The art of art has come a long way, says Kristy Rothbrust, an art teacher who has worked for the past 10 years to inspire creativity in the minds of students at Kae Avenue Elementary School.

Those creative forces were on display March 16 at the schools' annual arts festival.

Rothbrust has organized the Kae Avenue Arts Festival since she joined the school's staff.

"Our students do great work," said Rothbrust, who will move to Etna Road Elementary School next year as part of the district's reorganization of its three elementary schools and preschool.

Rothbrust said she looks forward to the new opportunity of presenting Etna Road's arts festival next year.

Each of the elementary schools in Whitehall has annual arts festivals.

Etna Road's arts festival was March 15; Beechwood Elementary School's arts festival is set for April 20.

"Our arts festival (at Kae Avenue) is the biggest event of the year," Rothbrust said, adding a highlight is a musical performed by the second-grade class.

All students had artwork on display.

Mediums included ceramics, watercolor and acrylic paint and clay.

But Rothbrust wants her students to learn more than primary colors.

"I use science and math in my classes, too," she said.

The concepts can be applied to mixing portions of colors to create new colors, Rothbrust said.

Scientific methods can be used to create hypotheses about how mixtures of mediums might behave when used by artists, Rothbrust said.

The concept is part of a growing educational movement, Rothbrust said, to incorporate the arts into the traditional STEM model of academia. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math; with arts added, it becomes STEAM.

Among the students participating in Kae Avenue's arts festival last week was fifth-grader Olivia Irwin.

Olivia said she enjoys art class.

Among her projects on display was a clock made from clay and a symmetrical flower, created by drawing independent but matching images on each half of the page.

"We have a lot of talented kids," Rothbrust said.

Chris Hardy, principal at Kae Avenue, said the event was well-attended, as expected.

"(The festival) is truly fun for everyone. Students and their families have the opportunity to enjoy one another's company, view and create art, and wrap up the evening with a spectacular performance by our second-grade students.

"It is amazing what our students are capable of creating and performing," Hardy said.