COLUMBIA — Friday night in front of the Columbia Art League was part live art show, part dance party and part jam session.
As part of the first Artrageous Weekend, a group of upper-level Rock Bridge High School art students painted on large cardboard canvases while a group of drummers performed.
To make the night even more interesting, the students switched canvases whenever Sharyn Hyatt-Wade, the advanced placement and studio art teacher at Rock Bridge, blew her whistle.
"The Art League presented us with the opportunity to paint, and Mrs. Hyatt came up with the rest," Emilie Lewis, an AP art student, said. "We wanted to bring our classroom out here to share with everyone else."
Leslie Neu, a junior at Rock Bridge, showed up to the event ready to paint in a Batman costume. She chose a canvas with Mona Lisa drawn onto it and a hole cut out where the face would have been.
"I was given markers, and I have the Mona Lisa and I have no idea what's going to happen," Neu said as she began to draw.
Hyatt-Wade walked around, encouraging students to dance. "Shake it," she yelled as she started dancing along to the rhythm. She blew her whistle and students scrambled around to find another canvas to work on. "Switch! Switch!" she yelled over the sound of the drums. One girl began using a straw to blow paint onto her canvas.
Normally a Friday night event, these Artrageous festivities will last all weekend with events taking place throughout downtown Columbia.
Four drummers turned into nine, banging on bongos, symbols, drumsticks, a bass drum, even the sidewalk. Soon after the event started, a large crowd was gathered on the sidewalk watching the students at work.
Hyatt-Wade danced around with her students and admired their work. As soon as a painting started to take shape, the whistle would blow and the next student artist would take the canvas in a new direction.
Hyatt-Wade blew her whistle three times in a row and her students stopped painting and began dancing to the beat. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
"Rock Bridge never does anything halfway," Hyatt-Wade said. Then she blew her whistle again. "Switch!"