Sussex County Teen Arts held its first in-person arts festival since 2019 for area students at Sussex County Community College campus.
Students in grades 7 through 12 from schools throughout Sussex County celebrated a day of sharing original poetry, creative writing, dance, instrumental music, theater, filmmaking, visual art, and vocal music at the 53rd Annual Sussex County Teen Arts Festival on Tuesday, March 15 at the Newton campus of Sussex County Community College.
The arts are crucial to education. Since its inception in 1969, the Sussex County Teen Arts Festival has encouraged middle school and high school students to explore their potential and fine-tune their talents in the fine, literary, and performing arts. At the 2022 festival, 500 pieces of original student artwork were displayed, and 82 live performances were critiqued.
Student 2D and 3D visual art, including the new categories of architecture design, graphic design, and product design were on display to the public through April 15th in the A Gallery and C Gallery at SCCC’s PAC Building Atrium and C Building Art Gallery. New for 2022, selected student fine art, digital art, and photography are being showcased online at the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council’s virtual gallery at https://www.scahc.org/Teen-Arts-Selections-for-the-SCA&HC-Gallery.
The 2022 festival is an exciting and important event for arts education because for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, arts students were able to return to the SCCC campus. More than 1,000 students and teachers attended the event in-person to take hands-on classes with professional working artists or have live performances adjudicated and selected to represent Sussex County at the NJ State Teen Arts Festival, June 1-2.
The Teen Arts Festival critique process is open to students in Sussex County who pre-registered for the event. Registered schools included: Franklin Elementary School, Frankford Twp. School, High Point HS, Hopatcong HS, Lenape Valley RHS, Newton HS, Pope John XXIII High School, Pope John XXIII Middle School, Sparta HS, Sussex Christian School, Sussex Middle School, Sussex County Technical School, and Wallkill Valley RHS.
The return of the in-person festival further strengthens SCCC’s Teen Arts Festival as a leading arts education program. Students were offered opportunities to demonstrate their personal creative vision and to develop “tools of thought” with which to meaningfully contribute to today’s complex world.
The festival inspired and engaged students in every form of art: creative writing, filmmaking, poetry, music, theater, vocals, and visual art. Professional artists attending the festival critiqued live student performances plus taught hands-on workshops and arts demonstrations.
“During these challenging times, the arts and self-expression are more important than ever. Being able to share talents, thoughts and feelings in one’s own unique way in a safe, supportive community is priceless,” said Anita Collins, Sussex County Teen Arts Coordinator at SCCC. “This festival serves to inspire creativity across all forms of artistic expression and is an exciting day of hands-on engagement. We are always delighted by the depth of creative expression shown by our local teens in all the performing arts categories.”