Columbia High School Student Artists Featured in SOPAC’s ‘INSPIRED MINDS’ Exhibit

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MAPLEWOOD, N.J. – Artwork created by 18 Columbia High School (CHS) student artists will be displayed at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC)’s annual INSPIRED MINDS Young Artist Exhibition, which opens on Thursday, May 16th.

The INSPIRED MINDS Young Artist Exhibition celebrates high school student artists from throughout Essex County by providing them with a full experience of showing art in a gallery, from the application through the exhibition with the possible sale of displayed artworks. The students who were selected for the upcoming exhibition are:

Regie Deeble Jackson, grade 12

Icelin Gonzales, grade 11

Audrey Haber, grade 11

Corinne Jin-Hendel, grade 12

Cam Jones, grade 11

Ezra Kaminsky, grade 11

Molly Keegan, grade 11

Jordan Kinley, grade 12

Susanna Knutsen, grade 12

Neve Mahoney, grade 11

Anastasia Patti-Aquino, grade 10

Sam Rosenthal, grade 11

Samuel Taber-Kewene, grade 12

Maya Weinstock, grade 11

Reese Wolfinger, grade

Teacher: Alexandra Cappucci


Abigail Oettinger, grade 10

Teacher: Cindy Malhotra


Sam Rosenthal, grade 11

Saanvi Rohatgi, grade 10

Carlos Sanchez, grade 12

Teacher: Rich Cutrona

“I want to congratulate all of our talented student artists who have been selected to display their work in the upcoming exhibition,” said Dr. Kevin F. Gilbert, Acting Superintendent of the South Orange and Maplewood School District. “I also thank and acknowledge their teachers for all they have done to draw out the best in their students. We all look forward to the exhibit’s opening next week.”

In anticipation of the exhibit, District Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts James Manno invoke the words of Pablo Picasso who said, “Art is the best possible introduction to the culture of the world. I love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch. It washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

“SOPAC’s Inspired Minds: Young Artist Exhibition is truly a glimpse into the culture of the world of our young artists in Essex County, New Jersey,” Manno said. “Students’ participation in this provincial exhibition is an essential part of the curriculum and an avenue to the next level of their artistic endeavors.”

SOPAC Education Programs Manager Linda Beard said the students’ talent and creativity shine through their pieces, each telling a unique story and captivating emotions.

“It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of these young artists, and we are proud to have the opportunity to support and showcase their work,” said Beard. “This exhibition also highlights our ongoing partnership with the South Orange and Maplewood School District as we continue to collaborate on various initiatives to foster creativity and artistic expression among students. By providing a platform for these talented individuals to showcase their work, we aim to encourage and inspire the next generation of artists in our community. Through our partnership, we hope to nurture and support the artistic talents of these students, helping them grow and thrive in their pursuit of their creative voices.”

The Inspired Minds exhibit will run at The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC from May 16th through August 18th. An opening reception has been scheduled for Thursday, May 16th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.


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