WARREN, NJ - Kate Griffin, who has been an art teacher since 2009 at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS), will exhibit 12 original paintings in the Masters of Art Education Graduate Show, called “Collective Visions,” Thursday, April 14, to Friday, May 13, in the James Howe Gallery at Kean University, Union.

An opening reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 17, at the Howe Gallery in the Vaughn Eames Fine Arts Building, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Griffin’s series, titled “Seen and Heard,” is 12 self-portrait Acrylic paintings on canvas board. 

“Each of the paintings represent feminist themes such as love, loss, betrayal, triumph and societal expectations, explored both literally and figuratively,” Griffin said. “Each work is inspired by modern music, both written and performed by female artists.”

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She drew inspiration from current artists Sara Bareilles, KT Tunstall, Taylor Swift, Fiona Apple, and more, she said.

The series has been a year in the making, she said, and pulled from personal experiences.

Her paintings will be among other local art teachers and artists pursuing master’s degrees in Art Education at Kean. Some of the other participating graduate students will be Denise Moser, who teaches in New Providence, Janice N. Gossman, who teachers in Clark, and Monica Franco, who teaches in Irvington, as well as artists Janice Quarto, Michelle Harpster and Michelle Suriel.


At WHRHS, Griffin is also involved in the student drama program, helping with scenic painting, prop work, play bills and posters. She helps enable students to participate in the many behind-the-scenes support requirements for the fall drama and spring musical productions. Her handiwork, and that of the students she has organized, will be seen in this month’s WHRHS spring musical, “She Loves Me,” Wednesday, March 16, to Saturday, March 19.

Griffin grew up in Kearny, and is a graduate of Kearny High School. She received her undergraduate degree in art in 2009 from New Jersey City University, Jersey City, and she started teaching at WHRHS that September. She has been pursuing her master’s degree for three years through the “studio option” graduate art program at Kean, which places heavy emphasis on studio work.

Every summer, Griffin has worked also on the summer camp staff of the Visual Art Center of New Jersey, Summit. This summer, she and her husband, James Savakis, a 6th grade teacher at Wood Glen Middle School, Lebanon Township, plan to spend a month in Italy, taking in all that country’s legendary artwork, as well as historic sights of interest. Last summer, they spent a month in Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, going on a two-week safari, learning about local cultures, camping out in the wild, taking in the breathtaking landscapes, and having encounters with everything from elephants and hyenas to great white sharks.

It was an enriching experience, she said. 

“We learned something new every day,” she said. “We’d love to go back to see more.”

For more information about exhibit at Kean, log onto www.kean.edu/~gallery or call (908) 737-5326.