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Inspiring the Minds of Young Adults

Two NHS Students Have Art Work on Display


The Inspiring Minds Art Exhibit, managed by Linda Beard and held at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, is an art exhibition that celebrates and advertises the work of young artists in Essex County. A student signs up, posts three pieces, gives information about the piece such size, medium and price (if the student wishes to sell) and the judges of the program choose what pieces to display for the duration of the gallery.


Each year the program allows new artists display their work. Sixty pieces are displayed in the art exhibit and many are purchased. Two of Nutley High School students have been selected to have her art work showcased and put up for sale.


Barbara Benda, senior, and Aaliyah Vega, junior, were selected by a panel of distinguished artists, photographers and curators to have their art pieces displayed in the Inspiring Minds exhibit.


Barbara's pieces were both digital paintings. One of her painting depicts a girl hiding her true face in her hands which Benda titled, “Don’t Look.” “It is supposed to represent frustration and the need from society, a refusal to face reality,” Benda explains about her first piece.


The other piece, which was selected to be in the art show, was titled “Reflection.” This piece shows a girl hiding behind a mirror. The girl is dressed in fancy clothes and is holding an ornate mirror. Benda says she is deemed perfect by society, but the mirror reflects how she truly feels: oppressed, saddened and genuinely miserable by trying to be a social gold standard.

Benda will graduate this year and will attend Rutgers University in the fall. She will major in astrophysics which has to do with the physical nature of stars and celestial bodies. Benda would love to combine her passion for art with her major down the line in college. “I will continue art in college,” Benda said. “While I am not going to college for art I will most definitely minor in art, Art is one of the few things I'm good at so it would be a shame to stop improving my skill in it.”


Aaliyah Vega sent her pieces to the coordinator of the program and one was selected. It is called "Smudge." “ It is a painting of a woman with her makeup (specifically her eye makeup) smudged due to her tears,” Vega explains.


“I was very shocked that my piece was chosen,” said Vega. “I, as an artist, don't display my work everywhere. However, I was proud of this piece before it got picked, but I kept my excitement and pride to myself. I was so happy that when it was picked, I was able to show my excitement a little bit.”


Vega will be going into cosmetology in college. Her love of makeup is showcased in her paintings. In the sense of her continuing her art, she will still be with her on her journey in college, but will focus more on her work of cosmetology. “I always have a different idea then when it comes to painting a piece. Cosmetology keeps my creative brain flowing,” explains Vega.