The intention of my art is to create an outlet for misery. There seems to be this unspoken rule in society, now more than ever with the invention of social media, that you need to be happy, constantly. And while it’s obviously preferable not to feel down and to be your best self 100% of the time, it’s simply unrealistic. In my personal life, I get most of my inspiration while I’m in my deepest depressions or moments of insufferable angst— they don’t call us “moody” teenagers for nothing!— but there’s something so gratifying about putting these inexplicable emotions into a corporeal form. Being able to physically hold those negative feelings and terrifying thoughts in the palm of my hand… my problems feel so small! So manageable. Like I can take this handful of pain, and literally set it aside somewhere else, not to hide from it, but to appreciate it; it embodies the beauty of being human. But this agony sink isn’t just for me, it’s for anyone who stumbles upon it and can accept how wonderful ugliness can be. When others see my work, I hope that they can realize they aren’t alone. We all feel ugly sometimes, and being able to change your perception of it can help you accept it. Over the years, I’ve found that I truly want to pursue art— I don’t want it to just be a part of my life anymore, I want it to consume me. I plan to complete a BFA in Computer Animation and I chose this as my major because I love telling stories, especially ones where characters learn to welcome their melancholia; my favorite scenes to write are those of catharsis! But my ultimate goal, I’d say, is to bring comfort to those who are uncomfortable.

The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.

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The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer's Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.