Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Nine Phillipsburg High School students are interacting with professional artists, photographers, and an architect to expand their knowledge of contemporary art in a class instructed by PHS teacher Bob Jiorle and Jim Toia, director of the community based teaching program at Lafayette. The class is held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2-3 p.m. at Lafayette’s Williams Visual Arts Building.

“This class gives students the opportunity to learn about contemporary concepts,” says Toia. “They are learning about the role of artists today and are gaining exposure to opportunities they don’t typically have in a high school setting.”

Such opportunities include interacting with visiting artists like Ray Charles White, a photographer from New York City, who worked with Ansel Adams as a teen. White recently staged an exhibition at the Center and held workshops to help students develop their technique.

Participants will soon collaborate with the designer of the Williams Visual Arts Building, Joe Biondo, to build an experimental temporary wall. The students will also head to New York to view a number of exhibitions.

“You can’t imagine what this program does for our kids,” says Jiorle. “Students have the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art building and are certainly enriched by the teaching. They are learning what it is like to carry out a project from beginning to end. It has been of tremendous value. The students love the program, and I just can’t say enough about it.”

Since the class goes hand-in-hand with the gallery exhibition schedule, students can always expect a fresh perspective.

“The class goes outside the traditional teaching methodology and helps students get new ideas on how to make art,” Toia explains. “By examining different works and talking to artists, students find the art is not as far removed or as difficult as they initially thought.”

The program also helps the students cultivate a greater “art vocabulary” and gives them a chance to interact with Lafayette students, helping them feel more comfortable on a college campus.

“To be exposed to art on this level as a teen gives the students a step up at college interviews and provides a broad insight on available avenues in the art world,” says Toia.

Made up of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the class roster includes Wendy Bossard, Rachel Case, Hollie Cummings, Andrew Eisenberg, Rachael Ferrara, Randi Sisko, Jen Stickel, Lindsey Tibbott, and Jeremy Wilson.

To be considered for the class, students must either receive a recommendation or present a portfolio of work. The high school art department then decides on the year’s contingent.

The Williams Visual Arts Building also is open to the community every Thursday from 7-10 p.m. for an open studio drawing session. On a monthly basis, meet-the-artist programs are held, and visiting artists offer lectures and workshops for the public.

Categorized in: Academic News