Guest Commentary

Marinelli: DUSD festival features full range of arts

Posted 3/14/23

As a music educator and arts advocate, it has been so great to see the arts come alive in Surprise over the last few years.

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Guest Commentary

Marinelli: DUSD festival features full range of arts


As a music educator and arts advocate, it has been so great to see the arts come alive in Surprise over the last few years.

I love seeing the incredible talent that we have in our own back yard and throughout Arizona on display.

There is so much creativity around us. The beauty of art, music, dance and theatre is that each in their own unique way allows us to see things in a different perspective. The arts are a creative outlet of expression accessible to everyone.

I am so proud that Dysart Schools truly values the arts, and remains committed to providing strong performing and visual arts programs in our schools. All Dysart K-8 students participate in music as a “specials” class to provide them with a good foundation, and in high school students have a variety of opportunities to choose from. Dysart students earned the second most Arizona State Seals of Arts Proficiency in the state last year, a true testament to both their talent and hard work and dedication as a district.

I would love for our community to see the amazing talents of Dysart students at our upcoming Festival of the Arts. It will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at Valley Vista High School, 15550 N. Parkview Place in Surprise. The festival is presented courtesy of Germain Honda of Surprise.

There will be more than 1,200 students performing throughout the day on seven stages, and every art form will be represented. If you enjoy music, you can find a stage with choirs, show choirs, bands, orchestras, jazz bands, ukulele ensembles, indoor drumlines, bucket drumming ensembles and anything you musically desire.

If you enjoy dance, we will have a collaborative dance performance from 11am to noon on the Vista stage. If you enjoy the theatre, there will be multiple opportunities to watch scenes from upcoming plays and musicals.

And it’s not just the performing arts on display. Dysart will also have a beautiful art show displaying more than 1,000 pieces of student artwork from preschool students to graduating seniors.

This festival is not designed just to watch and celebrate the arts in Dysart, it is for our community, families and friends to experience the arts. This year will include an “arts experience” area sponsored by Iris USA, Inc. This area will offer multiple hands-on opportunities for attendees to participate in the arts, and it’s not just for the kids — we want everyone to have the opportunity to try something new.

Dysart is offering introductory workshops on the half hours where visitors can learn to play a ukulele, try bucket drumming, learn to sing, try their hand at theatre improv games or learn to play a keyboard. Dance classes will also be offered for creative dance, jazz or ballet folklorico.

If performing arts aren’t your thing, there will be a whole section of art projects you can try your hand at. WHAM will have their arts trailer on site to provide make and take art projects, and Act One will host their Virtual Reality Arts Immersion Field Trips for attendees to enjoy.

Finally, the festival will feature more than 50 arts and crafts vendors made up of local artisans from across the valley showcasing and selling their stunning work, and we have partnered with many non-profit arts organizations from around the Valley to bring awareness to the community about arts opportunities available. A food truck patio will be set up for attendees to enjoy.

Throughout the years, this festival has grown to be an event the entire community enjoys with a focus of celebrating every aspect of the arts. I hope you’ll mark your calendar today, and plan to come out and join the Dysart Festival of the Arts. Check out the details at

Danae Marinelli is the director of the arts for Dysart Schools.