‘Dream come true’

The ‘Dream Come True’ exhibit.

Pearl Chiang, RN, a nurse on Matheny’s adult red zone, is also an accomplished artist. Her artwork is currently on exhibit at the Bridgewater Township, NJ, Library through August 30. Chiang became a nurse after her son was diagnosed with diabetes 13 years ago. Her art, she says, helps relieve stress and helps her find inspiration in ways she didn’t know were possible.

Chiang, who has enjoyed painting since she was a child, always starts with a pencil sketch, followed by a watercolor pencil. “Then, after the watercolor pencil,” she says, “I try to use some material such as oil paint or a special effect like embroidery or a pearl to make it come to life.” Chiang’s paintings are always colorful and often depict beautiful women. This exhibit, the third at the Bridgewater Library, also includes paintings of animals and birds. And it’s anchored by a large-scale 3D painting she calls “Mermaid.”

The library is located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater. Hours are Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

‘ARTS’ opening

From left, Arts Access director Eileen Murray, artist Cindy Shanks and Matheny president Steve Proctor.

Three artists from Matheny’s Arts Access Program attended the opening reception on May 19 for “New Jersey Medical School – ARTS,” an exhibit on display in the Medical Science Building of UMDNJ in Newark from May through August. The artists – Jessica Evans, Luis Rodriguez and Cindy Shanks – had paintings in the exhibit, along with nine other Arts Access artists. Arts Access enables people with disabilities to create fine art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators.

Art from three Arts Access satellite programs – the WAE Center of JSDD (Jewish Services for the Developmentally Disabled of Metrowest, Inc.) in West Orange, NJ; the Arc of Mercer County in Ewing, NJ; and Hattie Larlham in Twinsburg, Ohio – are part of the ARTS exhibit as well. In fact, staff members from Hattie Larlham, a facility for children and adults with developmental disabilities, visited Matheny on May 20 to spend the day with Arts Access staff members and artists.

Jessica Evans in front of her painting, “Trapped and I Can’t Get Out.”


Beautiful success

From left, nursing staff members Tammy Culp, Lexie McKevitt, Pearl Chiang, Janice Lori and Nancy Bonello.

Matheny nurse Pearl Chiang’s October art exhibit, “Life is Beautiful,” at The Bridgewater, NJ, library has ended, but the memories of it will linger for those who attended. As previously reported, the display consisted of 30 paintings, which were rotated because the space available could only hold 10.

The exhibit was supported by Chiang’s many coworkers among the Matheny nursing staff and was highlighted by visits from her parents and other relatives from her native Taiwan. Chiang moved to the United States from Taiwan 22 years ago.

In the fall of 2011, she had a 38-painting exhibit at the Art Yards Café in Taipei. And she recently enlisted a group of high school students to assist her in completing a mural, “Paradise,” in the children’s dining room at Matheny.

Art with Soul

“People with disabilities,” says Dan Fenelon, “have exactly the same feelings as you and I. Art is a way for them to express those feelings.”

Fenelon, a Madison, N.J.-based artist, is the curator for the visual arts exhibit at Full Circle 2011 Dimensions, the annual celebration of the Matheny Medical and Educational Center’s Arts Access Program to be held November 5 in Matheny’s Robert Schonhorn Arts Center.

Some of the artwork selected by Fenelon for Full Circle will be
what he describes as “representational art. It’s very emotional work.” The Arts Access artists, he says, “are becoming more sophisticated. There’s more expressionism, rather than abstract expressionism. They’re starting to let the walls down a little. There is a deeper level to this art. It’s very

For people who have never been to Full Circle or seen art created by Arts Access artists,  says Fenelon (left), “Get ready to be surprised. This is as good as art you’ll see anywhere. These people are true artists. Their work is very soulful.”

Thirty-nine pieces of visual art will be displayed at Full Circle. Food and beverages for the receptions have been donated by Ciao restaurant, Basking Ridge; cocoLuxe Fine Pastries, Peapack; Due Terre Enoteca, Bernardsville; Gladstone Tavern, Gladstone; 3 West Restaurant, Basking Ridge; and Village
Office Supply, Somerset.  Admission is $25.

To register, log onto www.matheny.org and click on Full Circle Dimensions under What’s New or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260.

Artistically able

Want to see paintings and digital art that “challenge the senses and push the boundaries of what you think of as art?” Check out the painting on this page by Arts Access artist Shaleena Tomassini at Matheny.  Madison-based artist Dan Fenelon describes the Arts Access artists’ work as “exciting” and Matheny President Steve Proctor says these artists “refuse to be defined by their disabilities.”

The artwork was created as part of the Arts Access Program, which provides professional “artist-facilitators” to help the disabled artists translate their visions into reality. The art will be on view at “Full Circle 2011: Dimensions,” an annual celebration of the program set for November 5 at the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus. The show will be curated by Fenelon, a painter, sculptor and muralist whose work includes a mural on the side of the Luna Stage Building in West Orange.  There will also be a stage presentation highlighting other art disciplines such as dance, drama, prose and poetry. For more information about Full Circle, call 908-234-0011, ext. 260, or download this flyer.