Inspiring Minds - The Largest Arts Educator Exhibit in Essex County

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Art educators are artist in their own right. Sometimes we forget, but the Inspiring Minds Art Educator Exhibit at ValleyArts Community Gallery takes time every year to remind us of this fact. This exhibit showcases the work of the art educators who are inspiring and teaching students throughout Essex County.

This is the third year ValleyArts is producing this exhibit and it has grown from nine artists the first year and 15 the second year to 31 artists this year, exhibiting over 65 pieces of work. The opening reception on April 11, 2019 attracted 120 art appreciators to the Community Gallery to meet the artists and view the work.

New Seen: The Artists of Orange High School

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This March marks our second annual Community Gallery exhibit in partnership with Orange High School.

The New Seen exhibit is designed to give the talented artists of Orange High School the experience of having their work presented in a professional gallery space. We coordinate with the teachers to make sure every piece is properly represented and priced, then we design and hang the show with the same level of detail that professional artists would receive.

This year the exhibit features 42 artists with 2D and 3D work in a variety of media — from pen and ink to acrylic to ceramics. The opening reception on March 7 attracted a crowd of 50 people and the artists were thrilled to see work from their fellow artists sell during the evening. One artist featured in the show, who is heading off to art school next year, expressed her excitement to have professional gallery show to list on her college application. Based on her work — and the work of the other artists in the exhibit — we can expect to hear more about these talented young people in the future.

Participating Artists:
Adrian Lorenzana, Angeles Ortiz-Colon, Angelica Deoleo, Billy Castey, Briana Adams, Briana Thomas, Brianna Perpignan, Charlton Dapaah, Chennel Mahabir-Smith, Dimas Mejia, Erica Francois, Giovanni Lockhart, Haydee Lema, Henry Palacios, India Henry, Jamiliyah Coage, Jefferson Sanchez, Jennifer Pillcorema, Joseph Menjivar, Julie Joizil, Karen Chiriboga, Khalfani Chambers, Kimberly Matias, Kyere Moore, Leodson Jean-Baptiste, Marbely Roca, Marc Francois, Marlon Arevaio, Michael Perez, Mireya Morales, Raul Guallpa, Sarah Orema, Shatrice Hertilien, Taja Peart, Tony Fernandez, Tovoyn Holmes, Trameesh Robertson, Yesenia Urias, and Ysewrantz Lubin.

Thank you to teachers Chris Cosmillo, Nate Bown, Meg Guerriero, and Shana Falda. We appreciate your dedication and hard work!

We love working with the art teachers and students at Orange High School and this is one of our favorite shows of the year. We look forward to producing this exhibit again next March.

New Seen: The Artists of Orange High School is on display until March 31, 2019. Gallery hours: Tue-Sat 9am-5pm. 400 S. Jefferson St., Orange, NJ.

Faces of Veracity: Paintings by Christina Duarte comes to the Community Gallery

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Artist Christina Duarte will be showing a new body of work at ValleyArts from January 10th through February 1st, 2019. Valley Arts is located at 400 South Jefferson Blvd, Orange, NJ 07050 and will host an opening night on Thursday, January 10th from 6pm-8pm. Meet the artist, view the work and enjoy a fresh commentary on the female portrait.

Each of us has people that have impacted our lives. John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself.” Yet, in today’s world we are more and more isolated in our daily experiences, living  “virtual” lives where we are expected to uphold a certain persona in order to achieve acceptance. This is especially true for women. Society requires women to behave in a particular way, hiding our vulnerability and true selves both for safety and social inclusion.

“The paintings I have created for Faces of Veracity show both the external mask and the internal conflicts of each individual. These are women who have greatly influenced my life and whom have gifted me with a view of their most authentic selves. I have done my best, through paint, to do them justice. In representing these two sides of each individual I am creating a dialogue about women who feel the need to cover their true feelings while reflecting the current state of our culture that enforces this behavior. As a body of work these paintings represent a collection of narratives of strong women who are willing to allow this revelation as a platform to speak out against prejudice, sexism and the stigma of personal struggle. In the poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou writes, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I am honored and privileged to be allowed to portray these stories. There are many more to be told.”

Notes from the Creative Edge - December 2018

Friends of ValleyArts,

Over the past months I spoke about creativity in its many guises -- youth, food, and entrepreneurs to name a few. What is clear when reviewing the year is this: ValleyArts has become a center of creative thinking. This artfullbean cafehappened because creating a community gathering space, the artfullbean cafe, has allowed people to meet, discuss, shape, and plan their creative ideas. ValleyArts has created opportunity for its community.

Opportunity is not a birthright, but is something that should be afforded to all.

When I think about it, opportunity is at the very core of the ValleyArts mission of Community Through Creativity. We offer opportunities in the following areas:

Youth: After school programs, summer camps, poetry slams, creative workshops.

Artists: Professional gallery space, exhibit opportunities, teaching opportunities, pop-up events, low-cost studio space.

Performers: Second Saturdays performance series, Artfull Holiday performance series, pop-up events.

Creative Entrepreneurs: Workshop series, artfullbean Workshop taught by local entrepreneurboutique vendors, Artfull Holiday boutique show, pop-up events, low-cost office space.

For the community: A warm inviting gathering space with great coffee, baked goods, and one of a kind gifts all in a space conducive to creative thinking; a professional art gallery with a program that is varied and thought provoking; a diverse calendar of programming that is Juliana Carr in the artfullbean cafeeclectic, engaging and always intriguing; low-cost rental spaces available to the community (including the launch in early 2019 of The Listening Post, a sound booth rental for podcasting).

Creating opportunity is important. It's important in creative education for encouraging confident and creative thinkers who grow into strong community members. Economic opportunity for artists, performers, and entrepreneurs is good for the individuals and also supports the whole community. Providing opportunity for all brings people together, generates creative collaborations, and results in a stronger community, both locally and beyond.

As you can see, ValleyArts provides opportunity, but we would like to do more. This is where you come in. We need your help to extend opportunity even further, to reach more children, artists, and entrepreneurs who otherwise might not have it.

Please consider donating to our cause, shopping in our boutique, attending our events, and sharing ‘Notes from the Creative Edge’ with all of your friends, family, and associates. Every dollar helps us create more opportunity, especially to those who need it most.

I would like to wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons.

Here’s to a great 2019!

Creatively Yours,
Jeremy Moss

COACTION Collaborative Art Exhibit

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This October marked our first ever collaborative art exhibit and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

We collaborated with Arts Unbound to produce a show of artist collaborations. It is truly inspiring to see the ways artists worked together to create projects together, all working in different and unique ways.

Show description:
What happens when artists make a conscious effort to collaborate actively and in a relatively short space of time? 

Coaction showcases what happens when artists conceive and execute collaborative projects with other artists, in their immediate circle or beyond. When artists work together to produce a work of art, the resulting piece is greater than a single creator and transcends the individual vision.

It is interesting and inspiring not only to work together with another organization on a show, stretching beyond our own boundaries to connect with new artists, but to also see artists work together, come up with new ideas, and create amazing and creative works of art that might not otherwise come into the world. Some of the artists knew each other well, some had just met recently. They were all excited to be working together, and we were excited to see the results.

The show is displayed in both our Community Gallery and Arts Unbound’s Dora Stern Gallery, and is on display through Nov. 4.

The idea of collaborating goes beyond just making art together. Through collaborations, we can all life each other up, and be inspired by each other.

It’s no surprise that we are looking forward to doing this again next year.

Notes from the Creative Edge - October 2018

Friends of ValleyArts,

Last month, I spoke about change and changing mindset. How do you change a mindset? And the next question could be, ‘is it worth the effort?’ There you have it, ‘worth’, that’s value.

Value: everything has one, tangible or intangible.

Value pertains to so much ValleyArts work on its mission:
- The intangible value of having a cafe as a creative meeting place.
- The intangible value of relationships and collaborations.
- The tangible value of a fundraiser.
- The tangible value of a piece of art.

The list goes on. We apply, knowingly or unknowingly, value to so much in our lives.

There is no golden rule to valuation, especially when it comes to the art and nonprofit worlds. Creativity in these areas is highly undervalued.

Too often artists/creatives in the nonprofit world are ask to do projects for little or no compensation. Would you get a plumber to fix your pipes for little or no money? Would you get an electrician to repair your wiring for little or no money? The answer would be no in both cases because you are paying for a skill that has value. Yet, when it comes to an artist, musician or other such creatives the lack of value for their skill set is astounding.

Not long ago, I witnessed two instances of artists being asked to work for little or nothing. In both cases the hiring organizations said there wasn’t enough money to pay more. In both cases, the hiring organization made the assumption that the artist would be willing to work at an extremely reduced rate or for free. 

Undervalued and misguided.

Miguel ITOBudgeting is tough, especially in the nonprofit sector. But without proper budgeting, creatives will never be fairly compensated. If a nonprofit organization’s Board of Directors doesn’t understand the cost of hiring creatives, and if the institutions giving grants don’t understand the cost of hiring creatives, then they -- artists, musicians, writers, performers -- won’t ever be properly compensated for their work.

Alas, I have no magic formula to fix this continuing undervaluation of artists and creatives in the nonprofit sector. But here at ValleyArts, we are slowly trying to change the narrative by attaching a monetary value to everything we do and always making sure we compensate creatives who provide services to us -- raising the awareness of value.

Monetizing does not have to be an negative word.

Whenever we work with creative people - artists, musicians, poets, food creatives, etc. - we always make sure to compensate them for their time and talents. Sometimes funds are tight and we can’t pay as much as we’d like, but we always pay something.

ValleyArts recently launched its ‘Recycled Canvas Project’ where we take used canvas, gesso them and make them available to artists. We were planning to make them free, but realized we would be undervaluing our efforts to make these canvases available to artists in need of them. Surprisingly, free is not always the best option and charity can be a difficult topic.

So ValleyArts came up with a $1 charge per canvas, irrespective of size; a value was placed on the time and effort it takes to collect and prepare these canvases. By charging just $1, ValleyArts is still making these canvases very accessible; with value. (You can donate used canvases anytime at ValleyArts, 400 S. Jefferson St, Orange NJ 07050, and watch our website and Facebook feed for purchase availability.)


Moving forward ValleyArts will continue to be mindful of values for artists, creatives and entrepreneurs who we work with. We hope you will give this some thought too.
Creatively Yours,
Jeremy Moss

Celebrate Creativity Fundraiser

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This year, our fall fundraiser was Celebrate Creativity! And celebrate we did! Four live performances, 10 local food entrepreneurs, mystery balloons, a community art project - and a lot of FUN! All for a great cause - raising money to continue our creative arts programs in the Valley Arts District.

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We had about 100 people in attendance and we are grateful to each and every person who came out, donated, sponsored, or otherwise supported this event. Because of your support, we can continue programs such as our Cirque Oranj Summer Camp, after school arts programs in the schools, gallery shows for emerging artists, workshops for entrepreneurs, and keeping our boutique space for local artists and makers open and running.

If you missed this event, don’t worry - our Halloween Costume Party is coming up on Oct 27 - live music with Emotional Rex, dancing, eats, and drinks. Tickets are $30 and will help support our new Saturday Creative Club for kids launching in January. Hope to see you there!