The Arlington Heights Memorial Library was anything but a quiet place on Thursday night.
More than 800 people poured into the library for a student art show -- nearly 100 more than last year -- produced by art teachers within the nine schools in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25.
Add in the jazz ensemble from South Middle School, who performed during the opening reception, and it was a happening place.
"The library is the center of the community," said Mike Driskell, interim executive director. "This is a great place for the community to gather and celebrate art education."
This is the 26th year library officials hosted the District 25 art show.
Library officials said it is the longest running community partnership in the library, and it continues to build each year.
Nearly 400 students saw their works showcased Thursday, and the art show will remain on display throughout May in the library. Their media included collages, sketches, sculpture, papier-mache and textile art, as well as digital designs and collaborative works.
Each student received a certificate for their outstanding work from the library, and many posed with their award in front of their piece. One of those was 7-year old Harper Giersch, a second grader at Westgate Elementary School, who stood next to her pencil drawing of Celeste, the title character in the book, "A Nest for Celeste."
"I was excited that my art work was selected," Harper said. "I love to draw. Sometimes when I finish my homework, I just start drawing."
Another young artist, fifth grader Campbell Hoffman, said his art teacher at Olive Mary Stitt School allowed students to create any image they wanted. He chose his favorite animals -- sharks and dogs -- and combined them with his favorite food, pizza, in a whimsical pastel drawing.
"It's awesome that this many people get to see my art work," Campbell said.
"It's actually my second award. One of my drawings was exhibited by the park district. It makes me feel like maybe some day I could be an artist."
Those who attended included library and school board members as well as village officials -- but they blended in with the hundreds of families who took in the wide variety of work, as well as the jazz entertainment and free cupcakes.
One of the officials on hand was District 25 Superintendent Lori Bein, who said the district is committed to art education as part of a well-rounded education.
"Art is as important as any other subject our kids study," Bein said. "It teaches creativity, perspective, planning and replanning, the ability to start something and then start again. It's life skills and working together.
"We think it's as important as any core subject," Bein said, "and will never be cut."