Celebrating the Artistic Talents of the Student Community with Over 800 In Attendance on Campus

County College of Morris (CCM) returned to its longstanding tradition of hosting the Morris County Teen Arts Festival, live and in-person, on Friday, May 13. The annual festival recognizes the work of outstanding young student artists and highlights the educators who encourage their creative spirits in the classroom.

The event, sponsored by the Morris Area Arts Council, brought to campus over 800 middle- and high-school student artists and musicians from the public and private schools of Morris County, as well as homeschooled students. The theme, “Arts for Change,” asked students and teachers alike to consider the important interconnections between art and community and the power of art to foster communication and positive social change.

“The energy on campus was fantastic with students engaged in workshops, singing, dancing, creating art on the pathways, collaborating to solve the scavenger hunt, and just enjoying a day of celebration,” said Dr. Karen Danna, professor of Sociology and co-chair of the CCM Teen Arts Committee. “It was great to see.”

Visiting Artist Erik James Montgomery

Visiting Artist Erik James Montgomery

Visiting Artist Erik James Montgomery, a New Jersey-based photographer and community artist and activist, welcomed the attendees with a motivating talk, “I, Image, Imagination – How to Become the Artist You Were Created to Be.” Montgomery shared life lessons from his personal and artistic journey while incorporating photography to articulate his message. The Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center Art Gallery featured his interactive photography exhibition plus a digital exhibition of submitted artwork and film. Students also had the opportunity to have headshots taken by the pro.

Throughout the day, CCM faculty and student volunteers led engaging classes and workshops from comic book art to virtual reality, chalk drawing to creating in the skies with drones, tips on auditioning to stage combat to interactive improvisational theatre, yoga techniques to engaging environmental sculpture – there was something for everyone to explore at this year’s festival.

Representatives from CCM’s student government, clubs and organizations connected with and guided participants to other hands-on experiences within the 222-acre rolling hills campus. The marked pathways encouraged all to explore wishing trees, a hands-on animation station, an interactive post-it note collaboration, a poetry pharmacy, an open mic coffee house, scavenger hunt, chalk art, lawn games and more. Students also utilized the college’s state-of-the-art performing spaces to showcase instrumental, vocal, musical theatre/dramatic theatre and dance accomplishments from the school year. CCM students from the Hospitality Management & Culinary Arts department provided food truck offerings and sample tastings for all to enjoy.