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City of Peoria Press Release

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Irish Visitors Enhance Arts Festival

Artists from Sister City to Judge Competition, Work with Students


Peoria, Ariz. (March 4, 2008) Two artists from Peoria’s sister city in Northern Ireland will play an important role as the community hosts its second annual Festival of the Arts March 14-15 at City Hall.

Husband-and-wife artists Owen Crawford and Bronagh Wright will judge the associated Celebration of the Artists, a juried art exhibit that showcases the talents of Arizona artists. The exhibit will be on display in the City Hall Pine Room 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Monday, March 10, through Thursday, March 20. The artwork also will be displayed during the festival.

Crawford and Wright have three children and live in the town of Newtownards. They have visited Peoria separately in recent years through the Sister City program. Crawford sculpts wood and stone, while Wright works mostly with clay. They have judged art competitions before, from school competitions to university shows and public events.

During their two-week visit, the artists hope to make contact with like minded artists from the area and visit artists to see them working in their studios.

“I would like to visit the Heard Museum and am keen to see the jewelry exhibition,” Wright said in an e-mail. In addition, “I would like to meet artists using lost wax casting techniques in their work.”

Project to involve high school students.

Wright also will renew collaboration with Sunrise Mountain High School (SMHS) visual arts teacher Robert Panzer. Last year, their students worked together to produce a calendar featuring images of Peoria and the Borough of Ards.

This year’s project, the Transatlantic Tower for Change, will allow more than 60 high school students from Peoria and Newtownards to explore social issues that affect students in both countries. The students will create original photographic images to communicate messages of education, information or inspiration regarding a chosen social issue.

A large, vertical tower of selected student work will be built in Peoria and shipped to Northern Ireland, along with an empty tower for the Irish students to complete. Both towers then will be returned to Peoria for display. The Peoria Educational Enrichment Foundation (PEEF) has provided a grant of $1,424 for the project.

“I will be visiting SMHS to meet with Rob to show him Images of my pupils’ work and finalize dates,” Wright said.

Festival offers art and more.

The 2008 Peoria Festival of the Arts will run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 14, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 15. The event offers a dynamic collection of fine art, including ceramics, painting, photography, wood, glass, jewelry and fiber. There also will be live entertainment, such as jazz, classical, blues, rock and world beat music, as well as roving performers offering impromptu acts; children can participate in creative activities. In addition, there will be wine tasting and a delicious variety of culinary treats. The action will be in front of City Hall, 8401 W. Monroe St.