Passaic Valley Visual Arts Department

  • PV Visual Arts Dept


  • Art programs have the potential to help improve a student’s memory and concentration skills, develop decision-making and critical thinking skills, enhance communication and listening skills, but also encourage focus and discipline.

    An arts education can also help a student to improve self-esteem and social skills. It’s known that children who participate in art education programs learn to work as part of a team and understand different points of views. Additionally, they are also capable of developing an understanding and an appreciation for different cultures, which then can translate to an increased sense of social acceptance.

    Arts education also fosters creativity and teaches effective communication. Another purpose of arts education is to provide tools for critical assessment of what one reads, sees, and hears. In addition, the arts can often reach students who traditionally have had difficulty in standard academic environments and motivate students who may not otherwise be reachable.  Art is the heart’s explosion on the world.  Without Art the Earth would be just “Eh!”

    • Program of Studies Course Offerings: Art Explorations, Film Photography, Digital Imaging, Advanced Photography Honors, AP Studio Art 2-D Design, Painting and Photographic Sources, Painting Honors, Honors Portfolio, Drawing Communications, Cartooning, 3-D Design, Advanced 3-D Design Honors, Graphic Design I - Adobe Photoshop, Graphic Design II - Adobe Illustrator
    • Benefits of Art Education: students’ intrinsic enjoyment, art form knowledge and skills, social and cultural knowledge, creativity and thinking skills, communication and expressive skills, personal and social development, effects that transfer to other contexts (e.g., learning in other subjects, work-related benefits such as teamwork), culture of the school, and benefits to the local community
    • General Visual Art Coursework: Elements and principles of design, color theory, terminology, various art forms, materials and methods of various tools and techniques about the different art forms, art history, world cultures, awareness of various art related careers, incorporation of technology for various medias, exhibitions throughout the year, student galleries
    • Students taking Portfolio Honors or AP 2-D Art and Design will complete a Portfolio
    • Students regularly submit to publications and exhibition opportunities throughout the year.
    • Students participate in the STEAM Unity Garden where teachers of various disciplines contribute to the schoolwide garden with different projects and activities developed by staff and students to enhance the garden throughout the year
    • Art Integration and Collaboration among Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teachers and students for STEAM projects
    • A grant funded projected by the Passaic Valley Educaton Foundation for an Art Installation for the Unity Garden submitted by Faculty Artist Jennifer Chelel
    • Teachers select student’s best artwork for submissions into Exhibitions around the country, state and/or county
    • Positions of leadership available for students interested in studio assistants and club officers of either the Art Club or National Art Honor Society.
    • Passaic Valley’s Annual Art Show Student Exhibit is held at the end of the year in May in conjunction with the Spring Music Concert
    • Student enrichment through field trips and in-school presentations
    • ABA Art and Photography Course offerings through the Washington School at Passaic Valley


    • Local Businesses and Community Areas
    • ArtStart at William Paterson University
    • Congressional Art Awards
    • Fresh Perspectives at Morris Museum
    • Kean University
    • Pingry School Annual Invitational Photography Exhibit
    • Segal Gallery at Montclair State University
    • Scholastic Art and Writing Awards



  • Art Show is an annual educational event hosted by the Visual Art Department usually held the last week in May. Artwork from all the various art classes will be selected by their art teacher for display in the Farrell Gym.  Students participate in this artistic celebration through the following:  displaying of artwork, printing of Art Show T-shirts, posters, postcards, organizing the set up and break down of all artwork and materials and lastly demonstrating different materials, techniques and styles during the show.


  • PVHS has implemented a Unity Garden (greenhouse and vegetable garden) where gardening offers hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in a wide array of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, math, language arts (e.g., through garden journaling), visual arts (e.g., through critical thinking and problem solving skills along with garden design and decoration), and nutrition.

    The Unity Garden mainstream students in the ABA program where they have become an integral part of Passaic Valley’s “Unity Garden.” This large, courtyard garden grows vegetables, bushes, and flowers. The ABA students have planted large patches of annual flowers that attract butterflies, moths, and bees, which help insure that the vegetable plants are pollinated. During annual “build” days, they team with students in STEAM classes to fill wheelbarrows of soil, fill the raised beds, and plant vegetables. They also help maintain the garden by watering and weeding, especially during the summer months when most students and teachers aren't present. Science, Tech, Art and Math teachers and students collaborate with our ABA program.





Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Jennifer Chelel

BA in Graphic Design
MAT Masters in the Arts of Teaching

Art Explorations
Painting and Photographic Sources
Painting Honors - Out of Your Head, Onto the Page



Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Carolyn Ingraham

BA Art Education/Ceramics
Art Explorations
Drawing Communications
Cartooning - From Hand to Screen
Honors Portfolio




Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Melanie Vasa

BA Printmaking
MA Jewelry & Metalsmithing
Film Photography
Digital Imaging
AP Studio Art 2-D Design