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Walnut’s Night Under the Stars
Walnut Night Under the Stars 1
Leo and Everly Youhanaei show off their creations at the “Night Under the Stars” art event on Thursday (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

For the last 13 years, the folks at Walnut Elementary Education Center have welcomed the community to their Family Art Nights. Every year, the event takes on a different theme, with Thursday’s being tabbed as “A Night Under the Stars.”

Walnut is a school that offers an educational experience through a S.T.E.A.M lens (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). The school’s “Renaissance” magnet uses the visual and performing arts in curriculum, while the “Discovery” magnet aims to expand instruction through the lens of math and science.

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Families visit the dancing station at Walnut Elementary’s “Night Under the Stars” event (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

On Thursday, nearly 300 community members came to the event and visited five stations showcasing the school’s rays of art, including performing arts, visual arts and digital arts, as well as their science magnet. The stations included arts and crafts, dancing, singing and the popular Star Lab Planetarium, which showed visuals of the night sky’s constellations.

“We really believe this is a great way to get our community involved, particularly the families,” said sixth grade visual performing arts teacher Danielle Silveira. “The kids come, the parents come, the aunts and uncles, the grandparents come on out, and they can all experience art in a new way so that they could have a better understanding of what their children are getting out of the program.

“When we do dance and music, we get the parents involved in it. We don’t want them standing back, although they totally can,” she joked. “But we really believe that this is going to push into the classroom and into the learning because now everybody feels like they're involved in our process.”

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Aryah and Levi Ochoa pose with their stars alongside their father, Dave (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

‘It’s really such a fun day,” said Reyna Ochoa, who took her children to the event.

Silveira explained that the event also serves as an opportunity to inform local parents about the school and their unique approach to teaching.

“Not everybody knows about this program far and wide. This is a school that anybody, no matter where they live in Turlock, can come to. Parents just have to add their child to the lottery,” she explained. “We often get a lot of neighborhood kids because they see the school and know about the school, but it would be great for everybody to be able to know about this opportunity for kids… Whether it’s arts or math and science, kids can really find a place where they can just excel.”