On March 29, Rowan College of South Jersey’s (RCSJ) Arts & Innovation Center (AIC) hosted the Cumberland & Cape May Counties Teen Arts Festival. along with the Levoy Theatre, the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts (RRCA), and the Millville Glasstown Arts District.
The Teen Arts Festival included an assortment of innovative components intended to enhance the ability and careers of young artists from Cumberland and Cape May counties. Vineland, Millville, and Cape May County Technical were just a few of the high schools represented at this event.
“I think it’s a positive way for not only teens, but everybody to indulge their creative sides [and] express themselves,” said Jackie Sandro-Greenwell, director, Fine Arts and Clay College, RCSJ–Cumberland.
The budding artists had a chance to submit film, creative writing, and visual art projects that were judged by professional adjudicators. The adjudicated categories included art, dance, musical theater, 2D and 3D visual, plus more. The festival culminated with a Winners’ Ceremony on Wednesday, April 19 at the Levoy Theatre.
The students were able to participate in workshops such as Poetry with Found Objects at the RRCA, Broadway Jazz at the Levoy, and West African Dance at the American Legion. They also got an opportunity to view their fellow artists’ work on display at the AIC. According to Sandro-Greenwell, several of those pieces were selected to be placed in a state-wide art exhibit.
“I really liked seeing all the different types of people walking around, seeing all the different styles, watching some performances,” said Kenadie Hanagan, a 15-year-old student from Cape May County Technical High School. “There are some really good artists and singers.”
“My favorite part is … just being around a bunch of like-minded individuals,” said Tana Moran, a 17-year-old senior at Cape May Tech. Moran, who is experiencing progressive hearing loss, created artwork to shine a light on the underrepresentation of deaf culture in our society.
“I feel like when you’re from a small town, you don’t really have a bunch of people [who] have and share a common interest,” she said. “But being here, I’ve really been able to … see a bunch of people who are just like me and are motivated and inspired by art, and truly want to do art, and be artists in the future.”
“When the kids come in and see their artwork hung and they have the extra bonus of being selected by the state, they’re just beaming and excited,” Sandro-Greenwell said. “Their teachers are proud, they’re proud. That gives them such confidence and [high] self-esteem. I think all of it is really great for the teens to experience. Go Humanities—because we need it.”