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Student artwork and writing is showcased May 16

The event began in 2009 with a "What If" grant from the Hastings Public Schools Foundation to celebrate students' artwork and writing at Kennedy Elementary School. It has continued each year thanks to continued funding from the grant.

This year's Beyond Imagination evening will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Kennedy Elementary School.

The event was modeled after a similar event in Northfield, according to second grade teacher Amy Mitchell.

"It was inspiring to the Kennedy staff," she said. "The purpose of our Beyond Imagination event has always been to showcase student work inspired by Minnesota writers and artists. It is a community event that attracts over 500 people, including Kennedy families, community members, school board members and student youth groups and organizations."

Some new activities as well some favorite ones from the past years are planned for this year, she said. New is a photo booth room, where students can use props to get creative with words and fun items. There will be face painting and some poetry-themed activities to go along the poetry theme this year. There is poetry pizza-making and celebration streamers.

"Finally, this year, we are introducing a Poetry Park to the evening's activities," said Mitchell. "Community members and former teachers will be sharing some of their favorite poems in a park-like setting."

Black Dirt Theater Co. will be part of the evening's activities.

The event is free and open to the community.

"We welcome community members to stop by and see all the beautiful artwork and wonderful writing that our students have been working on," said Mitchell. "It is a community celebration of what is working in our schools."