Education, the arts to meet at show

The South Brunswick Arts Commission will unveil the ‘Art Smart’ exhibit Saturday.

By: Brian Shappell
   Saturday will mark the opening of the South Brunswick Arts Commission’s most ambitious exhibit to date as it celebrates the "artist educators" of the township.
   The commission will unveil the "Art Smart" exhibit, a collection of work from seven local visual artists as well as two poets and a vocalist, at the Wetherill Historic Site on Georges Road from 6 to 8 p.m.
   The exhibit will feature work from a variety of arts educators, some who are township residents working in or outside the district and others from neighboring towns teaching in South Brunswick.
   Commission Chairwoman Lauren Edgar said it is important to focus an exhibit on educators because they make up a substantial portion of the commission membership.
   "It seemed a logical step because we try to focus on what the artist community is made up of," Ms. Edgar said. "To be able to show their other side is something that I’m very excited about."
   The Arts Commission was created in August 2000. The group, which includes artists, poets and composers, is a resource for area artists. More than three dozen local residents are on the Arts Commission’s registry.
   The commission’s first group show, "Five Artists, Five Mediums, One Township," opened in June 2001 at the Wetherill site.
   Ms. Edgar said a wide variety of work is featured at the exhibit because there is a diverse group of artists highlighted in "Art Smart." She said the exhibit would be the commission’s most eclectic to date because there was no specific theme limiting the work.
   "It was interesting to show the whole panorama of what these artists are up to," Ms. Edgar said. "It shows the incredible activity they’re up to every day — not just teaching, but keeping up with the demands of their own creativity."
   The show also will be the Arts Commission debut of several artists. Joining exhibit veterans Stephanie Barbetti and Steven Levine are Rajini Balachandran, an East Brunswick resident who teaches at the Upper Elementary School; Joan Mints, a teacher in the local Community Education program; and Dauri Shippey, a Monmouth Junction resident who home-schools her three sons.
   The opening reception will mark the first appearances by literary and performing artists, as well. Along with an 18-student classical choral performance lead by Ms. Shippey, poets Edward Belding and Joyce Greenberg will each read one of their original selections.
   "This show gave us a great opportunity to find new artists," Ms. Edgar said.