2023 Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

March 4th – March 25th, 2023
Awards Ceremony & Opening Reception – March 4th, 2-5pm
Gallery Aferro Main and Memorial Gallery

Gallery Aferro proudly welcomes the 2023 Gold Key winners of the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards to honor them and their amazing artwork in an exhibition crafted to encourage, inspire and celebrate. A group exhibition unique to our community, the Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition will feature works from more than 10 different art categories created by students from grades 7 through 12 — all of whom are Gold Key winners.

From digital art to fashion to animation to drawing & illustration, more than 500 Northern New Jersey students will receive 2023 Scholastic Art Awards for their work this year. Gold Key, Silver Key, and American Vision award winners will receive their keys, and Scholastic Art Awards winning teachers will receive commemorative badges during the exhibition opening on Saturday, March 4th.

While this is not a traditional ceremony, Gallery Aferro invites everyone to appreciate all the art created by these brilliant artistic minds while enjoying food, music and camaraderie with an arts community that continues to thrive even during times of great change.

For many of the young creatives, this will be the first time seeing their artwork in a professional gallery, but we are certain it won’t be their last.

Steve Rossi: Rivers, Blocks, and Bridges to Newark Bay

March 4th, 2023 – May 6th, 2023
Opening Reception – March 4th, 2-5pm
Gallery Aferro, Front Window Installation

Rivers, Blocks, and Bridges to Newark Bay is a sculptural and lighting installation created with addressable LED lights, Arduino computer boards, open source code written by Mark Kriegsman and Mary Corey March, and is supported by The City of Newark Creative Catalyst Fund in partnership with Newark Arts.

Exploring the spatial relationship between our experience in the built environment and its proximity to fresh water sources, Rivers, Blocks, and Bridges to Newark Bay references the street grid of Newark and the surrounding region combined with the paths of the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers as they join to form Newark Bay. In the daylight, the painted sculptural relief is visible; at night, the LED lighting components provide a moving lighting animation backlighting and complementing the sculptural form. A blueish lighting element provides a visceral connection to light reflecting on the surface of water. Subtly blinking yellow, white, and orange lights suggest light from street lamps and building windows experienced in the urban landscape at night.

Steve Rossi’s work has been exhibited at Dorsky Curatorial Projects, Eco Art Space, NURTUREart, Bronx Art Space, the Wassaic Project, the John Michael Kohler Art Center, the Jules Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, and the public art festival Art in Odd Places among many others. He has participated in artist residencies with the Vermont Studio Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and was awarded the Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship at Gallery Aferro.

As a part-time faculty member, he has taught in the First Year Program at Parsons School of Design, the Sculpture Program and Art Education Program at the State University of New York at New Paltz, and in the Art Department at Westchester Community College. He is currently an Assistant Professor and Sculpture Program Head at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

Elevator Music 10: Neon Doves No Divas

Curated by Juno Zago

When asked about their Elevator Music installation, Neon Doves No Divas had the following to say:

We make art blah blah blah.

We’re uninterested in formulas and playing by the rules

We’re not cool kids trying to make cool stuff that they think is cool, because it’s exhausting and unsustainable to continue to perform the self.

Image credit: Neon Doves No Divas

Poem Booth: Make Me Wanna Holler

Curated by Candace Nicholson

Participating Poets:

Raymond Bally
Chris Bisram
Benedicto Figueroa
Katelyn Halpern
Slangston Hughes
Kathy Kremins
Alexander Kusztyk
Eros Livieratos
Meg Lubey
Buttered Roll
Danny Shot

Poem Booth: Make Me Wanna Holler is the next creative incarnation of Gallery Aferro’s ongoing Poem Booth Project, an interactive installation that encourages language lovers to step inside a vintage 1960s-era wooden telephone booth to enjoy an immersive experience that only comes at the intersection of art and technology.

Showcasing 13 unique voices from local, national and international poetry scenes, Make Me Wanna Holler, brings together sculptors of the written word as they dissect, scrub and polish the concept of laughing through the pain. With humor, wit and anecdotal sarcasm, these talented bards will connect with you in ways that only sound and performance art can. 

Each poet shares their sometimes subtle, oftentimes striking words on healing, hiding or harnessing tragedy with the salve of comedy in this audio exhibition of written expression. Curated by writer and storyteller Candace Nicholson, the intention of Make Me Wanna Holler is to invite the listener to decide when the melancholy ends and the laughter begins.

Images, left then right: Phone off the hook by Juno Zago | Man full of emotion by Nsey Benajah