Teens celebrate arts


Photo Credit: Ethan Waller

A group of students performing a dance at the 2016 Teen Arts Festival to the beat of traditional drums.

by Ryan Morley, Staff Writer

Middle and high school students from Glen Rock, and other schools across the county, have returned to Bergen Community College for the 41st annual Teen Arts Festival on Friday, May 20.

The festival will continue the tradition of celebrating the arts as a universal language that provides means of self-expression. In past years, over 3,800 high school students have gathered at the college, and this year the festival will host over 30 workshops, 120 performances, and again over 3,800 students.

According to Cynthia Foster, the Director of the Bergen Bounty Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, the goal of her division and the Teen Arts Advisory Board is to strengthen the creative ability of young people and increase their access to the arts. She hopes the festival will show teens that artistic endeavors can become adult occupations. Foster also wants to widen the opportunity teens and all residents of Bergen County have to take in the arts.

Ethan Waller, a sophomore at Glen Rock who has taken sculpture, photo, drawing, and painting classes in his two years of high school, says that last year at the festival he “really enjoyed the performances that go on.”

Waller explained, “A lot of students went on stage to preform poetry, songs, or in their rock bands. It’s a really fun time and people enjoy watching it.”

The festival this year has been organized by the Bergen County Departments of Parks, the Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs, Bergen Community College, and several of the attending schools Bergen County schools. Funding for the non-profit festival this year is partly funded by a grant from the state as part of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bergen County Executive Mr. James J. Tedesco III recently in a public letter that “So many accomplished artists have called Bergen County home and this festival provides a forum for the next generation of local artists to receive recognition for their work while also inspiring future creative accomplishments.”