PJ art students earn school-record 61 selections at Sussex County Teen Arts

For pictures of our students' selected artworks, visit our Facebook page here!

Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School

SPARTA — Susan Elvena summed up Pope John XXIII Regional High School’s showing of its visual artworks at the 2018 Sussex County Teen Arts Festival recently in three words.

“Amazing,” the experienced Pope John art teacher said. “Simply amazing.”

That’s because Pope John made school history in the event at Sussex County Community College in Newton, as it had 61 selections to represent Sussex County in six exhibits at the state and local levels.

“We’ve had 48 one time, we’ve had 46, but never 61,” said Elvena, who has taught art at Pope John for many years. “I’m so proud of the students.”

Among the 61 selected, seven of them 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 30-June 1 at Ocean County College in Toms River.

Leading the way was Pope John senior Anne Ilardi’s pen and ink artwork, “Red Sky at Night,” which earned a spot in both the State Teen Arts Touring Exhibit and Festival Exhibit. Ilardi still couldn’t believe her artwork, which features three of her family members catching fish over the summer, was selected for the two exhibits.

“It’s really exciting,” Ilardi said. “To say that my artwork was selected to exhibits that mean something is really cool.”

Along with Ilardi, junior Liam Dermody, junior Sienna Klotz, senior Meghan Mundt, sophomore James Frankie Setlock and senior Alyssa Talon each had artwork selected for the State Teen Arts Festival Exhibit. Dermody’s watercolor “Cosmos-Cabin”, Klotz’s watercolor “Where are all the Giraffes?”, Mundt’s white charcoal “Supermodel Sunnies” and mixed media, "11", Talon’s white charcoal “Japanese Lights”, and Setlock’s charcoal “Tree Frog + Flowers” were chosen for the state festival.

Following the state selections, Pope John had 53 selections that will be shown in places in Sussex County.

There will be seven students’ work on display at the Newton Judicial Center as part of the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council Gallery Exhibit. Senior Hope Fitzpatrick’s pen and ink, “Tim + Po”, senior Katherine Janov’s sharpie, “Wild Things”, Klotz’s acrylic, “Raizes”, junior Ashley Mahon’s pen and ink, “Point of View”, senior Chris Quaranta’s pen and ink, “1960”, freshman Mya Randall’s acrylic, “A Bunch of Cherries”, and senior Emma Valiante’s white charcoal “The Astronaut” were selected for this exhibit.

Six Pope John pieces will be displayed in The Encore Gallery at Newton Theater. The six pieces are Mundt’s white charcoal, “Supermodel Sunnies”, and pencil, “Self-Portrait”, Setlock’s charcoal “Tree Frog + Flowers”, Talon’s pen and ink, “After the Storm”, senior Margaret Butler's computer illustration, "A Wayward City Night", and junior Angelique Santore’s computer illustration, “Interpretation” were the pieces selected for the gallery.

Ten Pope John selections will be showcased in The Select Exhibit for the PAC at Sussex County Community College. Klotz’s watercolor, “Where are all the Giraffes?”, and ink wash, “Troll Baby”, Mundt’s white charcoal, “Supermodel Sunnies”, mixed media, "11", and pen and ink “Summer Sunday”, Dermody’s watercolor “Cosmos-Cabin”, Setlock’s pastel “Hills of Purple Flowers”, Talon’s pen and ink, “After the Storm”, freshman Victoria Perez’s pencil “1956”, and senior Jessica Whittam’s mixed “Rocky Mountain High” will be featured in this exhibit.

Seventeen Pope John works of art will be in The Select Exhibit at SCCC. Senior Xiangyu Sean Gao’s three works, “Lips” (mixed media), “Water Butterfly” (ink) and “Water Crown” (ink), Klotz’s acrylic, “Raizes”, and pen and ink, “Broadway Playhouse”, junior Victoria Cooper’s mixed media, “Eyewitness”, and watercolor, “Spring Lake”, senior Katelyn O’Connor’s pen and ink, “Face Down”, and mixed media, “24 Characters”, Ilardi’s oil “Why did the car cross the bridge?”, Dermody’s watercolor “Cosmos-Cabin”, Mundt’s pencil, “Self-Portrait”, Butler’s computer illustration, “A Wayward City Night”, senior Patrick Hanley’s pen and ink, “The Wannabe”, Lauren Massarella’s ink, “Hand Written”, junior Kenna Squier’s watercolor, “Summer 16”, and senior Jessica Whittam’s oil, “Life’s a Birch”, will represent Pope John.

In addition to the exhibits, 10 Pope John selections will represent Teen Arts in print and promotion, and three others will be used in the reproduction in Idiom and Image Magazine of SCCC.

The 10 that will be used in print and promotion are: Sean Gao’s mixed media, “Lips”, and ink, “Water Butterfly”, Hanley’s pen and ink, “The Wannabe”, Klotz’s watercolor, “Where are all the Giraffes?”, Janov’s sharpie, “Wild Things”, Mundt’s mixed media, "11", and white charcoal, “Supermodel Sunnies”, Dermody’s watercolor “Cosmos-Cabin”, Squier’s watercolor, “Summer 16”, and Talon’s pen and ink, “After the storm”.

The three that will be used in Idiom and Image Magazine of SCCC are Klotz’s watercolor, “Where are all the Giraffes?”, Setlock’s charcoal “Tree Frog + Flowers”, and Talon’s white charcoal, “Japanese Lights”.

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.

“A lot of people know that Pope John always sends great artwork,” Ilardi said. “I was standing a few feet away from people who were at Teen Arts and they said, ‘Wow! That’s really good!’ to a lot of our works. But, it all comes back to Mrs. Elvena. We have learned so much from her and a lot of us have grown so much as artists.”

While the students have to get ready to show these selections at all of these exhibits, Elvena is just thrilled that there will be a Pope John flavor to all of these galleries.

“To be able to show off our work at all these places is great,” Elvena said. “The kids are excited and we look forward to seeing what people think of our students’ pieces, our program and our school.”

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