, or you may sell your artwork.

“The performances will be mainly choir and band. There may be karate also,” Durepo said.

She added that any outside performing group, including pop music bands, are welcome.

If you have any interest at all, Durepo asks that you contact her by Jan. 20. That would make it easier to organize the evening.

You may email her at and let her know what type of art you do, if you’ll be needing electrical power, and if you will be selling anything.

“Also, let me know how you want to be listed in the program,” she said. “This year I will include some info on all of the vendors for websites or email, or contact info you wish to make available.”

Suggestions of display art from Durepo include quilting, painting, glass art, pottery, photography, metal art and woodworking. But the possibilities are not limited.

“Any other art you can think of is welcome,” Durepo said.

Tables for displaying or demonstrating are free. If you are planning to sell your work, the tables will cost $10.

Food booths are welcome, but they require a table to display or demonstrate the “art.” And it requires health department permitting.

Community Arts Night is not a fundraiser or anything like that. Durepo simply put it together for a way to connect middle school art students to the community and vice versa.

“Just about everybody has a hidden talent nobody knows about,” she said.

Durepo noted that School Resource Officer Sean Anderson does “great” collages. She said PE teacher Heather Ochoa does stained glass. A former janitor did Native American beadwork.

Community Arts Night started slowly. All of the students’ art works were on display at the first one, but there were only three non-student artists, and the audience was five people.

Last year, there was an attendance of more than 200 people and participation from 20-25 non-students. One of the regulars is professional painter Michael Lewis, who was once the Othello High School art teacher.

“It’s just a way for our students to connect with the greater community,” Durepo said.

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