Brightening up the workplace
Several years ago, Tim Peters, president of Peapack, NJ-based Tim Peters and Company and MedActionPlan.com LLC, purchased a painting by one of Matheny’s Arts Access artists at a silent auction. “Everyone who comes into the office loves the picture and comments on it,” he says. “We love how it looks in our office. It brightens up our day.”
More recently, Peters was reading the Winter 2015 issue of Matheny Matters, Matheny’s newsletter, when he spotted an article about a visit to the Visiting Nurse Association of the Somerset Hills in Basking Ridge, NJ, by two Arts Access artists. At the bottom of the page were images of two Arts Access paintings, “Spiderweb” by Jess Evans and an untitled piece by T.J. Christian. Peters contacted Arts Access and purchased both. Then, when he came to pick up the paintings, he met with both artists, who told Peters they would like to visit his office so they can see their paintings hanging. Plans are already in the works for these visits.
Arts Access enables artists with disabilities to create art without boundaries. Tim Peters and Company creates innovative print and software-based programs for the healthcare community. The firm has been on Peapack’s Main Street for more than 30 years.
For several years, artwork created by artists in Matheny’s Arts Access Program has been hanging throughout the Adult Day Center of the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills in Basking Ridge, NJ. “We are thrilled to have the Arts Access artwork here,” said Maria M. Keenan, VNA Adult Day Center manager. “Our patients may not be able to put in words what the artwork means to them, but you can see the enthusiasm in their eyes.”
On Wednesday, September 24, two Arts Access artists visited the VNA and spoke about their artwork and their life at Matheny to a group of VNA members who come regularly to the Day Center. Jess Evans pointed out that, in addition to painting, she dances, choreographs, writes drama, directs plays and acts. She told the Day Center members, “I would like to dance for you one day.”
Yasin Reddick said he writes stories, plays and is working on his autobiography. He paints and also creates computer-generated digital art. “I don’t let my disability stop me from doing anything,” he added. Evans interjected: “Anyone can paint, even you guys.”
Matheny’s Arts Access Program empowers individuals with disabilities to create art without boundaries. Through the use of innovative systems and techniques, participants can take part in the visual, performing and literary arts. Regardless of their disability, the artists are provided with the tools and materials needed to produce complete pieces of work.
The VNA of Somerset Hills has been providing compassionate, comprehensive and innovative home health and hospice care, adult day services and community wellness programs to individuals and families in Morris and Somerset County communities since 1904.
Arts Access at the Grounds for Sculpture
Matheny’s Arts Access Program will have a visual art exhibit, “Reflections,” on display at the Grounds for Sculpture in Trenton from September 21 through November 2. A special reception at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 20, will feature live performances of drama and dance created by Arts Access artists and readings of works written by Arts Access participants. The visual art will be exhibited in the Educational Gallery.
In addition to the exhibit, the Grounds for Sculpture is currently offering scarves, neckties and note cards with Arts Access designs in its Sculpture Gift Shop. Arts Access provides individuals with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts.
The Grounds for Sculpture was founded in 1992 to promote an understanding of and appreciation for contemporary sculpture by maintaining a 42-acre sculpture park, organizing accessible exhibitions and interpreting these exhibitions through publications, lectures, workshops and other educational programs.
Spotlighting artists with disabilities
Eleven Arts Access artists have their visual art on display at the Collaborative Art Exhibition at Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School in Newark. In addition to showcasing the work of Arts Access artists, the exhibit features the art of three other organizations for people with disabilities that have adapted the Arts Access Program and its methodology: the Arc of Mercer County in Ewing, NJ; Hattie Larlham Creative Arts Program in Twinsburg, Ohio; and WAE Center of Jewish Services for the Developmentally Disabled in West Orange, NJ.
The exhibition opened in May and runs through the end of August. It was coordinated by Noreen Gomez, the facilities program specialist at New Jersey Medical School, and was launched at a reception on Sunday, May 18.
Arts Access gives individuals with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts. The Collaborative Art Exhibition is one of three four-month shows at the New Jersey Medical School, ranging from paintings and photography to sculpture, jewelry and textiles.
Visual art created by artists in Matheny’s Arts Access program will be featured at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ, as part of “Access-ABILITY,” a series of exhibitions displaying fine art created by artists with disabilities. The Arts Access artwork will be shown from April 24 through April 27. An opening reception, 5:30–7 p.m. on April 24, will also feature readings of original work created by Arts Access writers.
Arts Access provides individuals with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts. For more information on Access-ABILITY, log onto www.morrismuseum.org or email email@example.com. For more information on Arts Access, log onto www.artsaccessprogram.org.
“Outstanding Professional in the Arts”
Eileen Murray, director of Matheny’s Arts Access Program, will be receiving Morris Arts’ “Outstanding Professional in the Arts” award at the organization’s Celebrate the Arts event on March 27 at the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre in Morristown, NJ. Murray is receiving the award because of her “outstanding accomplishments, commitment and contribution to encouraging and fostering the arts in our community.”
Arts Access, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, gives people with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts. Murray, a working artist for 30 years, joined the Arts Access staff in 2001. She was named director in 2011.
Morris Arts, located in Morristown, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973. Its mission is to “engage and build community through the arts.”
“This was really awesome!” That comment by Heather Kosinski, a young woman from Kenilworth, NJ, was typical of the reaction to Full Circle 2013: Reflections, the 20th anniversary celebration of Matheny’s Arts Access Program. U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ 07), honorary chair of the event, described the artwork on display as “truly magnificent,” adding his “congratulations to all of the artists and all of those who made this event possible.”
“We provide the creative freedom for the artists to express themselves,” explained Eileen Murray, director of the Arts Access Program, “but it is the artists who bring this work to life. The art you see today is a true reflection of 20 years of hundreds of individuals who have created thousands of personal reflections.”
The true stars of the afternoon were the artists and their art, of course, whether it was visual art such as “Flower Power,” an acrylic on canvas by Jess Evans, or Rasheedah Mahali’s moving tribute to the late artist Jason Christie or “Alone,” a dance piece choreographed and performed by Natalia Manning. More than 70 pieces of visual art, curated by former Arts Access facilitator Scott Beil, were on display in the gallery, and 14 performances of dance, drama, prose and poetry were presented in a multi-media stage presentation, which also visually traced the development of Arts Access from its beginnings in 1993 to today. Steve Proctor, Matheny president, paid tribute to former medical director Dr. Gabor Barabas and former president Robert Schonhorn, who founded the program after asking the question: “Can people with disabilities create fine art?”
Arts Access received a $10,000 Challenge America Fast-Track grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Full Circle celebration, and the program also recently received an Excellence in the Arts award from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission and the Friends of Somerset County Culture & Heritage, Inc. Major sponsors of Full Circle were: Gold, Day Pitney LLP and The Providence Bank Foundation; Silver, The Hartford; and Bronze, Affinity Federal Credit Union, The Angeletti Group, Financial Resources Federal Credit Union and ShopRite of Hunterdon County. Food sponsors were: Café Azzurro and cocoLuxe fine pastries, Peapack; Gladstone Tavern, Gladstone; 3 West and Urban Table, Basking Ridge; and Village Office Supply, Somerset.
Twenty years ago, the founders of Matheny’s Arts Access Program asked the question, “Can people with disabilities create fine art?” That question has been answered, and the answer is ‘yes’, said Eileen Murray, director of the program, while accepting an Excellence in the Arts Award from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission and the Friends of Somerset County Culture & Heritage, Inc. The award, for Arts in the Community, was one of seven presented on October 24 at the Twin Brooks Country Club in Watchung, N.J.
Arts Access was nominated for the award by Karen Pinzolo, director of community engagement for Art Pride New Jersey. While introducing Murray, Pinzolo described Arts Access as an “amazing program, a national model,” adding that the art is “a celebration of life and the human spirit. I was blown away when I saw it, and you will be, too.”
Both Murray and Pinzolo invited members of the audience to attend Full Circle 2013 Reflections, the 20th anniversary of Arts Access, which will be held Saturday, November 2, in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus in Peapack. Two Arts Access artists, Cheryl Chapin and Yasin Reddick, attended the awards dinner, and a sample of their artwork was on display.
Arts Access makes it possible for people with disabilities to create fine art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators. In a short video shown at the dinner, Keith Garletts, Arts Access outreach coordinator and program specialist, listed the four principles of the program: freedom of choice, neutrality, no preconceptions and artists assisting artists.
A sweet partnership
CocoLuxe fine pastries opened on Main Street in Peapack in May 2004. Six months later, the bakery-café became a food sponsor for Full Circle, the annual celebration of Matheny’s Arts Access Program, providing an array of delicious desserts for the event in the gallery of the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center.
The 20th anniversary of Arts Access, Full Circle 2013 Reflections, will be held Saturday, November 2, from 3–6 p.m., and, of course, cocoLuxe will be there. “We really enjoy being involved in this event,” said Paula Canari, cocoLuxe’s current owner, noting that it will be the shop’s 10th year at Full Circle. “We’re very selective about what we participate in, and I love the fact that Matheny is so local.” The most popular pastry item among the Full Circle audience, according to Canari, is a lemon meringue tartlet, but “anything pumpkin does well too.”
Other food/beverage sponsors at Full Circle are: Café Azzurro, Peapack; Gladstone Tavern, Gladstone; 3 West and Urban Table, Basking Ridge; and Village Office Supply, Somerset. For more information about Full Circle or to order tickets, call 908.234.0011, ext. 260, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Circle preview
In preparation for the visual arts exhibit at Full Circle 2013 Reflections, the 20th anniversary of Matheny’s Arts Access Program, curator Scott Beil plans to “highlight as many of our artists as possible, focusing on the voices of both our current artists and many who have passed on and left their powerful artistic footprints behind. It is my deepest intention to fully highlight the strong caliber of work that our artists have quietly been creating up on this little hill in Peapack over the past 20 years.”
Many of the Arts Access artists do not have use of their hands and arms, and many of them cannot speak. However, professional artist-facilitators act as an instrument for the artists with disabilities, using an elaborate menu system of shapes, colors, brush strokes, textures, paint-application options and other techniques that can be applied, if necessary, using only yes and no signals from the artist.
Displayed on this page are but two examples of the paintings and works of visual art that will be on display during the gallery reception that will be part of Full Circle 2013 Reflections. The entire program also includes a multi-media fine arts showcase featuring dance, choreography, drama and creative writing. For more information or to order tickets, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260 or email email@example.com.
Outsider Art Inside The Beltway
Art Enables is an organization in Washington, DC, that focuses on artists with disabilities, giving them the resources and support they need to be visual artists. Their artwork is exhibited and sold at the Art Enables studio, at host venues and on the organization’s website.
From October 12-November 1, Art Enables will sponsor the eighth annual “Outsider Art Inside the Beltway” show at its gallery at 2204 Rhode Island Ave. NE in the nation’s capital. And Arts Access artist Kevin White will have an untitled painting in the show. Congratulations, Kevin!
Arts Access gives people with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts.