MILLBURN, NJ - Earlier this week, Millburn High School marked the start of Youth Art Month with a reception at the Education Center.
Youth Art Month is meant to celebrate the value of art education for all students and to encourage the creation of strong, well-supplied art programs. Millburn celebrates every March with art from students grades K-12 displayed in the Education Center.
Displayed art is chosen by teachers from the elementary through high schools according to pieces that best exhibit mastery of the artistic skills being taught. Attendees consisted of parents, friends, art teachers, and the featured artists.
Art representing several different mediums from charcoal to Adobe Design filed an entire room and the hallways. No two pieces of art were the same. Students conveyed distinct artistic voices and work on a professional level from a variety of classes, including Cultural Crafts, Digital Arts, and Advanced Placement Studio Art.
The event had a celebratory feeling, as reiterated by Advanced Placement Studio Art teacher, Ms. Kathleen Harte Gilsenan. Not only did she say the night exemplified the students’ work ethic, dedication, and talent, but “the Youth Art Month show is for the community to see the breadth of what is addressed in the K-12 art curriculum and also to emphasize the importance of art education in the life of a student here in Millburn.”
The night showed what Millburn art education is truly capable of, letting students explore their creativity in the controlled manner necessary to challenge them.
In conversation with art students, it became apparent the kind of creative freedom offered in Millburn made art classes a necessary part of life.
AP Studio Art student, Saphia Rahman, explained: “I usually use art to kind of relax from my other school work.” Despite attending a school with academics like Millburn, she firmly believes that the final result is definitely worth all the trouble and time.
Honors Art student, April Wang had a similar sentiment saying, “as much as you might be very focused on your academics, [you] should always have some kind of outlet.” Wang’s mother, who was very proud, said the reason she supports April’s talent when that valuable time could be spent on academics or sports is “that it’s a great balance.”
The reception did have awe-inspiring art and more importantly, it helped the community understand why art should be a core part of students’ lives. Those creative, problem-solving skills are transferable and provide students with a built-in outlet during their school day. Millburn art programs foster creativity in an ideal setting leading to the diversity of artistic perspectives represented overall.