Students visit Bergen Community College to celebrate teen arts festival


This is the official cover selection for the activities booklet handed out at the 2019 Teen Arts Festival. Ever year, students submit designs and compete for their art to be displayed on the front page of the handout

by Isis Kirkland and Abby Stern

The usual field trip is characterized by a yellow bus, teacher chaperones, and attending partially interesting (but mostly boring) presentations and workshops.  The stark contrast of this scene is Teen Arts. The Teen Arts festival has been around for 40 years, and offers kids a free creative space where they can dance around the cafeteria, play piano in the middle of the hallway, or spend the whole day drawing.

Students are offered the opportunity to attend the yearly Teen Arts Festival, at Bergen Community College.  Students and faculty made the trip on May 17th once again, to celebrate and admire the art of both high schoolers and middle schoolers around Bergen County.

Students taking art classes are the first priority when handing out permission slips, as most of their art is submitted to be displayed at the festival. Students not taking art classes receive the last round of permission slips.

The festival prides itself on providing teens with a creative outlet to explore and express their imaginations in mediums such as poetry, dance, painting, music and theater, James J. Tedesco III said. There are 35 workshops and 190 performances that students can attend or participate in.

Seven students from Glen Rock’s Advanced Theatre Arts class performed the short play “Emotional Baggage” by Nina Shengold.  The play is about a group of abandoned bags in an airport, waiting to be picked up by their owners who have left them behind.  The scene was directed by senior Ethan McNamara.

“Watching my scene come to life at Teen Arts was a lot of fun.  Everybody did a phenomenal job and having such a competent group of actors really helped,” McNamara said.

The Chamber Choir also performed at the festival, presenting two songs, “Wade in the Water” and Torrents in Summer.  There was a professional in the audience who critiqued the choir, and the feedback they gave was positive. Junior Sofia Nolfo sang with the choir and described the experience as “so fun.”

“We get to sing songs we haven’t sung since the fall, which I love to do,” Nolfo said. “Getting critiqued is always so helpful, and I love hearing ways we can improve.”

The Jazz Band also presented four of their songs; Count Bubba’s Revenge, Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, Misty, and Oye Como Va.  The band’s drummer, sophomore Charlie Gaffney, said the experience was “pretty scary when you first start, but then it becomes fun and not as scary…by the end you’re having a really good time.”

Megan’s piece was also featured in the 2019 edition of Mobius

Aside from workshops and performances, there was an exhibit in the West Hall that showcased portraits, paintings, sculptures, and collages from students around Bergen County. From Glen Rock, junior Megan Mulholland had her painting displayed at the festival.  She was one of only seven students at Glen Rock to have her art selected.

“Ms. Cella thought that it turned out well,” Mulholland said. “I decided to render seven different objects instead of just one blown up, maybe that has something to do with it.”

Mulholland’s metallic piece is pictured in the top left corner

Mulholland made the piece during her Art Major II class. She found inspiration in her car keys and key ring. The metallic component of her keys caught her eye, and she had previously been interested in learning how to draw metals. The piece took Mulholland more than 12 hours to finish. She used charcoal pencils and grayscale pastels.

“Having my artwork on display was a privilege because it meant that it was a good piece, but at the same time it also means that you’re going to be compared to everyone else,” Mulholland said. “Overall it was awesome to look at the Glen Rock board and see one of my pieces.”