Celebration Of the Arts in Garland

On Saturday, March 4 there was a buzz of excitement at Springcreek Church at Beltline and Shiloh in Garland. The Achievement Center of Texas was producing and celebrating its 5th annual performance and visual arts festival. This event is supported by local artists and organizations, but the stars of the show are the students of ACT.  The festival is a labor of love for Marilynne Serie, now retired executive director of ACT for more than 30 years. This lady once told us, “ I don’t see disabilities, only possibilities”.

There were art exhibits, activity tables and ongoing onstage  performances.  Several community groups were represented, including Altrusa International, offering free children’s books for future readers of Garland. Their FROG project includes the creation and maintenance of waiting room libraries and tutoring reading in GISD elementary schools.

John Bramblitt, a shining star in the international art world, was there to display his art and teach visitors how to create pieces of art while blindfolded, giving them a glimpse into his world. It’s our honor to know this extraordinary man and to follow his amazing career over the past several years. John’s classes teach blindfolded students how to feel the difference between different colors of paint.  His guide dog, Echo, rests on the floor by his side. John has traveled the world with Echo, who is now a member of the Service Dog Hall of  Fame.  This gifted man is definitely the star of the visual arts portion of the Special Arts Festival.

ACT students performed professionally choreographed dance routines and vocal renditions of pop musical numbers. Vocals were very well done and filled the room throughout the five hour event. Members of Rock Ink, a tattoo art enterprise, displayed their work on paper and sketched portraits of visitors. Their leader, Lucas Cervellini, who is also a muralist and 3D artist, surprised the audience with a very well received vocal performance.


The event venue was filled with happy hearts and smiling faces as the ACT students took the stage to perform their grand finale with their rousing version of “We Are the World”. This annual event is a celebration of all that is right with our often dark and confusing world.


Nancy Ghirla

Email: nghirla331@gmail.com