Many teenagers daydream about singing or dancing on a stage before a live audience. That dream becomes a reality for a group of talented Union County middle and high school students on Tuesday, May 3rd at 7 p.m. when they perform at the Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving Street, in Rahway’s downtown arts district.
 
Jazz combos, vocal groups, pianists, dancers and theater performances were selected for the special May 3rd Teen Arts Showcase from among the 4,000 students who participated in March at the 2011 Teen Arts Festival at Union County College in Cranford. An exhibit of students’ visual artwork from the Teen Arts Festival also will be on display in the reception area at the Performing Arts Center.
 
The annual Teen Arts Festival is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and coordinated by the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the Department of Parks and Community Renewal.
 
“The Union County Teen Arts Festival is a wonderful opportunity for students to interact with professional artists while sharing their own talents with students from other schools," said Freeholder Chairman Deborah P. Scanlon. “Students appearing in the Showcase on May 3rd represent all arts disciplines and the municipalities that participated in the 2011 Festival.”
 
The Union County Teen Arts Festival is an annual two-day celebration of the arts where students and a staff of 50 professional artists participate in performances, critiquing seminars, master classes and workshops in every discipline – visual arts, music, creative writing, theater, media arts and dance. The Festival’s focus is not on competition. It is an opportunity for students to develop perceptual, intellectual and technical skills; gain cultural awareness and understanding; develop personal, aesthetic values; and learn self-discipline, critical thinking and problem solving through analyzing, interpreting and making judgments.
           
The historic Union County Performing Arts Center, formerly known as the Rahway Theatre, opened in 1928 as a classic vaudeville/movie showplace. In 1984, the theatre was saved by a dedicated group of volunteers and it became the Union County Arts Center in 1985. The theatre, which features live performances year-round, seats more than 1,300 people.  
 
The Teen Arts Showcase is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Performing Arts Center. Teachers, fellow students, friends and family members of participating students are invited to attend the Showcase on May 3rd along with the general public. Admission is free.
 
For more information about the Teen Arts Showcase, please contact the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202. Telephone: 908-558-2550. NJ Relay Users dial 711.  Or email: Culturalinfo@ucnj.org.