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North Rowan Middle hosts its own Renaissance festival

By Christina Brayton and Leigh Ann Alexander

North Rowan Middle School

SPENCER — Renaissance festivals are usually planned with authenticity and entertainment in mind. At North Rowan Middle School, Leigh Ann Alexander’s art students created a Renaissance festival with education in mind.

Students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades created items that represented inventions and areas of advancement from the Renaissance period.

The Renaissance was a cultural movement during the 17th and 18th centuries when the arts, science, religion and society greatly advanced, producing some of the most amazing art and modern inventions in history. Students researched the time period, using print and online resources from North Rowan Middle’s media center for authenticity.

All North Rowan Middle teachers, staff and students were invited to tour the media center, which was transformed into a castle with student-created exhibits.

When they entered the media center, visitors crossed over the drawbridge protected from the “moat” and collected printed money, drawn by art students to represent the first use of banking during the Renaissance. Students and teachers used their “money” to purchase items from the rest of the exhibits.

Exhibits included student-made tapestries and marbled bookmarks, representing the fine art and printing press invention during the Renaissance. One booth had amulet necklaces made with clay and paint, which were worn by knights to protect them in battle and everyday citizens to ward off evil.

Another table sold marzipan mushrooms, representing a popular candy of the Renaissance. Visitors could also purchase paper swords or handcrafted coronets or headpieces made to show the fashions of the Renaissance period. Another option for purchase was stained glass ornaments, a popular decoration of Renaissance churches.

Although the purpose of the festival was education, the creations and experiences of the teachers and students made it fun for everyone.

Christina Brayton is the media center coordinator at North Rowan Middle School and Leigh Ann Alexander is the school’s art teacher.

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