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Student voice & creativity come to life through Arts Unlimited

Published April 26, 2024

Sometimes, all it takes is one person’s passion and vision to launch an idea that takes root, steadily grows and bears fruit for decades to come. So it was nearly 50 years ago with former Elk Grove High School teacher and division head Richard Calisch. He so highly valued the fine and performing arts and so much appreciated his students’ creativity in these arenas that he looked for ways to give broader District and community exposure to student voice and creative expression.

District 214 this year marked the 48th anniversary of Arts Unlimited, which celebrates student talent, creativity and voice in the fine and performing arts.

To learn more about Arts Unlimited, its work and annual events, please visit the Arts Unlimited website 

Calisch found like-minded people to join the effort, leading to the creation of Arts Unlimited 214. Its mission?  “To provide exposure to alternative, process-oriented perspectives through an ongoing celebration of the fine and performing arts. Arts Unlimited 214 strives to inspire imagination and creativity amongst the District’s diverse student body and foster awareness of the arts within our community.”

Arts Unlimited consists of three primary components. One element is made up of ongoing fine and performing arts programs to serve all students. A second is the eagerly anticipated annual spring reception, recognizing outstanding student achievement in the arts and honoring someone in the community who has made a significant impact in supporting the arts. The reception is also noteworthy as it features the unveiling of the third primary element: the annual Arts Unlimited Anthology.

The Arts Unlimited Anthology. Those who appreciate visual art, poetry, essays or short stories can easily lose themselves for hours in this year’s 64 pages. Thoughtful. Humorous. Challenging. Intimate and deeply personal. Universal. Whimsical. Reflective. Sad. Laugh-out-loud funny.  Insightful. Culturally and intellectually diverse.  All of these descriptions and more fit The Anthology, an annual treasure for the ways in which it celebrates student voice and perspective.

“Fostering awareness of the arts within our community” is part of the Arts Unlimited mission, and one that the Arts Unlimited Community takes seriously. Toward that end, Arts Unlimited has partnered with the Daily Herald, which each year sponsors the Community Art and Writing contest - another avenue for celebrating creative expression. A panel of judges awards first, second and third place honors in three categories: Art, Poetry and Prose. This year’s winning entries, as always, merit attention and may be found on either the Arts Unlimited or Daily Herald website.