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5th World Children's Festival: a global celebration of creativity, diversity, and unity.

Welcome to the 5th World Children's Festival (WCF)! This global celebration of creativity took place in Washington, DC from June 30th to July 4 th of 2015, and included visual and performing artists from across the U.S. and 50 countries.

First, some background. Every four years, the ICAF launches the Arts Olympiad in classrooms worldwide. Lesson plans introduce students to the "Artist-Athlete Ideal" of the creative mind and healthy body. Students apply this knowledge by creating a personal work of art encouraged by the theme My Favorite Sport.

In the second year, exhibitions are held in schools and cities around the world, where the winning artworks are selected, and students' creativity is celebrated. The following year, Arts Olympiad winners travel to Washington, DC to join extraordinary performing artists selected by the ICAF from around the world to showcase their talents on the "World Stage," a true gem and highlight of the WCF. Following the WCF, the Arts Olympiad exhibition spends the final year of the Olympiad cycle traveling to prominent venues across the globe. Together, this cycle of competition, exhibition, festival, and further exhibition draws public awareness to the importance of creative education.

The WCF is a unique event fostering creativity, empathy, and mutual understanding in a global community setting.

Over a hundred educators host workshops and activities integrating the arts with sports, and both with STEM disciplines to show the holistic nature of STEAMS Education--Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Sports.

The WCF 2015 started with a three-day celebration at The Ellipse, also known as the President's Park because it is right next to the White House. Though the festival got off to a bumpy start with rain falling just before the festival opening by the U.S. Air Force color guard, the WCF brings a magic of its own. The rain soon stopped, and a double rainbow appeared, gracing attendees with the rarest of sights and hinting at the promising future they can make happen.

In addition to the performances and workshops at The Ellipse, the WCF honored participants with medals and certificates presented at the World Children's Awards Banquet. The festivities culminated with a firework celebration of the U.S. Independence Day at The National Mall on July 4th before attendees returned home the following day.

I invite you to join us in exploring the magic of Creativity, Diversity, and Unity as we introduce you to a few of the festival events. Together, we can build a world of incredible creativity and global understanding.

Educational Workshop

Educational workshops at the WCF are based on STEAMS EducationSM--the ICAF's pioneering approach to integrate STEM disciplines with art & culture (signified by the "A") and sport & play (the "S"). Here is a sample (photos 1, 2, 3, and 4): Ms. Nozomi Kondo, president ICAF Japan, and Stanislav Nedzelskyi, ICAF Youth Board Member, discuss a mural to be coproduced by delegates from Texas and Japan. Once produced, the mural became symbolic of how the arts can build bonds of understanding between peoples.

Peter Foster and Daniel Fenwick the Swatch Group conducted workshops on watchmaking (see photos 5, 6, and 7). The participants wore the Swiss watchmakers white coats and created a work of art which they took home.

Three famous artists host workshops: Antje Tesche-Mentzen, who has her studios in Munich and Venice; Narmina Veliyeva, who is an artist in Baku; and Ngozi Akande, president of Female Artists Association of Nigeria and deputy director of the National Council for the Arts and Culture (ICAF partner in Nigeria).

Danish artist Martin Nore entertained young artists with the motion painting of a mural (photos 3,4,5, and 6).

The Pinhole Project of Senay Yassar, Sinem Poyraz and Bose Ongen of Turkey showed the magic of light and photography to the delegates who took photographs and took home their rolls. The delegates from Azerbaijan produced a fashion show that showcased their culture (photos 1 and 2).

Exercise and Friendship

Exercises at the WCF were organized by the United States Coast Guard and even an Olympian, Dr. Liston Brochette, showed up with his friends to celebrate Olympic Day at the WCF photos 1, 2, and 3). New friendships were formed and email addresses and phone numbers exchanged. Even a delegation from Iran came for the first time in the 16-year history of the WCF (photo 4).

Awards and Farewell

And then there was the World Children's Awards Banquet to receive the certificate and bid farewell.

The 6th World Children's Festival will take place in the summer of 2019, and some of the artists will participate again, some as the ICAF Youth Board Members.

World Children's Award 2015

At their world festival, the children presented the "World Children's Award 2015" to The Swatch Group (Switzerland) and Akira Foundation (Japan).

Frank Furlan, President of the Swatch Group (USA), accepted the award for The Swatch Group. "We are honored to have received The World's Children's Award 2015 as a tribute to companies and organizations that recognize creativity and promotion of art for art's sake by children," he said.

Hirofumi Yokoi, President, Akira Foundation, travelled from Tokyo to accept the award. "We are truly honored and humbled to accept the World Children's Award," he said.

At the World Children's Awards Banquet, the Arts Olympiad winners presen tlUffe "World Children's Award 2015" to the educators they admired the most: Ms. Shona Hammond Boys (founder of the New Zealand Children's Art House Foundation), Mr. Fato Wheremongar (founder, ChildArt Liberia), and Mr. Ssembiro Mike (ICAF representative in Uganda).

The WCF logo and the World Children's Award The WCF logo resulted from a design competition among 19 countries at the Cannes Lions in Cannes, France. The winner was a German team from Kolle Rebbe in Hamburg. The award itself was designed by Sergey Eylanbekov, who is the sculptor for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial to be built in Washington, D. C. under the creative direction of Frank Gehry.

Artists Selection for the WCF

The performing artists apply to the ICAF where a panel of judges selects the best performances and ensures that various forms and cultures are included. The visual artists are the winners of the 5th Arts Olympiad, the ICAF's flagship program which is organized in nearly 100 countries around the world.

At the Casablanca American School in Morocco, the Arts Olympiad was organized by art teacher Giselle Gruen. The students were given two articles to read from the materials about the Arts Olympiad and the body in motion as inspiration to art. Students learned that in ancient Greece, the Games were held every four years in Olympia in honor of the god Zeus. The Romans conquered Greece in mid-2nd century B.C., but the games continued but as a show. Emperor Nero fell off his chariot during the race but still declared himself the winner. In 393 A.D., Emperor Theodosius, a Christian, banned "pagan" festivals, ending the Olympic tradition after twelve centuries.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France revived the Games and the first modern Olympics was held in Athens in 1896 with only 13 nations participating. The Baron, who also founded the International Olympic Committee, envisaged the Olympics to reunite "muscle and mind" for cooperation and peace among nations. An Arts Olympics was part of the seven Olympic Games held between 1912 and 1948. Gold medals were awarded to artists, musicians, sculptors, architects, and writers. At the Helsinki 1952 Olympics, the Arts Olympics was abandoned because of the controversy that the artists were professionals and not amateurs like the athletes.

Ms. Gi (as students call her) gave a quiz about art and sport in which the class did quite well. Students were introduced to the "Artist-Athlete Ideal" of the creative mind and healthy body. Then came the production of art on the theme, My Favorite Sport. In all, 130 paintings were produced, many successfully showing bodies in motion. On November 24, 2014, these works were exhibited in the school and distinguished guests were invited to select the winners. Twelve paintings were chosen and sent to Washington so that the ICAF judges could select the winner.

On the left, Ms. Shona Hammond Boys.

On the right, Mr. Furlan, on the right, Mr. Yokoi, kneeling down on the floor.

Hunter Foster (age 8, Indonesia). "Me and my mom are playing badminton.You must be confuse why there is a pony, because I like my pony. I like pony same as I feel like and excited when I play badminton. I like badminton so much, because it's fun and can make me taller."

Adan Maxwell (age 10, Morocco) "Quidditch" a competitive sport Wizarding World of the Harry Potter universe.

Aishling Kelly (age 11, Arizona-USA) "My artwork shows motion through gymnastics. I've always been inspired by the potential of the human body. Gymnastics shows a great use of this ability to its full extent. I've enjoyed gymnastics since I was very little. It's a fun way to exercise and become more flexible. I believe that combining art with sports is a great way to show different aspects that compose a healthy mind and body."

Ostap Bolyukh (age 11, Texas-USA) "Sky Ball is a phenomenal sport in which a baseball team protects the earth from any harm, overcoming asteroids and cosmic debris with the sheer power of will and a baseball bat. I feel empowered to be a hero by looking at my artwork. Determination and positive outlook serve as my inspiration throughout the day. Sky Ball reflects my dreams and vision of a world where each and every one of us will be a hero, doing only good to better the world."

Alejandra Piaz (age 9, Guatemala) "I wanted to do a very special person: Mateo Flores because he was a fantastic runner that my great grandfather met. This painting is about running. But not just running, it's about never giving up no matter what!

Lovemore Moyo, Jr. (age 10, Liberia). "I love sport so much that I do my sport through farm work. I love my farm sport that I pray for good health every day to follow my parents. The interesting part of my farm sport is during the harvest time, it's interesting because I love to pick the remains of the crops, when my parents pack the crops, and I love to run through the farm, my siblings and me. Sport is good on the farm. "

Regina Tagbashie (age 11, Ghana) "There have been war in most African countries and so far to what I know only games like this can bring us together in one unity. Let's play for unity and peace."

Elizabeth Tewsley (age 11, Kentucky-USA). "My drawing shows myself and others cheerleading at a basketball game in the school gymnasium. Students are sitting in the background watching as we perform a spectacular movement, raising another cheerleader in the air. The boys are shooting a goal in the background. Cheerleading is fun and I get to meet other new friends in the sport. We have to do lots of energetic exercises and keep fit so we practice a lot. We cheer at games to encourage and inspire the team to play, and most of all to win. We say ... "Let's get fired up!". Competition in sports is good for kids since it teaches them to use their minds and bodies wisely and also to stay out of trouble. It teaches them how to work together and to keep peace."

Adelina Rupolo (age 11, Australia). "True Blue Australians." After returning home from the WCF, Adelina wrote: "It's not every day you get chosen to fly to America and experience a once in a life time art extravaganza. I will remember the memories of America and the fun I had over the five days forever. I'm sure the same goes for everyone else who was able to share the most wonderful experience with me at the 5th World Children's Festival."

Ellie Wrigley (age 11, Washington-USA) "Big snow-capped mountains loom high above you. Tightening the straps on your snowboard and securing the harness on a kite you are connected to. You are kiteboarding. Similar to snowboarding, the only difference is that you have a kite. Or a parachute above you. You jump off of a higher point of the mountain. Gliding through the sky, you take in the beautiful scene below."

Arjaa Raghu (age 11, Illinois-USA) I chose Michael Phelps because he won the most Olympic Gold medals in a single sport in the history of Olympics, and he is my "Super Hero". Winning one Olympic Gold medal is one's lifetime achievement. Think of 5 Gold Medals in individual events and 3 Gold medals in team events--a total of eight, which is definitely amazing and mind blowing."

Showing their works at the WCF are Japan's 12 year-old Momoka Ishiwata; Turkey's 10 year-old Dalya Kinsizer and her mom; Russia's 12 year-old Ksenia Oliferuk. Ksenia's other photos from the a workshop at the festival.The Arts Olympiad winners from different regions and cities of China show their artworks.
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Author:Ishaq, Ashfaq
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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