Art Department Holds First Virtual Art Show

Gabriella Gutierrez ’22


Passaic Valley’s Art Department held its first virtual Art Show on June 10th, showcasing students’ work and accomplishments throughout the year. Due to health-related school closures, students displayed their artwork through presentations posted on the Passaic Valley YouTube and Vimeo pages. The video contained a variety of talent ranging from paintings, photography, drawings, graphic designs, and sculptures. 

Every year, the Art Show begins with selecting a poster to advertise for the show and embody a theme for the year. Ms. Carolyn Ingraham’s Portfolio students design sample posters and one is selected from the work produced. This year, Junior Dante Blucher’s design was chosen as the promotional image.

Art Show is typically one of the premier in-school events at the end of the year. However, in response social distancing, the Art Department had to make considerable adjustments. “Like art museums around the world, we are going digital,” said Photography Teacher Ms. Melanie Vasa. “While museums have the luxury of just photographing what is already on the gallery walls, we had to recreate that feeling.” 

Background information during the digital presentation provides viewers with a connection to each piece since they do not have the opportunity to see it in person. “There will be more informative labeling and the addition of images of the students working on their projects throughout the year,” continued Ms. Vasa.

Art teachers operated collectively to gather the students’ work and solve the issue of not being in school to showcase it. “The art teachers came together, worked together, and problem-solved a new solution to having our Art Show this year,” said 3D Design Teacher Ms. Corine Czepiel. “The efforts made by each of the individual teachers go above and beyond each year as we all try to highlight the talents of our students.”

Students and staff had been preparing for Art Show 2020 since as early as November, unaware of how different this year’s show would be. However, the new format did not take away from the rewarding experience of watching young artists grow as creators. “Being able to witness and be a part of the development of our student’s artwork is truly inspiring!” said National Art Honor Society Advisor Ms. Ingraham. “To be able to see our kids come up with an idea, develop it, and execute it to completion is one of the greatest joys in life.”

Each year, Art Show displays innovative collections of pieces. Art Show 2020 featured traditional landscapes with abstract paintings from Ms. Jennifer Chelel’s Painting and Photographic Sources class. Graphic and Web Design teacher, Ms. Lori Demsey was excited to present her students’ new magazine projects. “They look like they belong on a newsstand!” she said.

All of the Passaic Valley art teachers and students are thankful to be given this opportunity to continue Art Show’s incredible legacy in the face of modern challenges. What follows are messages of appreciation for all the diligence and dedication throughout the 2019-2020 school year.

Portfolio Honors, Drawing Communications, Cartooning, Art Explorations, and National Art Honor Society Advisor, Ms. Carolyn Ingraham: 

“I would like all of our kids to know that we’re excited to showcase their talents in a new way. Of course, I am sad that we won’t be in the Farrell Gym to celebrate together but that does not diminish their work and dedication throughout the school year.”

Photography Teacher, Ms. Melanie Vasa:

“I hope the PV community appreciates the hard work we and the students have put into making sure this show still happens. Dr. Cardillo never thought of canceling and that support is crucial in these times.”

Graphic and Website Design Teacher, Ms. Lori Demsey:

“Keep creating and never stop learning computer techniques. Digital arts are changing every second, you need to stay sharp and update your skills constantly. But most importantly: art is the best therapy for the soul and you need art more now than ever.”

3D Design and Advanced 3D Design Honors Teacher, Ms. Corine Czepiel:

“To my seniors: Stay strong and keep your heads up high! I expect big things from ALL of you! Everything happens for a reason and although this may be a difficult year, just know this too shall pass! We need to experience the bad to remember and embrace the good. We can’t enjoy the good without experiencing the bad. Always remember there is light at the end of the tunnel and I hope we can all look back on this someday and remember just that! I truly miss you all!”

Art Explorations and Painting and Photographic Sources Teacher, Ms. Jennifer Chelel:

“When you summarize the work from the 2019-2020 school year, we see such creative endeavors. Work may look a little different, more expressive, and a reflection of the students’ current conditions. Hopefully art was used as a way to cope and heal.”


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