In addition to teaching at Golda Och, Ms. Charlap gives private art lessons and has a side business painting pet portraits.
Her artwork has been exhibited in several galleries including the Gas Gallery in Maplewood and the Pierro Gallery in South Orange.
“Next thing I know, I’ve got 20 pieces and I’m doing a show,” she laughed. “My home is filled with art.”
Students brightened the room with their most recent creation, hand-painted tallitot, or Jewish prayer shawls. The students used hot wax as a resist on the fabric before they painted, a look much like batik textiles.
This year, Ms. Charlap received a new “toy” for her classroom – a fine art printing press. Printmaking, she said, is her favorite medium now.
“I love the richness and technical requirements of this particular medium,” she said excitingly.
Ms. Charlap began printmaking while working on her degree at Montclair State University where she was greatly inspired by her teacher.
“I hope in many ways that I can be like that,” she said. “As a teacher you hope to be able to influence someone that way.”
Ms. Charlap has certainly made her mark at Golda Och Academy. A former student sent a letter about his decision to minor in art at the University of Maryland after having taken one of her classes at Golda Och.
“He said he loved the class so much and that it changed his direction,” Ms. Charlap said proudly.
She also runs art clinics for Middle School and High Schools students during lunch and recess. Other students visit during breaks to work on a project or stop by just to say hello.
“Even kids who haven’t always had an interest in art usually come around to it,” she said. “You might surprise yourself. It’s all in your attitude. Do your best to keep an open mind and take chances. None of this is ever a failure.”
You can see Ms. Charlap’s pet illustrations at http://www.illustratedpet.com/.
GO Behind the Scenes is a new column on our blog, which will highlight a different faculty or staff member every two weeks. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured, please email DOshri@GoldaOchAcademy.org.