CHS students sweep awards at Monmouth County Teen Arts

Junior Claire Cooperman of Bradley Beach participates in 2023 New Jersey Teen Arts Festival.


Junior Claire Cooperman of Bradley Beach participates in 2023 New Jersey Teen Arts Festival.

Students from Communications High School joined other collaborating New Jersey high schools at the 2023 New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival, a highly anticipated statewide celebration of the arts. The annual three-day event was sponsored by the non-profit organization Teen Arts NJ.

This year’s festival saw an impressive showcase of talent across various categories including creative writing, filmmaking, visual arts, dance, instrumental performances and musical theater.

Teen Arts NJ aims to motivate and inspire New Jersey artists, educators and arts advocates to “showcase their creative efforts” in the literary, performing and visual arts. Its festival serves as a platform for young artists to exhibit their skills and creativity, while also receiving feedback from industry professionals through critiques and masterclasses held at the event.

Senior Maddie Lee of Red Bank expressed her experience and feelings regarding the festival. “Teen Arts is great. It’s very fun to see people from other schools and see their work,” Lee said. “The critique is the most important part about it.”

Although Lee did not attend any masterclasses, she did have two critiques, which she believes is the most valuable part of the experience.

Lee described the ingenuity behind her 16 by 20 inch oil painting, which was selected by CHS’s AP Art teacher, Mrs. Ortner.

“[It] is depicting voices inside your head, a common issue teenagers these days struggle with,” Lee said.

Lee wasn’t the only CHS representative to bring home an award. Junior Avery Decker of Monmouth Beach received a prize in the Illustration and Design category. Her work took a unique approach to a very personal composition.

Decker explained the inspiration and mechanics behind her award winning composition.

“My piece was a self portrait,” Decker said. “I used many mediums to get my message across: people perceive me in different ways.”

Both Decker and Lee skillfully portrayed deeper meaning through their artwork and were commended for their creativity.

The event unfolded with an opening ceremony with artwork on display, catering from Chick-fil-a and musical performances

All New Jersey students have the opportunity to enroll in the next Teen Arts Festival, with their school being registered with the organization and an art teacher’s referral.

Lee provided advice for any future student interested in the event and additionally furthering their art career.

“I would say you should definitely start making things that are done in your own style, and things that are going to be different,” Lee said. “That’s what will make your work stand out.”