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Teachers’ Symposiums 2018

Teacher’s Symposiums 2018

Our 2018 Teacher’s symposiums will be held on the following dates: 

Friday, January 12th, 2018 9am – 3pm – Register here! 

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 9am – 3pm – Register here!
*Special Topics* Art & Social Justice, in partnership with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Friday, May 4  2018 9am – 3pm – Register here!

Each symposium will be led by a contemporary artist.

All of our Teacher’s symposium events offer unique professional development opportunities for art educators to come together and learn new creative skills to bring back to their classroom. The programs include:

  • Presentation by the leading contemporary artist
  • Hands-on artmaking workshop with the artist
  • Gallery exercises exploring ways to view and interpret contemporary art
  • Six professional development hours upon completion of the symposium
  • Lesson plans as a take home

Registration fees are $75 and include a light breakfast and all materials.


January 12th, 2018 Teacher’s Symposium Information

Register here!

Seeing Through Painting

Teaching Artist: Nikolina Kovalenko

Nikolina Kovalenka was born in Moscow, Russia in 1987. In 2011 she received her MFA from Moscow Surikov Art Institute and studied at Universität der Künste Berlin. She holds a Gold Medal from the Russian Art Academy and currently lives and works in New York City. Nikolina has been teaching drawing, mixed media, painting with oil, watercolor, and acrylics to adults, teenagers and children for over eight years. Her exhibition history includes solo shows at Gitana Rosa Gallery and Dacia Gallery. The group shows include Townsend Modern/Contemporary,  Cheryl Hazan Contemporary, Mayson Gallery, Select Art Fair and Museum of Russian Art(NJ). In 2014 she attended LMCC “Artist Summer Institute”. Nikolina was a resident artist at ESKFF, MANA Contemporary in spring 2017. Nikolina’s artwork has been reviewed in art blogs, newspapers, and magazines. Her work is in numerous corporate and private collections worldwide.

If you have any questions please contact Sarah Walko, Director of Education and Community Engagement at 908.273.9121 x213 or


March 6th, 2018 Teacher’s Symposium Information

Register here!

March 6th, 2018 is National Day of Empathy is a day of action to generate empathy on a massive scale. VACNJ is partnering with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Co-Lab in a professional development workshop day titled Art, Storytelling and Social Justice Educational Symposium

March 6, 2018

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join this unique and insightful symposium on Art, Storytelling and Social Justice, which will connect educators with advocates, artists, and system-involved youth. The goal of the symposium is to share information on the juvenile justice system and discuss how educators can help transform the system. Participants will also learn how art can help share the stories of those impacted by the juvenile justice system, including the school to prison pipeline. . This special full-day event will occur at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, located at 68 Elm Street, in Summit, NJ on March 6, 2018, from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. Educators will earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for participating in the symposium. For details and information on attending this event, please visit

Symposium Outline

  • Welcome
  • Ice Breaker
  • What is Social Justice? What is implicit bias?
  • The History of the Juvenile Justice System
    • Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child
  • Girls in Youth Prisons
  • Relationship between Education and Social Justice
    • School to Prison Pipeline
    • NJ School Reentry Report (from Education Subcommittee)
  • Relationship between the Arts and Social Justice
  • Storytelling Project
  • Juvenile Justice Campaign
  • Alternatives to Incarceration Best Practices
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Ways Educators Can Engage in Social Justice

The workshop will include:

  • Interactive Exercises
    • Implicit Bias
    • Educators discuss what the school to prison pipeline looks like to them in their schools and their ideas for ending it (policy changes, training)
  • Storytelling Exhibition and Video
  • Sample curriculums, educational tools, etc.



If you have any questions please contact Sarah Walko, Director of Education and Community Engagement at 908.273.9121 x213 or

Getting Graphic

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey presents “Getting Graphic: Novels, Memoirs & Comics.” The December 2 event will feature graphic novelists and comic book artists showcasing and discussing their work, offering workshops and book signings, and selling merchandise. The event was conceived in conjunction with the exhibition Drawing it Out, currently on display in the Eisenberg Gallery at the Art Center. “In delving into the genre of graphic novels and memoirs, our staff and artists discovered so many interesting and unique stories,” said Sarah Walko, Director of Programs at the Visual Arts Center. “We wanted to create an event where the audience would be exposed to as many of these works as we could manage and could then meet the artists themselves.”

The event will take place at the Art Center on Saturday, December 2, from 12-5pm and is free for all ages. Tables will be set up throughout the building for the entirety of the event featuring books and merchandise by graphic novelists, memoirists, and comic book artists and food and drinks will be available from the Taquería Auténtica food truck. Following a brief introduction to the event, two artist talks will take place in the main gallery: Howard Saunders and Julia Alekseyva will discuss their respective work from 2-2:30pm and Darrell Goza and Dana Walwrath will do the same from 4-4:30pm. Additionally, two Comic Book Cover workshops** will be held during the event. One for children ages 6-9, from 12:30 – 2pm for $35 and one for children ages 9-12, 2:30 – 4pm  for $50.

 Artists appearing include:

Julia Alekseyeva

Doug Baron

Howard Saunders

Glenn Whitmore

Michael Parla

Lauren Purje

Seamus Liam O’Brien

Kirsten Kramer



Criss Madd

Darrell Goza

Dana Walwrath

Neil Vokes

Amanda Scurti

 Edward Dippolito 

Tom Schloendorn

** – You can preregister for the day’s workshops by emailing Drop-ins are also welcome.

Fall 2017 Road Trips

Join us this fall for one of our fantastic Road Trips! We’ve taken advantage of Curator Mary Birmingham’s extensive knowledge of the contemporary art scene to provide insider experiences unlike anything you’ll get from any other museum. You’ll tour a variety of galleries and museums and sample the local fare in a some of today’s most vibrant art locales.

Our first trip, on Thursday, October 12, takes us to the growing art scene and vibrant community that is DUMBO, Brooklyn. With its amazing waterfront access, beautiful parks featuring views of Manhattan, and a thriving art scene, DUMBO (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) has become one of Brooklyn’s most buzz-worthy neighborhoods. It features art studios, luxury residences, and hip restaurants. We’ll travel by luxury coach to DUMBO where we will have an early private lunch at DUMBO Kitchen. Mary Birmingham will guide us through several galleries such as Smack Mellon and Minus Space. The bus departs from the Art Center PROMPTLY at 8:45 am and returns approximately 4:30. Tickets are $100 for members and $125 for non-members.

On Thursday, November 16 we return to New York City, this time to explore Long Island City with a visit to the Noguchi Museum and a private lunch at The Astor Room & Landmark Café at Kaufman Studios, originally built as the commissary to the movie studio opened by Hollywood icon Adolph Zukor and frequented by early movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Mary Astor. Following lunch, we will visit MOMA PS1 where Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting, the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s prolific six-decade career will be on view as well as their permanent collection featuring site-specific works by artists created over the organization’s 40-year history. The bus departs the Art Center promptly at 8:15 am and returns approximately 4:30. Tickets are $125 for members and $150 for non-members.

To make your reservation contact Bonnie-Lynn Nadzeika, Development Department, 908-273-9121 ext. 225 or via email at Due to limited seating, tickets are non-refundable. Reservations are also available here.

Summit Downtown Art Festival

Summit Downtown Art Festival

Event Date: Sunday, September 17, 2017, 9 am – 3 pm

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, in partnership with Summit Downtown, will host the Summit Downtown Art Festival on September 17, from 9am to 3pm. This outdoor, juried show will be located on Springfield Avenue in downtown Summit and is being organized in cooperation with the Summit Police Athletic League’s Classic Car Show. The event, playfully titled “Arts + Cars,” will feature work for sale by more than 25 artists, hundreds of classic cars on display, live music, children’s activities, and the regularly scheduled Summit Farmers Market. This event looks to be a great event for the entire family, so save the date and come on out to support the arts!

Walking Landscapes with Matthew Jensen

Join us for artist-led walks in conjunction with Matthew Jensen: Park Wonder. Jensen spent several months investigating four historic northern NJ parks, and his resulting site-specific artwork, the multimedia exhibition Park Wonder, is currently on display in the Art Center’s Main Gallery. Jensen has an uncanny ability to see things that others miss, and on these walks, he shares his skills for scouring the landscape for artifacts and stories. Each walk will be no more than two hours long, and are free, although limited to 30 participants. Children accompanied by an adult are welcome.

You are welcome to join us for one or all three. Each walk is free:

  • Saturday, May 20, 1pm–The Great Swamp in Chatham Township
  • Saturday, June 10, 1pm–Watchung Reservation
  • Saturday, June 17, 1pm–Along the Passaic River ** DUE TO THE RAIN THIS WALK WILL BE RESCHEDULED

To register for the walk, and to get details on where the group will meet up, please contact Sarah Walko, Director of Education and Community Engagement at 908.273.9121 ext. 213 or via email at Spots are limited!

For walkers who wish to explore on their own time, Jensen has shared his maps on the Park Wonder web site, Maps of the Imagination, at  Walkers are encouraged to share their experiences and photos, and they will be added to the blog on the site, and become a part of the Park Wonder conversation.

Park Wonder is made possible by a prestigious “Imagine Your Parks” grant award, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service to support projects that use the arts to engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Park System.