By Nicholas Voltaggio
Entering the Blackwell Street Juried Student Show for the first time is a breathtaking experience.
Every nook and cranny on four floors of Morristown’s Atrium Gallery pops with exciting and vibrant art.
Some 400 pieces were chosen from almost 800 submissions by high school artists from across Morris County, according to Dr. Lynn L. Siebert, director of the gallery and of arts participation and communication for Morris Arts.
Friday’s opening reception celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Blackwell show, which awards ribbons and cash prizes, along with bragging rights, in several categories. A new category is “Art Completed with Wood.” Many larger-than-life multimedia pieces steal the show.
Slideshow photos by Jeff Sovelove:
A notable example, by Mendham High School student Coral Coad, is a meticulously detailed diorama entitled Let Them Eat Cake. Inspired by the French Revolution, it brought home the first place prize for Coad in the multimedia category.
The winner of the colored pencil category, Randolph High School student Emma Swayze , also astonished onlookers with her piece, New Beginnings. Kevin Kawate, an artist specializing in sculpture and ceramics, was awarded the coveted Best in Show prize.
Support from friends and family is pivotal for young artists. A group of friends from the Delbarton School–a big winner of the night–spoke to Morristown Green about their experiences leading up to the event.
Juniors Jacob Grayzel and CJ Gasser were first-time participants. Grayzel received an honorable mention for his watercolor piece, Mountain. Inspired by the scenic landscapes of his family’s annual vacations, he took an artistic risk by venturing into a new medium.
Gasser submitted two photos and one acrylic painting to the show. He, along with Grayzel, emphasized that although the work was stressful– they were “crunched for time” with snow days cancelling classes–their teacher and classmates encouraged them to make the best pieces they possibly could.
This exhibition has many more creations, in more mediums, than can be described here. Luckily, you have time to discover them for yourself.
The exhibit runs through May 4, 2018. The Atrium Gallery is free and open to the public during business hours, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday. The show is presented by the Blackwell Street Center for the Arts, in cooperation with Morris Arts, with a hand from Joanne Del Rio and her assistants from Novartis.
Morristown Green correspondent Nicholas Voltaggio is a freshman at Morristown High School.