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School will present its 23rd biennial arts festival, Focus on the Arts. The three-day, three-night celebration will take place April 11-14, with the theme of "Imagine the Possibilities." New this year is Focus "Night at the Movies," conceived by students and featuring student films, which will kickoff Focus the week before on Friday evening, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the school's auditorium. Over 250 workshops (architecture, art, drama, dance, media, music and creative writing) take place at Highland Park High School during the days of Focus on the Arts. Focus includes artist-in-residence programs and performances in the visual, performing and media arts at the high school over three days. Also during Focus week, each evening includes public performances: Opening Night, featuring music talents, Dance Night which showcases the best of Chicago dance companies and Art Night, a hands-on program of art exhibits designed for families. Movie Night (April 8) and Art Night (April 12) require no tickets. On Saturday, March 19 at 1 p.m. there will be a public ticket giveaway for Opening Night (April 11) and Dance Night (April 13) at the school's H Entrance on St. Johns Ave. Doors will open at 12:30. Tickets will be limited to 2 per person per evening event. Highland Park residents and visitors are invited to Art Night on Tuesday, April 12 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the high school, 433 Vine Ave. Art Night provides the unique opportunity to interact with over 40 professional artists as they demonstrate and exhibit their work. Art Night is free to the public, highly interactive and family-oriented. Many famous artists and alumni, who were, in fact, inspired by their experience at Focus, return to participate. Stage and film Actor Gary Sinise, David Rudman of Sesame Street fame, screenwriter Allan Loeb, Brian Levant and Doug Belgrad, all acclaimed Hollywood filmmakers, are all examples of arts professionals that return Focus year after year. Alumnus Jessica Redish, founder and director of Highland Park's Music Theatre Company comments, "Focus is an incredible celebration of artistic expression that is unmatched by any other organization in the country." This year’s program promises to be equally as impressive with performances by Hubbard Street 2 Dance Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, world renowned slam poets of The Spoken Word, Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin, sportscaster Mark Giangreco, Greg Ward, saxophonist and winner of The Chicago Tribune’s Jazz Album of the Year, and Audrey Niffenegger, author of the highly acclaimed novel, The Time Traveler's Wife. Other highlights include Rachel Tenner, Hollywood casting director of Oscar-nominated film “True Grit,” and Rachel Rockwell, Jeff award winning director of “Ragtime” and a special presentation by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A unique aspect of Focus on the Arts is that it is truly a community endeavor. All events are free. Support for this program comes from our entire community: individuals, the
City’s Cultural Arts Commission, The Illinois Arts Council, YEA! Highland Park, The Park District of Highland Park, The Highland Park Community Foundation and corporate sponsors. As part of the Focus Outreach program, seniors and District 112 students are invited to attend. Volunteers as well as financial support are welcomed. Information on Focus on the Arts can be obtained by contacting the Focus office at Highland Park High School, 433 Vine Ave, Highland Park. The phone is (224) 7652164, email:HPHSFocus@dist113.org, or go to the website at Focus.dist113.org.