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Five Elementary School works that Celebrate and Share the Arts

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

The Elementary School was awash with color on Friday for the International School of Beijing’s (ISB) 16th annual CASTA (Celebrate and Share the Arts) festival.

CASTA is a celebration of all things artistic by ISB’s youngest students. Each Elementary student had an artwork on display in the CASTA exhibition, and Elementary performing arts classes performed for the on-campus community.

Under the Elementary School’s model of inclusivity, CASTA allows every student to exhibit the fruits of what they have been learning, and a day of gorging on music, dance, and painting gives them plenty of chance to sample their peers’ work and develop artistic appreciation.

At ISB, life is about far more than academics, and an appreciation of the arts is recognized as an important part of making students well-rounded individuals. In art and performing arts classes, students explore creativity and try their hands at different artistic pursuits.

It is these explorations that are really on show during CASTA. The little artists are encouraged to think about the process of art and explain the work that went into their masterpieces. Here are five works of CASTA art with introductions by the artists themselves. The five are just a randomly selected, representative sample shared by Elementary School visual and performing arts teachers. Well done to each and every CASTA artist!


Eric K, Grade 5


My favorite part about CASTA is looking at my friends’ art and comparing what each of us made. I also like writing comment cards. For my mask project, we looked at theater makeup from Peking opera. When I created my own mask, I was inspired by a monster from my favorite video game. There are five kinds of this type of monster and I chose the golden one. The hardest part was sculpting the white hair out of air dry clay.

Right now, I am really enjoying making my Alebrije sculpture. Alebrijes are mythical creatures combining a variety of animals originating in Mexico. I combined a tiger, a dolphin, and a bird.  When I grow up, I would like to be a robot engineer or car engineer.

Samuel A, Grade 3


On my ice cream sculpture, I tried to build a campfire out of air dry clay. Then I added fiery marshmallows. On the other side, an asteroid has traveled through a black hole onto Earth and onto my ice cream. The flavors are lemon and blueberry. I put the spoon in backwards to make it look strange.

My favorite project at ISB was designing a logo for the ISB Spring Fair. When I grow up, I want to design houses.


Miranda Q, Grade 5


My favorite thing about CASTA is showing others my skills. I chose purple for my landscape painting because I wanted it to be a little different than reality. My painting reminded me of a trip I took in China with my dad where we saw snowy mountains. The ice cream sculpture was my favorite art project at ISB. When I grow up, I would like to be like my sister who is an artist and designer.


Xichen Y, Grade 1


For our Grade 1 CASTA project, we sang a song called “Come Out to Play,” and we played a Korean children’s game about going in and out of gates. On the barred instruments, we played a song called “Miss Mary Mack.”  This was my first CASTA performance at ISB and I was excited to perform. I want to be either an astronaut or a doctor when I grow up. 


Zak D, Grade 4


For CASTA, we worked on a barred instrument/singing/movement project called “Kaleidoscopes.” We began looking at kaleidoscopes and watching how the moving shapes create different patterns. Then we made symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes with small groups. We learned to sing the song, as well as how to play the different parts on the barred instruments. My favorite part of this CASTA project was making the creative movement in my group. I want to be a soccer player when I grow up. 

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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