SPARTA, NJ - Sparta High School art students had their talents recognized at the 2021 Virtual Sussex County Teen Arts Festival. The juried festival presented student artists from around the county with winners earning the opportunity to have their pieces displayed in other virtual venues as well as going on to compete against artists from across the state.

“I’m so excited to show off how hard the students have been working, even during such hard times, their talents are shining,” photography teacher Christy Graham said.

Sparta High School was represented in fine and performing arts including dance, vocal and instrumental, photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media.

“We’re so proud of our students and all they have accomplished during this challenging time,” sculpture and ceramics teacher Kristin Lindsley said. “In this new way of learning, each day presented challenges between picking up supplies at school, working on art projects at home, returning projects back to the classroom for grading and to be fired in the kiln, etc. The students have taken on a whole new approach to their art classes, the responsibilities that come with it, and have been successful.”

Fine Arts 

  • Arthur Harner’s photograph “Eye Candy” earned SCAHC Virtual Exhibit
  • Kaitlyn Cioc’s photograph “Serenity” earned an exhibition on Teen Arts website gallery, SCAHC Select Virtual Exhibit, Teen Arts Publication
  • Kimberley Bellamy’s “Reflecting on the Past” earned an exhibition in New Jersey Teen Arts Festival and Virtual SCAHC Select
  • Marguerite Bysshe’s “Skateboarding at Dusk” earned an exhibition in New Jersey Teen Arts Festival and on Teen Arts website gallery and SCAHC Select Exhibit
  • Brooke Fastnacht’s “Inner Demons” earned a virtual exhibition at SCAHC
  • Valerie Gavioli’s “Floating Forest” earned exhibition on Teen Arts website gallery and Teen Arts publication
  • Taige Kellenberger’s “The Lies We Tell Ourselves” earned an exhibition at New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival and on the Teen Arts website gallery and Teen Arts publication
  • Emily Condit’s “Splash” earned an exhibition at the New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival and SCAHC Select virtual exhibit
  • Emma Cilli’s “Waiting for the Story to Change” earned an exhibition at the New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival, SCAHC Select virtual exhibit and earned her a Peter’s Valley scholarship
  • Talia Criso’s “Elephant Teapot” earned an exhibition at on the Teen Arts website gallery
  • Jolie Dottinger’s “Escape” earned an exhibition on the Teen Arts Publication
  • Samantha Pegher’s “Mahogany Cottage” earned an exhibition on the Teen Arts website gallery
  • Millen Duberry’s “Splat,” earned SCAHC Select virtual exhibition
  • McKeala Reekie’s “Lost in a Dream earned SCACH Select virtual exhibition
  • Chloe Clancy’s Childhood Nightmares” earned an exhibition at the State Teen Arts tour and the SCAHC Select virtual exhibition
  • Julia McEllen’s “Releasing Expectations” earned SCACH Select virtual exhibition
  • Rachel Young’s “The House Wife” earned SCAHC Select virtual exhibition and an exhibition on Teen Arts website gallery and Teen Arts publication
  • Luca Budofsky’s “The Haunted Maid” earned an exhibition at New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival and SCAHC Select virtual exhibition
  • Sarah Bargfrede’s “Holding On” earned exhibition at SCAHC Select virtual exhibit and Teen Arts website gallery,
  • Sarah McGovern’s “Hair” earned exhibition on Teen Arts website gallery
  • Lauren Reder’s “Portrait” earned exhibition in Teen Arts publication
  • Carissa Lambert’s “Prom Queen” earned an exhibition in SCACH Select virtual exhibit
  • Alena Picinic’s “Dancing Waters” earned an exhibition at New Jersey Teen Arts Festival

“This is such a challenging time for education, especially the arts programs,” sculpture and AP Studio Art teacher Jennifer Kucher-Csaltos said. “We have had to reinvent how we teach and communicate with students. We are so excited that our students received so much recognition through teen arts for their outstanding accomplishments. Their success is a direct result of their ability to adapt and find a way to express themselves, even through difficult times...and perhaps because of them.”

Performing Arts

In Dance, junior Irish Step dancer Kayleigh Simpson and senior tap dancer Jenna Blandina earned slots at the New Jersey State Teen Arts competition,

In Small Vocal, senior Olivia Canova, performing “Cry Me a River” and senior Emma McNamara performing “Alyssa Green,” earned a New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival.

In Small Instrumental sophomore Emily Harms and eighth grade Tyler Harms earned a New Jersey Teen Arts Festival Selection for “Piano Man Duet.”

"We are so proud of them," Sparta High School Orchestra teacher Loni Bach said of the brother and sister duo. Emily performs on cello and Tyler on piano.  They both played harmonica as well.

The New Jersey Teen Arts virtual festival will run from June 1 to 3.  The SCHAC Select Virtual exhibit is running through April.  The Teen Arts website digital gallery will be running until 2022. 

The 2021 Teen Arts Judges are Danny Campos, Lindsay Dunn, Kristin Flynn, Wendy Fullem, Dana Garrett, Debora Prudenti Gianuzzi, Don Hector, Lori Lawrence, Philip Lid, Dave Martin, Joanne Mazzeo, Mary Sutton and Don Zirilli.

Christine Mase, drawing, painting, photography and AP Studio Art teacher said, "These students have worked tirelessly at home a majority of the time and their success demonstrates their dedication and growth to their artistic expression. We as a team are proud not only as teachers guiding them, however as individuals, who have pushed themselves in a time where so much has been taken away from them. They embraced the assignments and have gone above and beyond, challenging their own skills during a really difficult time in education. Now that is something to be rewarded."

The Sussex County Teen Arts Festival is funded by New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council, Sussex County Community College, local school district and donations from individuals and businesses.

Get your local news delivered to your inbox for FREE each day.  Subscribe to TAPinto Newton or Sparta   or Like us on TAPinto Newton facebook and  TAPinto Sparta facebook