NJ State Teen Arts Festival


NJ Education Association
Discover Jersey Arts
NJ State Council on the Arts
Ocean County College
New Jersey Resources
Arts & Education Center
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
Ocean County Culture and Heritage


The New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival is held each year and offers an opportunity for young artists across the state of New Jersey to receive invaluable feedback and instruction from professionals in the creative and performing arts.  For over 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 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.


Stay tuned for 2019 dates!  Check out the NJ State Teen Arts Festival website for more details!

Festival Highlights:

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:

• Student Exhibits & Performances
• Student Critiques
(see “The Impact” section below)
• Student Workshops
• Professional Development
Workshops for Arts Teachers
• Arts Scholarships
• A Literary Cafe
• Professional Artist
Performances & Demonstrations
• A College Fair with Representatives from Colleges and Universities Offering Arts Degrees

Student Exhibits & Performances:

Following is a brief description of each of these major components:

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.

Student Workshops:

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.


Career Development: Practical workshops offering advice and guidance to students interested in pursuing a professional career in the arts.


Student Master Classes: Workshops which offer in depth arts training in a student’s chosen field.


Artistic Enhancement: A wide range of hands-on experiences in a variety of art forms providing students an opportunity to explore and learn about art forms they may not be familiar with.

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.

Art Scholarships:

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.

College Fair:

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 mic 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.