Eileen Murray remembers when she was first interviewed for a job as a painting facilitator in Matheny’s Arts Access Program. It was 2001, and she was so excited about the possibility of working in the program, she thought, “I hope they hire me, because I’m just going to show up for work.” Fortunately, Murray was hired, and, in 2011, was named director of the program. On March 27th, she received an award as Outstanding Professional in the Arts from Morris Arts at its annual Celebrate the Arts event.
Arts Access provides people with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts. Tom Werder, executive director of Morris Arts, introduced Murray, saying that she “is committed to enriching the lives of people with disabilities.” Murray, pointing out that all Arts Access artists have physical disabilities, added that, “the work they create is astounding. I am so lucky to work with these tremendously talented artists.”
Other awardees were: Dr. James Gallagher; the Lauren & Emily Failla Foundation; John Pietrowski, artistic director of Playwrights Theatre; teaching artist Joanna Pang Atkins; MetLife Foundation; and Zufall Health Center. Morris Arts, located in Morristown, NJ, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the community through 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.”
Full Circle 2011 Dimensions, the annual celebration of the Matheny’s Arts Access Program, highlighted the many dimensions of the program’s artists. “They may be painters,” noted Eileen Murray, the program’s director. “They may be playwrights; they may be dancers or choreographers. Arts Access gives them the opportunity to sample all that and to find their passion.”
Arts Access enables people with disabilities to create fine art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators. At Full Circle 2011, held Saturday, November 5, 42 pieces of visual art were exhibited during a reception in the gallery. In addition, a stage presentation showcased dance, drama and poetry. Professional dancers and actors, and some Arts Access staff members, performed with the Arts Access artists.
During the gallery reception, food tasting stations were donated by Ciao, Basking Ridge; cocoLuxe Fine Pastries, Peapack; Due Terre Enoteca, Bernardsville; Gladstone Tavern, Gladstone; 3 West Restaurant, Basking Ridge; and Village Office Supply, Somerset.
Speaking to a packed theater prior to the stage presentation, Steve Proctor, Matheny president, pointed out that Matheny patients often have great difficulty communicating, but, “Arts Access provides them with an opportunity for creative expression.” It reflects, he added, Matheny’s efforts, “to enrich their entire lives, to provide them with a full spectrum of life experiences.”
Pamela Cembrook, a resident of Bernardsville and Matheny trustee, was honorary chair of the event. Artist Dan Fenelon was curator of the visual arts exhibit.
Above, actress Alexandra Hellquist reads “My Pakistani Princess,” written by Mike Cornely, right.
Below, “Group Home” by Ellen Kane.
When Eileen Murray joined Matheny Medical Center’s Arts Access Staff in 2001, one of her first jobs was to design the invitation for the first Full Circle event. This year, her first as the Director of Arts Access, marks her 11th Full Circle event, which has become an annual celebration of the program.
Murray, shown here working with Arts Access artist T.J. Christian, became Director in August 2011. She describes Full Circle as, “a culmination and celebration of the work that has been done by the Arts Access artists. Some of it’s new; some of it is work that just hasn’t been shown previously. The main goal, though, is to showcase the artists and their work.”
The title of Full Circle 2011 is “Dimensions,” which, Murray says, is meant to represent, “the different dimensions of each of the artists. They may be painters; they may be playwrights; they may be dancers or choreographers. Arts Access gives them the opportunity to sample all that and to find their one passion or several different passions. The work that’s performed and exhibited is a reflection of the multi-faceted dimensions of the program.”
Full Circle 2011 will be held Saturday, November 5, in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus. It will consist of a reception for visual art, from 3-4 p.m., followed by a stage presentation featuring dance, drama and poetry and concluding with another hour devoted to showcasing the visual art. “We hire professional actors and dancers to perform the work as our artists direct,” Murray explains. “The goal is to present the work in the most professional manner true to the artist’s vision.”
To register for the Full Circle show, log onto www.matheny.org and click on Full Circle Dimensions under What’s New or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260.