PJ art students earn school-record 63 selections at Sussex County Teen Arts


Director of Communications

Pope John XXIII Regional High School



Pope John XXIII Regional High School’s art students have made school history once again at the 2019 Sussex County Teen Arts Festival at Sussex County Community College.

That’s because the students had over 60 visual artworks selected to represent Sussex County in six exhibits at the state and local levels for the second straight year after having 63 chosen this year. Last year, Pope John had 61 visual artworks selected.

“It’s amazing to see what they can accomplish,” said Pope John art teacher Susan Elvena, who has taught art at Pope John for 44 years and has had Pope John enter work at the Sussex County Teen Arts Festival since her first year at the school in 1976-77. “I’m so proud of the students.”

Among the 63 selected, five will be displayed at the New Jersey State Teen Arts Touring Exhibit and the State Teen Arts Festival Exhibit. The two exhibits will run from May 29-31 at Ocean County College in Toms River.

Leading the way were Pope John senior Sienna Klotz and sophomore Victoria Perez, whose artworks earned spots at both the State Teen Arts Touring Exhibit and Festival Exhibit. Klotz was selected for her ink artwork, “Fatsobananahandssausagefingers”, and Perez was picked for her colored pencil artwork, “Primary”.

Klotz and Perez couldn’t believe their work was selected for the two exhibits.

“It’s a big deal,” said Klotz, whose artwork is a drawing of a picture of her and her 7-year-old sister hanging out after school that was taken on an iPad. “I wasn’t expecting it all. When I saw the tag and it said I got chosen, I was so excited. I’m so happy.”

“It’s crazy,” said Perez, whose artwork is a tri-portrait that features the three primary colors — red, yellow and blue — and a butterfly in each portrait while following a sequence. “I’ve put so much heart and energy into my art. To be in this position where my artwork will be shown at the state level shows that my hard work has paid off. It means a lot.”

Along with Klotz and Perez, senior Michael Arnone’s photography artwork, “Hooked”, and Angelique Hein-Santore’s computer imaging, “Dan”, were selected for the State Teen Arts Festival Exhibit. Klotz had a second artwork chosen for the state festival exhibit as well, as her pencil work “Tea” was picked.

Following the state selections, Pope John had 56 pieces of artwork that will be shown in places throughout Sussex County.

Eight students’ work will be on display at the Newton Judicial Center as part of the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council Gallery Exhibit. Arnone’s photography, “Hooked”; junior James Setlock’s white charcoal, “Carved in Stone”; junior Tim Spatola’s white charcoal, “Made to Run”; junior Guadalupe Spencer’s ink, “Gemini”; sophomore Sofia Kozimor’s photography, “Sisters”; sophomore Amanda Scanlan’s white charcoal, “Jeanie’s Owls”; sophomore Devin Sellinger’s ink, “The hair alone took more than 6 hours”; and sophomore Thomas Todaro’s CAD, “Diving Helmet” were selected for this exhibit.

Seven Pope John pieces will be displayed in The Encore Gallery at Newton Theater. The seven pieces are Klotz’s oil, “This painting of fish got me my apprenticeship”; senior Victoria Cooper’s mixed media, “Home Shoe Home”; senior Ashley Mahon’s ink, “My Spirit Animal”; senior Kenna Squier’s pencil, “The Importance of Water”; junior Grace Pinsonault’s ink, “Lake Hopatcong”; junior Ciera Smith’s ink, “Hopthamology”; and Sellinger’s ink wash, “Sofia”.

Eight Pope John selections will be showcased in The Select Exhibit for the PAC at Sussex County Community College. Klotz’s two works, “Tea” (pencil) and “Jason” (oil); Cooper’s pencil, “It’s all good in the hood”; Hein-Santore’s computer imaging, “Dan”; Perez’s colored pencil, “Primary”; Spatola’s ink wash, “Bedford Falls”; junior Valeria Hernandez’s ink, “Giraffe”; and Sellinger’s ink wash, “Sofia”, will be featured in this exhibit.

Twenty-one Pope John works of art will be in The Select Exhibit at SCCC. Squier’s three works, “The Importance of Water” (pencil), “Finger Food” (oil pastel) and “Flower Shoes” (mixed media); Klotz’s ink, “Fatsobananahandssausagefingers”, and oil, “This painting of fish got me my apprenticeship”; Mahon’s ink, “My Spirit Animal”, and pencil, “Selfie #7,000,000”; Pinsonault’s mixed media, “The Dumplings”, and ink, “Lake Hopatcong”; junior Doreen Riso’s ink, “Italian Breakfast”, and sharpie, “Mendhi Art”; Cooper’s mixed media, “Home Shoe Home”; senior Selah Cronin’s gouache, “Fowl Play”; senior Felcia Kurisch’s oil, “Don’t worry, it’s virgin”; senior Sarah Lawrence’s oil, “Brunch”; senior William Somma’s pencil, “Lens-mon”;­ Hernandez’s acrylic, “King of the Jungle”; Smith’s ink, “Hopthamology”; junior Amanda Perri’s oil, “Stripes”; sophomore Mya Randall’s ink, “Quack”; and sophomore Chloe Scharf’s ink, “Stepping Stones”, will be shown in this exhibit.

Nine Pope John works of art will be shown at the Art Gallery at Bristol Glen in Newton. The nine artworks are Riso’s ink, “Italian Breakfast” and sharpie, “Mendhi Art”, Cooper’s pencil, “It’s all good in the hood”, Mahon’s pencil, “Selfie #7,000,000”, Hernandez’s ink, “Giraffe,” Pinsonault’s mixed media, “The Dumplings”, Spencer’s ink, “Gemini”, Randall’s ink, “Quack”, and Scharf’s ink, “Stepping Stones”.

In addition to the exhibits, three other artworks — Klotz’s ink, “Fatsobananahandssausagefingers”, Perez’s colored pencil, “Primary”, and Riso’s ink, “Italian Breakfast” — will be used in the reproduction in Idiom and Image Magazine of SCCC.

Pope John’s students attribute much of their success to the long tradition of the school’s fine arts program and to the guidance of Elvena, who serves as the department chair of the program.

“Mrs. Elvena and the Pope John art department is amazing,” Klotz said. “We create many artworks through so many different mediums and the tools are here for you to succeed. Mrs. Elvena helps you see any mistakes and correct them so you can grow as an artist.”

“She is the most amazing art teacher I have ever had,” Perez said. “She has worked with my strengths and taught me some things along the way. She has not only helped me succeed, but she has also helped so many other students. She is so supportive and just wants the best for everyone.”

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