‘Tweens and Teen ARTSTART’ to debut at May 4th Friday

May 24, 2023 | By Joe Meyer, Fourth Friday, Uptown News

Arts activities for young people will get a big boost at Westerville’s Uptown 4th Friday street festivals this year.

With an assist from the Ohio Arts Council, the Arts Alley at Uptown 4th Fridays will launch a new slate of activities for youth ages 12-15.

“Tweens and Teens ARTSTART” will be at the first Uptown 4th Friday festival of the year, May 26.

Various musical, art and physical activities will be featured, as ARTSTART sets up near Hanby Elementary School, 56 S. State St.

A centerpiece will be artist April Sunami, who with participating youth will commence work on a new community mural project at the site.

Music, henna and shooting hoops with the Wesson brothers

ARTSTARTAlso at Hanby, DJ Matt Ryan also will spin music, henna artist Saigeetha will demonstrate her craft, and kids can shoot hoops with renowned local basketball players Andre and Kaleb Wesson.

The Wesson brothers when playing for Westerville South High School won a state championship, then both went on to play college ball for Ohio State University.

Now both playing professionally in Europe, the Wessons are back home during their offseason and were recruited to volunteer at ARTSTART in Uptown.

It should be a fun and active night – for arts and physical activity, said Dr. Jan Fedorenko, a member of the Arts Council of Westerville.

Fedorenko wrote the application and secured the Ohio Arts Council matching grant for ARTSTART. The Arts Council of Westerville is funding the other half.


“The goal of Tweens and Teens ARTSTART is to engage the youth of Westerville in positive activities that are related to their interests and promotes the arts through musical and art activities and well as providing movement and physical activities such as basketball and movement activities, Fedorenko said.

“We planned a variety of activities to reach all interests,” she added.

According to the grant summary, ARTSTART will provide educational visual art experiences for adolescents at the 4th Friday celebrations through the inclusion of educational collaborative art experiences by working with professional artists in the creation of several large-scale art projects.

The focus of the arts experiences will be social justice, addressing diversity through art and building a kinder world with positive messages that will be visually portrayed. The Arts Council also hopes to provide an open microphone night with karaoke, allowing adolescents to share and explore their musical talents.

Research shows that exposure to the arts can help teens develop many positive skills and capacities that are valued by leaders and employers, such as persistence, collaboration, creative thinking, problem solving, and motivation. Studies demonstrate that arts exposure can improve a teenager’s confidence and academic performance.

Evidence also supports that community-based arts programs can be instrumental in resolving conflicts, deterring problems with disruptive behavior, and building self-respect, self-efficacy, resilience, empathy, collaborative skills, and other characteristics and capacities.

Not only do children who participate in arts programming over an extended period of time show more sophisticated social skills such as sharing and cooperation, but they also show reduced shyness and anxiety, and reduced aggressive behavior, according to the grant summary.

The lead artist for each of the 4th Fridays will work closely with Dr. Fedorenko to assure that the goals of the program are met through visual and musical experiences. It is the intent that the visual creations will be displayed throughout the community upon their completion.

More arts and entertainment May 26

Also be sure to visit the “Arts Alley” at 4th Friday, staged by the Arts Council of Westerville on West Main Street. On May 26, Arts Alley will have live music, artists with work on display including from the David Myers Art Studio, and crafts for kids. Musician KaTanya Brewer will be the live act at the May 26 4th Friday.

Down State Street at the Westerville Public Library, 126 S. State St., youth can visit with farm animals on the front lawn. Animals will include sheep, goats, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and even a mini pig – presented by Bring the Farm to You.

Summer Concert Series at the City Hall Courtyard, 21 S. State St. The Don Norman Band will be the featured act at the May 26 4th Friday, performing from ​6:30-8:30 p.m. The Arts Council of Westerville also is sponsoring the Don Norman Band appearance.

At the Uptown Rotary Park (near the Columbus Running Company, 50 N. State St.): Magician Magic Nate and DJs from Tempo Entertainment will perform.

Up next in Uptown