The Mercer County Teen Arts Festival is a comprehensive arts education program held annually on the beautiful campus of Mercer County Community College. The event is open to all Mercer County public, private, parochial and home school students in middle and high school, grades six through twelve, ages 13 to 19.
The focus of the festival is not on competition but on participation in performance seminars, critiquing sessions, master classes and workshops in media and visual art, dance, drama, vocal and instrumental music, film and creative writing.
Goals of the program are to help students develop perceptual, intellectual and technical skills; gain cultural awareness and understanding; develop personal aesthetic values and learn self discipline, critical thinking and problem solving through analyzing, interpreting and making judgments.
Photographs of visual arts pieces that were on display at the past festivals are featured in online galleries. Those galleries are accessible under Related Links on the right side of this page. Also available there are the last few Teen Art Anthologies, which includes poetry and prose selected from a large number of works, submitted by middle and high school students.
The first State Teen Arts Festival was held at McCarter Theatre in 1969, it was a collaborative planning effort by New Jersey arts educators, the State Department of Education, the New Jersey Sate Council on the Arts, the New Jersey State Museum and McCarter Theater.
Friends Of Teen Arts (FOTA) was responsible for advancing the New Jersey State Teen Arts educational and artistic philosophy and program development. To achieve its goals, FOTA developed and maintained partnerships consistent with Teen Arts goals and objectives and seeks national and statewide funding opportunities. Teen Arts Festivals are a forum where students who have created outstanding works in other arts initiatives throughout the year can premier their works to an audience of peers.