Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Boundless Art of Youth

The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA held an Artists’ Reception on Friday February 27th for their 22nd Annual Juried Student Art Show in its main Artspace Gallery as part of the Pocono Arts Council's Youth in Art month long celebration. The exhibit showcases the works of students who are enrolled in the school systems scattered around the Monroe County, PA area. These schools include The East Stroudsburg High School (Southern Campus), The Pleasant Valley High School, The Pocono Mountain High School (East and West Campus'), and The Stroudsburg High School. The exhibition also included a space for Art Educators Nancy Bohm, George Boudman, Denise Thomas, Julia Thomas, Mark Ciocca, and Kris Miele-Beatty to display their considerable talents while the work of the late Hank Aldrich was shown throughout the center's Studio Gallery.

The imaginative beauty created by artists who have not yet been touched by the experiences that defines “matured” artists through their discernment of what works technically was found throughout the gallery. This refreshing approach not only epitomized the exuberance of youthful explorations but revived the memories of many who were able to recall how they lived their lives when they knew things before they learned about them. While this learning experience often enhances our perceptions of the essence of what we know, it also has a tendency create boundaries which limits our imaginative explorations because we become too familiar and complacent with our creative landscapes to entertain the notion that new vistas are waiting to be discovered. The work created by the students of local school systems circumvented these boundaries by simply not knowing where they are and therefore was able to manifest the fullness of their imagination through the images and sculpture they create to great effect.

The quality and the inspired effect the work shown in the exhibit had on the many who attended the reception was evident not only in each piece but in the countenance and conversation of the artists' family members and friends along with the impartial art lovers who were present. Yet, as astonishing the overall work was, there were certain pieces that stood out and embodied exceptional characteristics that often redefined the medium the artist endeavored to share their talents through. The jurors, whose daunting task it was to determine whom among the the incredibly gifted artists should be awarded prizes in each designated category, were Associate Professor Join Oye-Benintende who serves as Chairperson of The East Stroudsburg University of PA Art and Design Department as well as the Director of the campus' Madelon Powers Gallery and Suzanne Wefelman who has taught art in numerous public and private schools systems for over 30 years and currently instructs art affection-ados on how to release their creative nature though the arts. The award ceremonies began as PoconoArts Coordinator, Laura Goss, and PoconoArts President Jeff Kash stood before the gathering with Ms. Goss sharing her welcoming remarks prior to presenting the winners with their gifts.

In the category featuring Two Dimensional work, the award for third place went to Jordan Allen, the second place award went to Mohan Shen, and the first place went award to Seth Todora while Angel Topito and Jordan Kloiber received the Honorable Mentioned Accolades. In the category featuring Fine Crafts (Functional), the award for third place went to Jenise McDonald, the second place award went to Narissa Hajratalli, and the first place award went to Brianna Kish. In the category featuring Third Dimension Works (Sculpture/Non-Functional), the award for third place went to Ryan Cotte, the second place award went to Amber Smahaj, and the first place award went to Shannon Simpson. In the category featuring Photographic works, the award for third place went to Emilie Seda, the second place award went to Michael Martinetti, and the first place went to Reannon Zangakis. The Best of Show Award was presented to Kristan Lai for her work titled, “The New Highrise.” The Award Sponsors were The Monroe County Bar Association, The Pocono Chapter, PA Guild of Craftsmen, and The Pocono Arts Council.

Along with the work of the students whose display of talent are preeminent throughout the main gallery, The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center also shares the work of the members of the participating schools' faculty upon the wall bordering the back of the gallery. The creative expertize and profound proficiency of each artists is demonstrated in his/her astounding work along with the intrinsic beauty that struck a chord in each viewer's soul. In addition to the work presented in The Pocono Arts Council’s 22nd Annual Juried Student Art Show throughout the center's main gallery, a number of pieces were on display honoring the memory of an artist who brought a great deal of meaning to the life of the community through his work and endeavors to help others realize the creativity within themselves. The work created by Aldof “Hank” Aldrich were placed throughout the center's Studio Gallery allowing memories to flow from the piece to piece as those who knew him fondly reflected upon their encounters with his loving presence.

The Artists’ Reception for The Pocono Arts Council’s 22
nd Annual Juried Student Art Show at The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center in Stroudsburg, PA inspired a thoughtful joy among the attendees. This consisted of the joy among the students who shared their first experience of seeing their work hung in a gallery setting with their contemporaries along with the joy experienced by those who explored their memories as well as the boundless exuberant nature of the work. The exhibit will continue to be on display in the center's Artspace Gallery until March 7th. The next event in The Pocono Arts Council's Youth in Art Celebration will be their 28th Annual Youth in Music Excellence Awards which will take place at The St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday March 7th. The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center's next exhibition will be their Monroe County Bar Association Quilt Exhibition. The Artists' Reception is scheduled for Friday March 13th with the exhibit continuing to be on display until March 27th. You’ll find more photographs taken during The PoconoArts Council's 22nd Annual Student Exhibition Artists' Reception in You'll also find our archive of photographs taken at various galleries in The Pocono Art District throughout 2015 at as well as events featuring the Creative Arts throughout Monroe County, PA and beyond at

The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center is part of The PoconoArts Council which is an organization designed to build the communities in which it serves artistically and culturally by providing leadership, service, and education. It does so by offering avenues for artists to display their work through the center and other galleries, educational opportunities for those who would like to explore and/or enhance their creative natures, and encouragement to those who seek to express and/or support the arts. You’ll be able to learn more about The PoconoArts Council, The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center, and all they offer the creative community at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul

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