Not art for art’s sake
Bayonne High School teacher is an artist in her own right
by By Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Feb 12, 2014 | 4884 views | 0 0 comments | 121 121 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bayonne High School art teacher Charlann Meluso stands by her signature piece on display.
Bayonne High School art teacher Charlann Meluso stands by her signature piece on display.
For Bayonne native Charlann Meluso, art has been a lifelong calling. As a child, she loved to draw and create, taking art every year she could at Wilson Grammar and Bayonne High School.

As an adult, her art has coalesced into something quite rewarding.

The 39-year veteran of the Bayonne School District not only teaches it to high-school students, she also is an artist herself, becoming recognized locally and regionally.

Meluso not only uses Photoshop software to instruct her Bayonne High computer graphics classes, but she uses it to create her own photographic images. And the local art scene has begun to take notice.

Meluso won first place at the Watchung Arts Center members’ show for her photo montage “Diametric Fusion.” She was also awarded her own solo show in the center’s lower gallery next year as a part of the prize.

As a member of the Visual Arts Center in Summit, Meluso received the Promise Award last year for “The World through Ana’s Eyes.” She received the 2012 Photography Award for her digital photograph “Love is Original.”

Meluso says that her personal successes in the arts world help her become more effective in the classroom.

In her computer graphics classes at BHS, Meluso uses her own art as examples for some of the students’ assignments, such as to explain how repeat patterns and photo montages are created. She also allows students to critique her work, often not disclosing that the pieces are hers.

Eight years ago that exercise had an unexpected result, when one student really took to one of Meluso’s creations.

“She tried to analyze the work, and she just loved the image,” said Meluso. “It really struck a chord with her. I ended giving her a piece of the work because she liked it so much. She was thrilled.”

Meluso’s initial interest in art included serious painting and woodcutting periods. She also tried drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and batik.

Computer graphics

But her new love of art was engendered in 1995, when she began to teach computer graphics, Illustrator and Photoshop. A whole new world opened up to her. And her joy in art was taken to a new level.

“The satisfaction that I derive is when someone can look at my work and share in it,” Meluso said. “It means I’ve touched someone with my art. I create for the love of creating. I hope my audience can enjoy my art when they view it.”

Current exhibits

Apparently that is exactly what’s happening now. Also a photographer, she has pieces in an Overlook Hospital exhibit, “Windows on the World,” that features about 20 photographers from the New Jersey Photography Forum.

Three of her works are also on display of in the show “Manmade” at Sussex County College in Newton, running now through March 10. The exhibit features “straight” pictures of manmade items, without any manipulation by the photographers allowed.

Meluso is also an active member of the Art Circle of Bayonne, and she exhibits her artwork regularly at the Bayonne Community Museum. She also exhibits annually in the Art Educators of New Jersey show at Kean University in Union.

‘Artfully’ educated

Her computer graphics students have been the recipient of numerous local, national, and international awards and have been accepted into prestigious art schools and colleges as a result of their outstanding graphic arts portfolios.

Meluso honed her artistic skills at New Jersey City University (then Jersey City State College) where she received a bachelor’s in Art Education, and Kean, where she was awarded a master’s in Fine Arts. She also received her supervisory certification there.

To view Meluso’s art, or for more information, visit

Joseph Passantino may be reached at

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