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Evangel University to host Southern Missouri District Fine Arts Festival this weekend

February 26, 2013 | Ashli O'Connell


Nearly a thousand people will descend on the Evangel University campus on Saturday, March 2, for the Southern Missouri District Fine Arts Festival.

They will come from small towns and big cities all over Missouri, some as first-timers and others as seasoned contenders. But all will share one goal: to showcase their talents, creatively sharing the message of God’s love through the arts.

The best among them will earn the opportunity to advance to the National Fine Arts Festival in Orlando this summer.

Fine Arts is a discipleship tool developed by the Assemblies of God “to help students discover, develop and deploy their ministry gifts,” says Heather Poe, the Fine Arts coordinator for the Southern Missouri District.

According to the National Fine Arts website, more than 65,000 junior and senior high school students across the country participate every year in 61 categories offered in eight main divisions: Art, Communication, Dance, Drama, Exhibition, Instrumental, Vocal and Writing.

This year’s national festival in Orlando, held concurrently with the Assemblies of God General Council on August 5-9, will also be the 50th anniversary celebration for the Fine Arts program, which started in 1963.

The impact of Fine Arts

Hannah Beers

Evangel University freshman Hannah Beers on her final day of National Fine Arts competition in 2012. She participated for six years.

Evangel University freshman Hannah Beers knows personally the impact Fine Arts can have on a young person. An Advertising/Public Relations and Political Communication double major from Steelville, Missouri, Beers is involved in student government, yearbook and concert orchestra. She credits the confidence and success she enjoys today directly to her experience in Fine Arts.

“Fine Arts literally changed my life,” says Beers. “When beginning at the age of 12, I was a mousy sixth grader with hardly any performing or presenting skills. I had yet to experience much competition or failure for that matter. My first year, I was devastated by not making it to Nationals, but I learned to try again.”

And try again she did. The second year Beers advanced in two categories, and the following year six. By her senior year of high school, Beers advanced to nationals in 12 different events. She has placed in the Top 10 at Nationals seven times.

Today she is attending Evangel thanks in part to the Fine Arts scholarship she received.

“Through Fine Arts I learned what excellence is. I also learned you have to rely on the members of your team as much as you rely on yourself. Lastly, I learned a lot about my relationship with God. The talents He blessed me with could not reach their full potential by my effort alone. I learned to work as hard as I could, prepare to the fullest and then trust God to do the rest.”

Fifth year for Evangel to hold Fine Arts

Evangel has hosted the Southern Missouri District festival for the last five years. Poe says the campus is an ideal location. “We love the opportunity to work with Evangel University to accommodate this large student event that the Southern Missouri Youth Ministries hosts.  The campus is ideal for an event of this nature that requires many rooms and quite a bit of space.”

Poe says that the Fine Arts events will occur all over campus throughout the day and culminate with a Celebration Service in the Evangel University Chapel auditorium.

Beers remembers spending the day on Evangel’s campus as one of the highlights of her Fine Arts experience. “I dreamed of attending Evangel since I was probably 5 years old,” she says. “Attending Fine Arts made it an even bigger desire. I would arrive on campus early those Saturday mornings full of nerves and energy, and go through each building thinking, This is going to be my home some day! I think it drove me to try harder in Fine Arts and be a better student.”

For Fine Arts participants and parents who will be on campus and, like Beers, would like to know more about becoming an Evangel student one day, there will be information centers with student representatives on hand in the lobby of Zimmerman Hall, the Barnett Hall corridor and the Chapel lobby throughout the day. And you might even have a chance to win a T-shirt at the Celebration Service, according to EU’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions Julie Lyons.

“We are so excited to welcome this group of talented students and their families to Evangel’s campus,” says Lyons. “These are exactly the type of students we would love to see as future EU Crusaders. We hope that everyone has an enjoyable and successful day. Good luck!”

Lyons also invites those who make it to Nationals to visit Evangel’s booth in the convention hall. Last year, Evangel hosted a popular photo booth, where thousands of students had their pictures taken with a variety of props and costumes and posted to Facebook.

The photo booth will make a reappearance at Fine Arts this year, but with some big changes. “We have some incredible things planned for the booth this year,” says Michael Crawford, director of enrollment marketing. “All I can say now is, you don’t want to miss it!”

Fine Arts scholarships

Evangel University offers scholarships between $500 and $2,000 for students who receive the National Merit Award or a Superior National ranking in select solo categories. Read more about the Fine Arts scholarship under the “Performance Scholarships” tab on our scholarships page and download an application.

Need to stay overnight while you’re here for Fine Arts? See our list of Hotels and Accommodations near Evangel.


 — By Ashli O’Connell, web content developer & editor for Evangel University

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