Notes from the Creative Edge - September 2018

Friends of ValleyArts,
As we move ValleyArts into its next decade, the world will bring change – like it or not – and these changes could be positive or negative. While we always strive to focus on the positive change, we do not shy away from combating negativity, especially if it effects positivity in the future. We try to steer clear of change that has nothing but negative outcomes, though in the current political climate this has proved to be a challenge in itself.

Change is easy for some and not so for others. This is often evident when changing cultures, behaviours, and thinking. ValleyArts often finds itself being a vanguard of change, both on small and larger scales.
Looking inward, we wanted to change the culture of how we achieve our mission. In the last year we changed our mission statement to ‘Community Through Creativity’, changed into an organization that partners with numerous municipalities, organizations, and individuals, and implemented youth programming such as ‘Cirque Oranj’ a circus summer camp. All positive change.

One of our biggest changes was turning some of our office space into a cafe and artist boutique. What a difference this bold decision made!

The artfullbean cafe and boutique has become a community meeting and gathering space for creative thinking. Not a day goes by without someone stopping by with a great idea, a creative proposal, a potential collaboration – the list goes on. A perfect example of creating a positive change.

However, not every partnership or collaboration has been positive in its outcome. What does ValleyArts do when this happens? We learn from the experience, looking at how to take positive facets and moments from something that did not work out as expected. 

Through these collaborations we have met some wonderful, creative people doing interesting things who we cannot wait to work with again. These experiences also led us to the doors of two outstanding individuals: Avril Bogle and Gregory Burrus. Avril teaches art at Forest Street school in the Orange School District and lives in the Valley Arts District. When we invited her to be our coordinator of PACarts, the youth programming arm of ValleyArts, she accepted without hesitation. Gregory Burrus is ‘Mr. Music’ – he programs music events all over Essex County. We invited him to come aboard as our music programmer. His debut at ValleyArts is the music program at our upcoming ‘Celebrate Creativity’ fundraiser. (More information and ticket link on our website.)

Affecting this change has brought us rewards and challenges, but in order to survive in the world of nonprofits, it was something that had to happen. Change is inevitable.

Moving forward, we will continue to seek new challenges and positive outcomes in all of ValleyArts programs, events, collaborations, and partnerships. By being agents of change, we will continually strive for outcomes that improve all facets of a creative life.

Please join us, as agents of change, at our first annual fundraiser, ’Celebrate Creativity’, on Friday 14th September 2018. This event will be a celebration of creativity that includes great food, music, art and fun.
Creatively Yours,
Jeremy Moss

PACarts Cirque Oranj Summer Camp

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For the second year running, we worked with the Orange Board of Education to produce the Cirque Oranj Circus Arts Summer Camp. Over 40 children participated, learning new skills while having a great time.

We partnered with Grins & Grins, two amazing people who bring the circus arts to schools and children through immersive programs. They, along with other amazing teachers, taught the campers juggling, unicycling, stilt walking and more. Our music teacher taught the kids drumming and performance. Our wonderful PACarts Coordinator, Avril Bogle, brought fine arts to the program.


It all culminated in a circus performance in from of an audience of friends and family - and let me tell you - these kids BROUGHT IT! What a performance! These aren’t easy skills to learn, but we were wowed by what these campers learned in a few weeks of camp.

Thank you to everyone who supported this camp! We can’t wait to do it all again next year!

When you support ValleyArts through our cafe, ticket purchases, art buying, membership, donations, or just attending our events, you help make programs like this possible. Thank you!

Notes from the Creative Edge - June 2018

Friends of ValleyArts,
May was Open Orange month at ValleyArts. Open Orange is our largest, most viewed - and only juried - art show of the year. This year we had more artists apply than ever before and it was very well received. We are always proud of this show, and grateful to all the artists who apply and participate as well as the collectors who purchase art. Let me give you a little history of this show.

Open Orange was born during a discussion about attracting artists to exhibit and become involved in the Valley Arts District. As an artist who was doing the northeast seaboard juried art show circuit at the time, my thoughts were “Why not do one in Orange?” ValleyArts board member, Nigel Freeman, who is employed at Swann Galleries in NYC, had the knowledge and the contacts in the art world to approach jurors of a high calibre. So in February 2014, the call was put out for artists to apply for the newly minted Open Orange.

We waited nervously, would artists be interested? Would they come from New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, to join local artists in applying? Two weeks to application deadline, 22 artists had applied. One week to deadline, 37 artists applied -- this thing was gaining some traction. At the application deadline, we had 90 artists applied!

We were very happy that so many artists had applied and it was exciting that we were putting ValleyArts and the Valley Arts District on the map.

A great success right?

It is very easy to get wrapped up in excitement and success, forgetting that other people might be looking through a different lens.

In order to explain what happened next, let’s rewind and review how a juried art show typically works. Juried art shows require artists to apply, usually paying a fee, for a panel of judges to view their work. These judges score the applications and the higher scores get into the show. 

We were not prepared for the backlash.

That backlash came in the form of a couple of local artists who were very vocal about their belief that artists should never have to pay for a show application. They went about canvassing as many artists as they could about free vs. paying for a show application. It may be a valid question to ask, but, unfortunately, the message they ended up sending was that ValleyArts was taking money from artists instead of supporting them. As a result, another question arose: why should artists fund an arts organization via application fees?

At this point we realized we had not clearly explained the purpose for Open Orange monies collected. All the money collected goes to show production and youth programming.

ValleyArts is a nonprofit organization committed to providing local children with creative opportunity. Youth programming is a huge part of our mission: we run after school enrichment classes, produce the Cirque Oranj circus arts summer camp, organize a gallery show for Orange High School art students, partner in Filmboot24, a 24hr film and production camp for local high school students, partner in the ‘bardbeatz’ poetry programme for Orange and West Orange students. In the pipeline is a mural programme that has high school seniors entering a mural design competition, with the winner facilitating the production of the mural with younger children in the school district. We do a lot. 

Show production for Open Orange is also no small matter. We host an opening reception that is routinely attended by 150-200 people and a closing reception with artists talk. It is our most promoted exhibit of the year, both before and throughout the month. The winner of Best In Show receives a cash prize.

Simply put, artists pay an application fee to enter Open Orange for these three reasons:
1. Promotion. This is the largest show of its type in Essex County. It is ValleyArts largest show. Open Orange artists sell their work.
2. Visibility. Artists have their work seen by judges who are experts in their chosen creative fields.
3. Supporting the arts in the community. All profits from Open Orange are used to provide youth programming and youth opportunity.
Now in its fifth year, Open Orange has continued to blossom. It still gets the yearly cry of, ‘you shouldn’t have to pay to be in a show’, but as we tell the story of how, where and why we spend the Open Orange money, more people understand where we are coming from. We are very proud of this show and all it does for artists and the community. If you missed it this year, we hope you will make it next year.
Creatively Yours,
Jeremy Moss

Notes from the Creative Edge - Apr 2018

Each month, our Executive Director, Jeremy Moss, writes a note to you, our supporters, sharing stories about his view from the creative edge here at ValleyArts. If you have thoughts to share with him, drop him a message at Meanwhile, enjoy this month's...
notes from the creative edge
Friends of ValleyArts,

Recently, I was recently talking with a board member of a local non-profit about our new mission statement “Community Through Creativity” and where that could take ValleyArts. He asked if we were still an arts organization. I replied yes, but creativity is so much larger than that.
“How so?” was his next question.
I replied, “Creativity opens so many more doors.”
Take, for instance, the creative food movement and inventive ways to grow food – on sculptures, in hay bales, attached to walls, in milk crates and all sorts of containers. Creativity is not owned just by those who paint and draw.
Creativity and health: what does that relationship look like? How can we creatively promote health? We all need food to survive, be successful in daily lives, and accomplish our goals. No one can be creative if they aren’t healthy, and staying healthy sometimes requires creative solutions. Busy lives make convenience food attractive because of its ease. Unfortunately, convenience food is often loaded with ingredients that are not body friendly – high fructose corn syrup and trans fatty acids are two that spring to mind.
ValleyArts wants to challenge the notion that eating healthy fresh food is too expensive or time consuming – and challenge ourselves and the community to find creative solutions to eating healthier. Growing your own food might seem intimidating to some, but it doesn’t have to be and it has many positive outcomes - it’s cheaper, fresher, and healthier.
For our first exploration into food as a creative movement, we are hosting an urban farming workshop with two local food creatives, Bushie and Shujaa, on Saturday May 19th from 2pm to 4pm. They will walk through what urban farming can bring to an individual, family and community. Self-sustainability, farming methods in an urban setting, crop selection, and community building will all be discussed. Plus, the first 15 people to RSVP will leave with a pot, soil, and something to grow.
We hope this is the first in a series of community workshops which will combine health and creativity.
So, back to that conversation with my board member colleague:
“But how does that all relate to the arts and ValleyArts?”, he queried.
“It relates to creativity; for if you are healthy, you will be able to be creative, cooking for health takes creativity, growing your own food and finding ways to do it can be creative”.
My inquisitor left with plenty of ‘food’ for thought. I am hoping I got him thinking creatively about our conversation.
Creatively Yours,
Jeremy Moss

Notes from the Creative Edge - Mar 2018

Each month, our Executive Director, Jeremy Moss, writes a note to you, our supporters, sharing stories about his view from the creative edge here at ValleyArts. If you have thoughts to share with him, drop him a message at Meanwhile, enjoy this month's...
notes from the creative edge
Friends of ValleyArts,

artfullbean one ear celebrationAs I sit here pondering the artfullbean cafe's first anniversary celebrations, I began to reflect on ValleyArts, the organization, and the fact it will be celebrating its tenth year in 2018.
In ten years, a lot has happened, each of the previous executive directors brought something unique to the organization, and now it is my turn. In recent months ValleyArts has shifted its focus from being an arts organization to being a creative community organization. We have combined our tagline and mission statement into these three words: "Community Through Creativity".
Steve Jones acoustic guitarWhile art brings together people from different walks of life, creativity has the ability to bring together even greater numbers of people from all walks of life. The epiphany happened when I was attending a careers day at the Orange High School. Speaking to students in an art class, it became apparent that many students did not see their future having anything to do with art. With interest waning, I asked the student closest to People meeting in cafeme, “what are you thinking of as a career?” “A police detective”, he replied. I answered him, “ah, the art of detection”. I went around the whole class asking the same question: to the girl who wanted to be a nurse, “the art of healing”, to the boy who wanted to be an architect, “the art of building.” You get the picture.
After the last student answered, I addressed the class with these words: “You can be creative in whichever career you choose, therefore you will be creatives”. That was the moment when "Community Through Creativity" was born.
At ten years old, ValleyArts feels like an organization approaching adulthood. We have the Community Gallery, a beautiful space hosting all kinds of events and art shows. We rent studio spaces to creative entrepreneurs, have an internet radio station called ValleyD Radio, and have our amazing boutique cafe, the artfullbean. The ‘bean is home to delicious coffees and teas, all sourced from small independent and creative companies, delicious baked goods from a creative local bakery, and bespoke gifts from our creative member artists in our boutique. Our spaces have become a meeting place for creatives to talk, propose and plan the next exciting thing in the Valley Arts District!
Join us at the many events we produce, partner and collaborate with, and add more creativity to your daily life.
Creatively Yours,
Jeremy Moss

ValleyArts Emerging Artist Show Features Orange High School Students

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As we spring into the month of March, new and promising artists are blooming in our community!

This week, our opening reception for our emerging artists show, New Seen: LOOK, will feature 15 art students from Orange High School. These young artists will be given the opportunity to experience a professional gallery exhibit, from mounting their works, to pricing art, and hopefully even selling their pieces! The show will be professionally hung and promoted throughout the surrounding community. These talented students will share their individual perspectives with friends and newcomers alike. We hope that you will be able to join us in both supporting and celebrating these young, rising artists!

The exhibit will be on display from March 8th through April 6th, with an opening reception on March 8th, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at Valley Arts. We hope to see you there!

About New Seen
New Seen looks to highlight the works of local emerging artists, annually in the Community Gallery located at Valley Arts, 400 S. Jefferson Street, Orange, NJ.

ValleyArts brings Poetry & Tequila to the Oranges on “Roberto” Burns Night

ValleyArts brings Poetry & Tequila to the Oranges on “Roberto” Burns Night: 
Raising proceeds to Support the Arts

Orange, NJ - January 16, 2018- Every year the poetry of Robert Burns is celebrated, bringing together lovers of the craft to commemorate the life and influential work of the poetic legend. This year, on Friday, January 26th, ValleyArts, in partnership with Atticus Review and Garden State Kitchen, are graciously hosting, “Roberto Burns Night,” an evening filled with poetry, tequila tasting, and delicious apps-with a Latin twist! This special night has come together not only to pay tribute to Robert Burns, but in an effort to garner support for existing arts education and community outreach programs. Some of the programs that will benefit from your support include, Cirque Oranj, circus arts summer program nurturing performance and creativity in the education of local children, as well as Artfull: New Seen, a show of a local emerging artists in the Community Gallery.

“Inspired by an event at the Edinburgh Festival; ‘A Play, A Pint, A Pie’, ValleyArts wanted to celebrate Robbie Burns night with a twist. Our board chair, Scott Schultz, has a love of good tequila, and that became the starting point for ‘Roberto Burns’,” explained Jeremy Moss, Deputy Director of Valley Arts.  “We then layered the event with Mexican fusion appetizers, a live music performance, and of course poets - five of them! As a fundraiser for ValleyArts, we invite you to be part of this special evening.”

It is through the support and attendance of events like “Roberto Burns Night”, that ValleyArts is able to further their mission of supporting and collaborating with the local community, in an effort to inspire creativity and vitality through the arts, help build up and serve creative entrepreneurs, and encourage everyone to participate in the arts, culture, and creativity as a part of everyday life. To propel their mission, ValleyArts partners, serves, and supports artists, creative organizations, and the neighborhood through educational programming, community space, local events and partnerships.

Join ValleyArts on Friday, January 26th, for what is sure to be an indulging night for a good cause, in which all members of the surrounding community are invited to attend-whether you are a supporter of the arts, poetry lover, or tequila enthusiast! Tickets are on sale now at:

About Atticus Review
Atticus Review is a weekly online journal that publishes fiction, flash, poems, creative nonfiction, video, music, book reviews, cartoons, animation, and whatever else we find worthy of eyes.

About Garden State Kitchen
Garden State Kitchen offers services for culinary startups, the centerpiece feature being a shared and fully-licensed commercial kitchen space available for hourly rental in Orange, New Jersey. Kris Ohleth is the founder and CEO.


This event is being sponsored by Pollock Properties Group.