GREEN BROOK, NJ – March is Youth Art Month (YAM) in New Jersey and throughout the month students from every county in the state will exhibit their artwork at various galleries and museums galleries. On a local front, 12 Green Brook Middle School (GBMS) students will represent Somerset County and exhibit their artwork for YAM at the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Bedminster.

The theme of this year’s county art show is ‘My Art, My Story’ although artwork does not have to follow the show's theme. To be eligible to participate artwork must be created by students of current Art Educators of New Jersey (AENJ) members; at GBMS, visual arts teacher Anna Panico is a member of AENJ.

For 2016, the artwork of six GBMS students in grades 6-8 along with six pieces of artwork from students in grade 5 will be exhibited at CCA. Congratulations to 5th graders Andrew Lopez, Kaitlyn Zhang, Jada Ramos, Sarai Gonzalez, Steven Chang and Melanie Hartlieb; 6th graders June Yin and Jordan Pincus; 7th grader Steven Reffler; andn 8th graders Alysabeth Gaito, Natalie Gustav and Ngocthy (Tee) Nguyen.

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The artwork of Green Brook fifth graders is on exhibit now through March 6 with an Artists Reception set for Sunday, March 6 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and an Award Presentation taking place at 2:30 p.m. The exhibit of student artwork for those in sixth through 12th grade will run March 8 through March 13 with an Artists Reception on Sunday, March 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and an Awards Presentation taking place at 2:30 p.m.

From the county show, said Panico, artwork is selected by a committee to be featured at a state level. This year, sixth grader Jordan Pincus' artwork was chosen for the State Youth Art Month Exhibit taking place March 4 through March 11 at the State House in Trenton. An artist’s reception recognizing the state level student artists will be held on Friday, March 11 from 5 to 7:45 p.m. with an awards ceremony taking place at 6:30 p.m. Because the state this exhibit overlaps the Somerset County YAM Exhibit, Jordan’s artwork on display in Bedminster will be a high-quality print.

Throughout her 17-year career – 14 of which has been at GBMS –Panico has submitted artwork to various student exhibits and contests associated with AENJ and has been submitting artwork for the YAM exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Art for the last four years.

“AENJ offers exhibitions every year to showcase and celebrate the benefits of visual arts,” Panico said, noting that programs and competitions like the YAM exhibit help enrich students understanding of art outside of school and art as a career.

“Competitions are formats very similar to art jobs where art directors ask artists for specific criteria needed in the creation of artwork used in advertising or illustration,” Panico said, adding, “When students attend art exhibitions it helps them see how other artists view information and express their ideas differently. I help students to think outside of the box.”

The Center for Contemporary Art is located at 2020 Burnt Mills Road in Bedminster, NJ. For more information on the Somerset County Youth Art Month Exhibit or the March 6 and March 13 receptions and awards presentations, visit www.ccabedminster.org.

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