The Jefferson Arts Committee (JAC) acknowledged its 2017-18 Student Artists of the Month (SAM) award recipients with a special year-end reception on June 5. The students’ artwork was on display throughout the high school media center. Members of the JAC provided refreshments and snacks for the artists, their families, and their friends.

The program is cosponsored by the JAC and the school art teachers, who select students displaying exceptional work and designate them as their school’s Student Artist of the Month. The chosen students are invited with their parents to a monthly presentation at the library, where they are awarded a certificate of achievement and a fine arts medallion. Their work remains on display in the library for that month.

Imagination was evident in the work created by some outstanding art students. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)
Beautiful pieces of artwork were displayed throughout the high school’s media center. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)

In addition, the JAC annually awards financial scholarships to two outstanding graduating seniors who intend to pursue a career in the arts. The 2018 Memorial Scholarship recipient, Ryan Schmidt, will major in instrumental music education at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University this fall. The Jack and Rose Kelly Founders Scholarship was given to Katrina Jenisch as she pursues an associate degree at County College of Morris, majoring in photography.

SAM chair Jason Nicholas, assisted by Elisa DeYoung, served as master of ceremonies at the reception for all award recipients. The guest speaker for the event was Jefferson resident Liz Lubansky, a sculptural artist working in ceramics through her studio, We Are Clay.

Liz Lubanksy, owner of the We Are Clay Studio in Jefferson Township, was the event’s guest speaker. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)

The core of Lubansky’s work is to accentuate and explore beauty, said Carol Punturieri, president of the JAC, adding that the artist demonstrates this exploration in her pottery by producing work that is both functional and beautiful. Lubansky spoke about her background, her love of art, her education, and her career. The artist encouraged the students to pursue art in their lives, and urged parents to support their children who are interested in art, as her own parents did.

Also present and displaying some of their personal artwork were SAM members and Jefferson Township art teachers Dave DeVries and Karen Correia from the high school, Karen Frelinghuysen from Ellen T. Briggs and Arthur Stanlick Schools, and Denise Morando from the middle school. Danny Papa, supervisor of the school district’s Fine Arts Department, was also present. Other art teachers involved in the program are Jennifer Tamaye-Hettema from White Rock and Cozy Lake Schools and Renee Simler from the high school.

Dave DeVries, an art teacher at Jefferson Township High School, spoke about what inspired him to create this personal piece. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)
Jefferson Township High School art teacher Karen Correia displayed a piece of her personal art work painted last summer. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)
Karen Frelinghuysen, art teacher at Briggs and Stanlick schools, is an avid photographer. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)

The program was begun approximately 16 years ago by then-JAC president Jack Kelly. Through the collaborative efforts of the JAC, the Board of Education, and the library, children are encouraged to pursue their creativity through various forms of art.

Creativity could be seen in all the students’ artwork. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)
The Jefferson art teachers offer many ways for their students to create unique pieces. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)
The artwork on display was created using various media. (Photo: Carol Punturieri)

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