In the Arts

Singer/songwriter April Smith will perform Saturday, Dec. 18, 7:30-10 p.m. at the Coffee House at the Shore Institute of the Contemporary Arts, 20 Third Ave., Long Branch. Smith has been nominated two years running for Best Solo Female Vocalist at the Asbury Music Awards.

The “ Music of Invention” monthly series presented by The Black Box of Asbury Park will continue Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. with a concert by electro-acoustic flutist Patti Monson. The concerts, held on the third Thursday of each month at Black Box/Sulli Studios, present a performer or group working across stylistic or cultural boundaries.

Monson will perform works by Giancinto Scelsi, Steve Reich, Harold Meltzer, Shirish Korde and Mathew Rosenblum.

A faculty member at The Manhattan School of Music, Monson is also flutist for the New York new music ensemble Sequitur.

Future “Music of Invention” concerts this season will include: January, microtonalist Dean Drummond and the Harry Partch Ensemble; February, new music guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz; March, electro-acoustic improv duo mecanique Dafna Naphtali and Hans Tammen; April, electronic avant garde/trip-hop duo Douce, Gisburg, vocals, and Phil Painson, drums and electronics; May, composers Carlton Wilkinson and David Macdonald.

The Black Box is located at 605 Mattison Ave., third floor. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students/seniors. For more information, call (732) 775-9980 or (732) 897-1472.

The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is seeking to commission a professional artist to conceptualize and create the poster for the 23rd annual event.

The Festival of Ballooning will be held July 29-31 at Solberg Airport in Readington. Last year’s artwork was reproduced on 100,000 soft drink cans, T-shirts, mugs, a Web site, and posters for the event.

Interested artists should contact Howard Freeman, executive producer of the festival, at 1-800-HOT-AIR9 or at

Local artist extraordinaire Pinky will be at Hobbymasters, 62 White St., Red Bank, Dec. 18, noon-4 p.m., adding a festive note by drawing free caricatures for anyone in the store. No purchase is necessary. For more information, (732) 842-6020.

The New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch will present the world premiere of Mary Fengar Gail’s “Touch of Rapture,” a comic-drama that celebrates the love of art and the art of love. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Jan. 15 and continue through Feb. 20, on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Special preview performances are on Thursday, Jan. 13 at 2 and 8 p.m. and on Friday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. Preview tickets are $20. All other performances are $30 with discounts available for students, seniors and groups. Tickets for opening night with reception are $35. For additional information, visit or call the box office at (732) 229-3166. New Jersey Rep, located at the Lumia Theatre, 179 Broadway, has convenient, free on-site parking and easy access from NJ Transit. For additional information, call (732) 229-3166 or e-mail