HomeNS SentinelN/S Sentinel NewsNorth Brunswick 'pops' with color during student art show

North Brunswick ‘pops’ with color during student art show

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Upon first observation, it seemed as if a toy vending machine was located in the middle of the Media Resource Room at North Brunswick Township High School (NBTHS).

When taking a closer look, an Art Pop dispenser was discovered: a collection of original student-made buttons that can purchased for 50 cents a “pop.”

Valerie Grollman, of the NBTHS Art Department, said she was inspired by the Art-o-mat project, which converts retired cigarette machines into art vending machines. She asked students to put their artwork on buttons, and then other students could buy them randomly from the machine. She said students love seeing their classmates adorning their backpacks and clothing with their drawings.

“They feel and know they’re a working artist,” Grollman said.

Through the support of a Parent-Teacher-Student Organization mini grant, the plan is to eventually include a QR code that will link original writing and music created by the students to the buttons. Grollman would also like to place the machine at various places around town.

Since February, the machine has raised more than $200 to fund scholarships for deserving art students at the high school.

“It’s important to have great arts in the school because good arts support good learning,” she said.

The Art Pop dispenser was just one component of the North Brunswick School District’s Pop-Up Art Show on May 10.

About 70 residents were waiting outside prior to the show opening at 5:30 p.m., ready to view more than 300 works of art encompassing a variety of media – from ceramics and painting to photography and collage –  representing the artistic talents of students whose ages range from pre-kindergarten through high school. The room was packed until 8 p.m., with an estimated 500 students, staff members, family members and friends coming through the doors, Grollman said.

“With a pop up, it’s a short lived affair. It’s up and gone. It creates the ambience of the show,” Grollman said. “Art is like life, in that it is fleeting. You take it all in, knowing it’s not going to last.”

Gage Oake, a sixth-grader at Linwood Middle School, could not wait to show off his artwork. Arriving at the school before 5 p.m., he eagerly spoke about an extra dinosaur drawing he was bringing to the show.

“I’ve been drawing dinosaurs since I as a toddler,” the 12-year-old said. “They’re giant, famous reptiles.”

He said he loves art because “it’s just making my own, almost, world. You can use your own imagination. It’s scientifically accurate, but it’s cartoonish.”

Anastasia Kozyrenko, an eighth grade student at Linwood, had her street art on display.

“It’s a way people express their feelings,” she said. “You can learn about people from this. By looking at mine, you can see I really like to travel … and my map looks really old, like a burned out map.”

Using art as more than just a creative outlet, Anastasia said she applies it practically in her schoolwork. She said in class, she tends to read a math problem, but then draws a picture to help her understand the problem more.

“It helps me get through my geometry struggles,” she said. “Art is a pretty important subject.”

Kayla Henry, a sophomore at NBTHS, applies language art skills to her art projects.

Completing a calligraphy assignment that features the quote, “The moment when you want to quit is the moment when you need to keep pushing,” she said she was inspired by struggling with her grades in past years, but deciding this year she was going to put in more effort.

“It relates to me,” she said.

Drawing cartoons since kindergarten “for fun,” Kayla said people tend not to realize what a skill calligraphy is.

“Calligraphy is graceful but simple at the same time,” she said.

She said it was an “honor” to see her artwork on display.

“It’s cool to see people who are better than you, especially if they’re younger, because they’re trying really hard,” she said.

Sofia Suhan, a third-grader at Judd Elementary School, is one such younger student. She proudly showed her patterned corn drawn with crayons to her family.

“I like to draw flowers, and the outside,” she said. “It’s fun. It’s fun to color.”

In addition to the art display, live music was provided by musicians from Linwood Middle School and NBTHS.

There were also interactive stations for attendees to exercise their creative side in a Maker Space button project, or by transforming into the “Mona Lisa” and other famous fine art images at the “Picture Yourself” photoshoot area.

During the show, student work was chosen by North Brunswick Board of Education members to display in the board building and to adorn the pages of the district’s annual calendar.

“New Jersey, in general, supports arts in the schools. New Jerseyans really value their students being able to be involved in school art projects. It raises grades and it raises pre-college test scores,” Grollman said.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@newspapermediagroup.com.

- Advertisment -

Stay Connected


Current Issue