Organizers of Reynoldsburg's first Kids Fest Block Party said the June 24 event was a success.
Kids Fest was coordinated by the Central Ohio Art Academy and the Reynoldsburg Parks & Recreation Department and featured a bounce house, bike-decorating contest, chalk art, hula-hoop and jump rope contests, along with members of the Reynoldsburg High School football team and cheerleaders present to lead some of the games.
"Turnout was better than we expected," said Donna Boiman, Art Academy director. "Our main goal for this first block party was to bring kids together to have fun and meet other kids. We all had a great time."
The city blocked off an area in front of the Central Ohio Art Academy and Cotner Park, at the intersection of East Main Street and state Route 256.
The free event also included refreshments, a demonstration by Tai Chi master Teresa Munnerlyn and 20 Tai Chi students and a chance to tour the Columbus Fire Department's safety escape house.
Student artwork was on display inside the Art Academy, where people also could view a short film of the Kid Fest shot by art student Marc Tennant.
Tennant will be a senior at Pickerington High School North.
"I only had an hour to edit and put the videos to music," he said.
Tennant has completed at least nine or 10 short films, he said -- most of them "monster" films that feature Godzilla-like creatures that he sculpts himself.
One of his recent films, however, is not about monsters, but is a profile of fellow art student Nandi Rowe, an incoming junior at Reynoldsburg Encore Academy. That film has been submitted to the International Film Festival in New York City.
Boiman has accommodated Tennant's film efforts by setting aside a small room at the Art Academy where he can work on special effects for the films without disturbing the other art students.
"We were a little sick of always hearing Godzilla noises," Boiman said, laughing.
Tennant hopes to continue his study of art and filmmaking after high school at the Columbus College of Art and Design or at Ohio State University.
His film about Rowe is intended to show an art student at work and to foster self-esteem among young girls, Rowe said.
The film, called "I am Nandi," shows Rowe working on her paintings and using mixed media in colorful, creative ways. It also shows her jogging around town.
Rowe has been Boiman's student since 2006 and has won a Best of Show ribbon at the Ohio State Fair Youth Arts Exhibition. She also has had pieces accepted into that show for the past several years.
"I experiment with design, color and space ... I love the freedom my art gives me," Rowe says in the film, telling young girls to "be free, be bold, be courageous."
She said making the film was a little nerve-wracking.
"I had to remember the words in the script and practice a lot, but I like how it turned out, with the music," she said. "I hope the message young girls leave with is that they don't have to act different than they are. They shouldn't try to be anyone else."