The New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival offers an opportunity for young artists in New Jersey to receive invaluable feedback and instruction from professionals in the creative and performing arts. For 40 years, the Festival has been the premiere arts event for high school and middle school students from throughout the state, bringing them together to explore artistic possibilities, share achievements in the arts, and investigate the diverse means of expression.
The state-level Festival is the grand finale and culminating event of 14 separate county-wide Teen Arts Festivals held in the following NJ counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Hudson, Monmouth, Morris, Salem/Gloucester (joint festival), Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. The very best students from these individual county festivals will be invited to have their work showcased at the state level.
The Festival features many innovative components all designed to enhance the ability and careers of NJ Young Artists and to promote the importance of arts education in our schools. Students and arts teachers participating in the State Festival will be offered:
Following is a brief description of each of these major components:
Student Exhibits & Performances
The Festival will feature student visual art exhibits (2-D, 3-D & photography) and student performances in dance, theatre (large and small groups), musical theatre, vocal choral music, solo & small ensemble vocal performances, large & small instrumental performances, solo performances on guitar & piano, samples of creative writing & student-produced videos.
The artwork will be on display during the entire three-day festival. Student performances will be scheduled at various times for each of the individual artists and student groups selected for inclusion at the State Festival at each of the 14 county-wide festivals. The work will represent the very best of New Jersey teen artists.
The New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival is not a competition. Performances will not be compared or ranked in any way. Instead, the focus will be on sharing achievements and learning. All student work at the Festival will be publicly critiqued by professional artist adjudicators, both verbally and in writing.
Students receive critiques of their work and often “sit-in” on the critiques of other emerging artists in their discipline, increasing their educational experience. The professional artist/adjudicators at the Festival will provide in-depth critical reviews and analysis of the students’ works, performances and group presentations — a process that all students report to be most beneficial to their growth as artists.
Because of the importance of the critique to the success of the Festival, all Festival adjudicators will receive training in assessing student performances.
Top teaching artists from around the state come to adjudicate, as well as to teach workshops and master classes in their individual specialties, including drama, filmmaking, voice, acting, instrumental music, creative writing and more. Over 60 different workshops and classes will be offered each day of the Festival.
The workshops and master classes help students develop perceptual, intellectual and technical skills; gain cultural awareness and understanding of various art forms; and develop personal aesthetic values. All New Jersey students attending the Festival may participate in these workshops and classes.
Student Workshops will focus on three areas:
Professional Development Workshops for Arts Teachers
These workshops will be led by nationally recognized arts educators in various fields. They will focus on best practices in developing the artistic talent of teenagers.
These awards and scholarships are for high school juniors and seniors. Nine students, one from each of the following art forms: acting, dance, instrumental music, vocal music, visual arts, sculpture, photography, filmmaking, and creative writing will be selected to receive a “Recognition of Extraordinary Artistic Ability.” Each of these students will also receive a $1,500 scholarship to the college of their choice.
Representatives from colleges and universities that have majors in creative or performing arts will have information booths at the State Festival. Students will be free to review their materials and question the education institutions about their programs and scholarship opportunities.
The Literary Café
The Literary Café will feature free refreshments to students and an open mike where creative writing students can read their work and meet with other writers. Professional writers will be on hand to adjudicate the students’ work and discuss career opportunities in creative writing.
Professional Artist Performances & Demonstrations
At various locations throughout the campus, professional artists and art groups will be performing and/or demonstrating their work. These performances will expose high students to cutting-edge professional art works and foster a festive and creative environment.
Opening Night Reception
The opening night cocktail reception will be the official opening of the New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival. Over 500 individual student works from throughout the state will be on display and invited student groups will be performing. The reception will feature a prominent guest-of-honor, national and local political representatives, educators, artists and celebrities.
2010 saw the end of the former highlight of arts education in NJ with 16 counties competing and over 18,000 of the best high school children studying the arts attending. The festival returned in 2016 and is growing each year!
Tim Hart, Ocean County Director of Culture and Heritage brought the program to Jeremy Grunin, the Foundation’s Executive Director. Jeremy immediately saw the potential of reviving the NJ Teen Arts Festival in Toms River at Ocean County College. The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation met with Executive Director Tony Petito after Arts and Education completed their CCAT with remarkable speed and success. An immediate partnership was formed and quickly thereafter Ocean County College agreed to become the permanent home of the NJ State Teen Arts Festival.
The 2018 NJ State Teen Arts Festival will be held on May 30, May 31 and June 1, 2018. Check out the NJ State Teen Arts Festival website for more details.