Kindergartners at Bozeman’s Hawthorne School had fun Thursday daubing paint to decorate a big wooden table that’s to be auctioned off in the school’s annual arts celebration and fundraiser.

“Dauby, dauby, dauby,” the children sang out as they sponged brown paint onto folk-art style stencils.

“I love art,” said 6-year-old Macrae Engler. “It’s my favorite thing in the world.”

Lily Evje, 6, said she likes art “because it’s creative.”

Students, parents and teachers at both Hawthorne and Longfellow schools have been busy for weeks making masterpieces to sell at the schools’ annual arts celebrations.

Each event typically raises $25,000 to $30,000 or more, money that will pay for arts, music and drama programs next school year.

Longfellow School’s event is from 5 to 8 p.m. today, starting with a dads’ barbecue. Children will sing, dance and play instruments, and there will be live and silent art auctions.

Nancy Planalp, Longfellow School secretary, said among the 50 live auction items are “three fabulous floor lamps” of silk batik. Longfellow has been holding the arts celebrations and fundraisers since 1996.

Hawthorne School’s 23rd annual Celebration of Children and the Arts will be one week later on May 16 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public, said parent Kim Sacry, event chair.

Hawthorne has won awards for incorporating the arts into its whole curriculum. A flier sent home to Hawthorne parents explained that the arts are important because they help prepare children to be successful in a global society by fostering “critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.”

Sacry said the event usually raises $25,000 to pay for art supplies and visiting resident artists, but this year’s goal is $30,000. The school plans a slightly different approach next school year, with 10 weeks of visual arts, 10 weeks of performing arts and 10 weeks of technology arts, including photography, graphic design and iMovie. In the past the school has brought in the Missoula Children’s Theater and Montana Shakes.

Hawthorne’s celebration next week will include showing films from the Martha’s Vineyard Children’s Film Festival, a photo booth and, weather permitting, inflated bounce houses. Bozeman High School’s Art Club students will run activities for kids.

Among the special items to be auctioned, Sacry said, are a doghouse, antique bench and large saw blades decorated by students with scenes from Yellowstone Park.

For the live auction, Hawthorne kindergarten teacher Anne Thoreson’s class has decorated two Adirondack chairs, one with whimsical designs and another with a mountain scene done in Monet’s Impressionist style.

The chairs have been a hit for 15 years, sometimes sparking bidding wars, which can push prices to nearly $1,000. Thoreson said some parents are able and willing to spend that much because they feel strongly about supporting the arts programs.

Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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