Creative Duo

Sarah Knudtson & Stephen Germana

Each is an artist and a teacher who returned home to Palm Beach County to help high school students find a voice in their own artwork.

Stephen Germana and Sarah Knudtson were living in Chicago, when a career opportunity presented itself four years ago. Jupiter Community High School needed teachers to spearhead a photography program, so the life partners headed south.

Since then, the school’s photography program has flourished, expanding subjects and levels of study to accommodate interested students. “It’s been fun to watch something grow; and this is the first year some of our students are graduating,” says Knudtson.

She and Germana, who now live in West Palm Beach, became friends after college but have known each other since they attended Palm Beach County School of the Arts, now A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

Student Photographer Allison WodarOn March 10, they will participate in teacher workshops at the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) Florida East Coast Chapter’s High School Photography Program Master Class and Exhibition at Florida Atlantic University’s Theatre Lab in Boca Raton. In its third year, the program is designed to showcase student photography and expose young artists to nationally acclaimed photographers. Sixteen students from Jupiter High will compete in the juried exhibition. The other participating schools are A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Boca Raton Community High School and Pembroke Pines Charter High School. “We are very excited that our students will be able to talk to other students who are interested in photography and the arts,” says Germana.

Photography Student Holly AtkinsonThe NSAL photography exhibition will be judged by a panel of award-winning photojournalists that includes retired New York Times Photographer Stephen Crowley, who shared a 2002 Pulitzer Prize with a team of Times photographers covering the war in Afghanistan. Knudtson has no doubt their Jupiter students will be serious contenders. “Being a small program, we’re very proud of them. They did well in the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, with six students going to nationals.”

Knudtson says more students applied for the upcoming exhibition than they could accept and it has provided for valuable life lessons. “We had them apply by putting together portfolios and they had to meet deadlines. We’re helping them determine which photos to display.”

Stephen Germana Photography Teacher

Knudtson and Germana both earned Masters of Fine Arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Germana also is an experimental musician on the double bass. He describes his greatest pleasure in the classroom as encouraging students to take chances and make mistakes. “School is structured and they come to learn that photography and art is a grey area.”

Knudtson, a multidisciplinary artist, also feels at home in the classroom. “As a working artist, I really enjoy teaching. The art we make explores and answers questions, so teaching is an offshoot of my art.”

Both educators understand the importance of being part of an artistic community, so they are pleased students participating in the photography exhibition also become junior members of NSAL. “So it’s not just their small community that they’ve developed but a larger community they can become a part of, as junior members,” explains Knudtson.

NSAL’s High School Photography Program Exhibition takes place on March 10 at Florida Atlantic University’s Theatre Lab in Boca Raton, along with a master photography class in cell phone photography and intellectual property rights.

It makes sense that Knudtson and Germana would welcome the opportunity for teen artists to find a voice outside the classroom too.

Sarah Knudtson

F – French fries or tater tots? French Fries (crinkle cut)

R – Right brained or left brained? 50/50

E – Email or carrier pigeon? I love pigeons! Bert & Ernie 4-eva!

S – Sunshine or moonlight? Moonlight

H- Homebody or party animal? Homebody

Stephen Germana

F – French fries or tater tots? Lately… tots

R – Right brained or left brained? Right

E – Email or carrier pigeon? Telegram

S – Sunshine or moonlight? Moonlight

H- Homebody or party animal? Homebody