Morris Artists create New Jersey’s Ornaments for DC Holiday Display at President’s Park

Morris Artists; Cristina Mendoza, Susan Faiola and Dan Fenelon to Create New Jersey’s Ornaments for Holiday Display at President’s Park in Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON (October 8, 2015) The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, announced today that Cristina Mendoza, Susan Faiola and Dan Fenelon have been chosen to create New Jersey’s ornaments for the 2015 America Celebrates: Ornaments from Across the USA display at President’s Park (White House) in Washington, D.C. Cristina Mendoza, Susan Faiola and Dan Fenelon joins local artists from each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia in designing ornaments inspired by America’s national parks and their programs, paying tribute to the upcoming National Park Service Centennial in 2016.

The ornament display honors the holiday season and celebrates the National Christmas Tree Lighting, a national event presented by the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service.

The 93rd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting, being held on Thursday, December 3, 2015, at 5 p.m., is a great example of the countless ways there are to find your park. Launched in March 2015, Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people to connect with, celebrate, and support America’s national parks and community-based programs. Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial and setting the stage for the Service’s next 100 years, Find Your Park invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.

“It is an honor to be selected because I get to be a part of something bigger than I imagined while working together with other local artists,” said Cristina Mendoza. “I am excited to be a part of the America Celebrates display because it is a new way for me to represent New Jersey in a creative way.”
Christina joins two other NJ artists, her former mentors from an after school Art Mentoring program at Morristown High School sponsored by Morris Arts and the Lauren and Emily Failla Foundation. Christina is a graduate of the program and now pursues her art full time as a junior at the College of Saint Elizabeth’s here in NJ.

All three artists were inspired by the local national parks and nature here in New Jersey. Cristina Mendoza is a sculptural artist who has most recently worked with handmade paper. She uses a series of drawings to highlight Morristown’s history along with New Jersey’s densely wooded scenery while creating the ornaments.

Artist Susan Faiola created ornaments featuring birds and animals native to New Jersey decoupaging those images with layers of Americana inside each globe. Each ornament features the name of a New Jersey National Park.

Artist Dan Fenelon also drew his inspiration from the National Parks here in NJ and painted the ornaments in his signature style incorporating vivid color and infusing his art with multi-cultural icons to reflect the rich diversity of New Jersey’s population.

“Art can be an incredible way for people to connect with national parks and we’re thrilled to carry on the time honored tradition of debuting ornaments from all over the country,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “We’re honored to have Cristina Mendoza Susan Faiola and Dan Fenelon represent New Jersey in this year’s America Celebrates display.”

As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park. Since 1923, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition. In addition to the America Celebrates display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, including nightly holiday performances, and model train display.

For more information, please visit and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2015.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

The National Park Service has cared for the White House and its grounds since 1933. President’s Park, which includes the Ellipse and Lafayette Park, was officially included in the national park system in 1961.
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The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at


6th Annual Pumpkin Illumination on October 25th

Banner for Website

 Our 6th Annual Pumpkin Illumination will be held on Sunday, October 25 at 5:00 p.m.
at the Vail Mansion located at 110 South Street, Morristown, NJ.
Bring your carved pumpkin to light at dusk for an evening of family fun for all ages!


5:15 p.m. – Bring your carved pumpkin to the reflecting pond in front of the Vail Mansion in Morristown. Enjoy live jazz by Dan Filipak and Caleb Rumley!

The Dan Filipak Dixieland-style Jazz Band will transform you from New Jersey to New Orleans, from South Street in 2015 to Basin Street in 1915. When the music hits you’ll feel a pep in your step, a stride in your glide and a dip in your hip. Spectators are dared not to dance. Co-led by the always swingin’ and singin’ Caleb Rumley on trombone.

5:30 to 6:15 p.m. – Art Workshop with artist Dan Fenelon followed by a luminary parade led by Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty.

Dan Fenelon works with communities to create one of a kind original art projects. In keeping with the “Halloween” theme, there will be creatures and masks to decorate culminating in a parade before the Pumpkins are illuminated.

6:15 p.m. – Pumpkin Illumination! Lighting of the pumpkins.

Pumpkin Illumination Postcard Back

If you need special assistance call Kadie Dempsey, 973-285-5115 ext. 17

A special thank you to our Pumpkin Illumination event sponsors: MetLife Foundation, Mondelēz, and Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen.


Last chance: Blackwell St. Juried Student Exhibit closing on April 24th

Less than a week remains to see this exhibit of the top high school artists in the county on display at the Atrium. Over 450 young artists, their teachers, family and friends, along with the general public and artists attended the March 27th Opening Reception of the 27th annual Blackwell Street Juried Student Exhibit at the Atrium Gallery.  Located on Floors 2-5 of the Morris County Administration and Records Building, 10 Court Street in Morristown, the exhibit includes over 350 works of art by top students from approximately 20 high schools throughout Morris County and beyond. Embracing a very wide variety of media (sculpture, oil, acrylic, collage, multimedia, etching, charcoal, pen and ink, graphite, photography,  etc.), the artworks are a stunning tribute to the creativity, skill and passion of these young artists.

Mary Ann St. Jacques, a Photography and 3D Design teacher at Madison High School, commented: “My students, their parents, and I all had a wonderful evening. I saw so many students from opposing schools complementing each other’s work and talking about their projects and inspiration. It was a great forum for young artists to see the importance of collaboration and exposure to different techniques and approaches to similar projects. My kids are already brainstorming for next year!

A panel of five professional artists from the Blackwell Street Center for the Arts comprises the jury selecting approximately 350 works from nearly 800 submissions by talented high school students from throughout the County. The show was then organized, hung and administered by the all-volunteer members of the Blackwell Street Center for the Arts, their friends and family. There were multiple ribbon categories, with Best In Show and the 1st Place ribbons receiving monetary prizes. The opening reception included an awards presentation (on the 5th floor, in the Freeholder meeting room), music, food,  and the opportunity to meet these talented young artists in person.

Above: Best in Show: Butler HS student Rachel D’Agnilli’s charcoal, Untitled. 

Evolving from an exhibit that, in 1988, featured approximately 90 pieces of art, to this current, massive undertaking, the Juried Student Show is unique in its democratic approach:  there are no restrictions on the number of pieces a school can submit and submissions are open to public, private, parochial and home-schooled high school student artists from throughout Morris County.  Each year, hundreds of students, parents, teachers and friends attend in support of these exceptional young artists.

Morris Arts manages the Atrium Art Gallery, selecting artists and scheduling exhibits on behalf of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  The Atrium Gallery is free and open to the public during business hours, from 8:30am – 4:30pm on Mondays-Fridays. The exhibit will run from March 27 through April 24, 2015. For additional information about the show, contact Dr. Lynn L. Siebert, Gallery Director, and Director of Arts Participation & Communication for Morris Arts, (973) 285-5115, ext. 10 or

Kendra Nola's oil, Hot & Cold  Small, NIcole Ramirez's scratchboard, Reflection (Madison)small, Sara Cecere's mixed media Shark Week (Mendham)


L-R: Nicole Ramirez’s scratchboard work, Reflections (Madison); Sarah Cecere’s mixed media, Shark Week (Mendham); Garrett Temple’s ceramic work, Soft and Hard (Roxbury).

small, Maureen Shelley oil, Na Pali Coast (Mendham)

small, Olivia Kuchta's charcoal and chalk pastel work, Cold Feet (Morris Knolls)small, Carlo Zarro's stoneware and high fire glaze, Carl's Rhino (small, Maggie Walter's acrylic, Super Moon in Dublin (Mendham)small, Elizabeth Davalos' collage, Antiquities (Mt. Olive)






L-R: Maureen Shelley’s oil, Na Pali Coast (Mendham); Oliva Kuchta’s charcoal and chalk pastel work, Cold Feet (Morris Knolls); Carlo Zarro’s stoneware & high fire glaze, Carl’s Rhino (Randolph); Maggie Walter’s acrylic, Super Moon in Dublin (Mendham); Elizabeth Davalos’ collage, Antiquities (Mt. Olive).

small, Kendra Nolan's oil, Hot and Cold (Jefferson Twp).small, Lauren Bromley's oil, En Grisaille (Mendham)small, Jordan Seagrave's watercolor & Graphite, After Duchampssmall,Rosa Chang's acrylic, The Need for Restraint (Mt. Olive)small, Danielle Winkler's pencil work, Untitled (Butler)






L-R: Kendra Nola’s oil, Hot & Cold (Butler)Lauren Bromley’s oil, En Grisaille (Mendham);Jordan Seagrave’s watercolor & graphite, After Duchamps (Roxbury); Rosa Chang’s acrylic, The Need for Restraint (Mt. Olive)Danielle Winkler’s pencil work Untitled (Butler).

Below, L-R: Miu Sakamoto’s scratchboard work, Life (Mountain Lakes); Maxwell Creager’s ballpoint, Picasso meets Vermeer (Mendham); Jennifer Cappuccio’s paper mache sculpture, Drops of Hope (Montville Township); Brooke Downe’s oil, Courtney (Mountain Lakes); Julia Penny’s pastel, Rotten Fruit (Academy of St. Elizabeth).

small, Miu Sakamoto's scratchboard, Life (Mt. Lakes)

small, Maxwell Creager's ballpoint, Picasso meets Vermeer (Mendham)

small, Jennifer Cappuccio's paper mache, Drops of Hope (Montville Twp)

small, Brooke Downes' oil, Courtney (Mt. Lakes)

small, Julia Penny's pastel, Rotten Fruit (Academy of St. Elizabeth)






Photos from the Opening Reception:









Best in show artist Rachel D’Agnilli (middle) with the winning artwork and her parents; The Blackwell Street Center for the Arts artists who do the “heavy lifting” for this show – L-R: Dave Gruol, Peggy Dressel, Annette Hannah, Elaine Provost and Roy Provost.


Below: Some of the crowds at the Opening Reception; Standing room only at the award ceremony:



Morristown CraftMarket seeks artists for nationally acclaimed show

MorristownCraft show mental sculpture



October Event Raises Thousands of Dollars for Local Charities,

 Attracts Artists From Over 25 States

Calling all artists! The Morristown CraftMarket, one of the top juried fine art and craft shows in the nation and a not-for-profit event sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Randolph, NJ, seeks artists to display and sell their work at this year’s show. Now in its 39th consecutive year, the Morristown CraftMarket will run from Friday, October 16 through Sunday, October 18, 2015 at the National Guard Armory, 430 Western Avenue, Morristown, NJ. The Morristown CraftMarket features 160 gifted artists from 25 states throughout the country who sell their original works in jewelry, ceramics, glass, wearable fiber, wood, metal, leather and more.

NEW for 2015:  Cash prizes and ribbons will be awarded in multiple categories.

The artist application deadline is April 1, 2015.  Artists need to apply on-line at  For more information, visit the Morristown CraftMarket’s website at or call 973-442-2840.

“The Morristown CraftMarket is a nationally acclaimed fine art and craft show that showcases top juried fine arts and crafts in all contemporary media, and raises thousands of dollars for charities in our community,” said Geoff Price, show director.

Free lecture by sculptor Sassona Norton on April 1

Sassona Norton's 9-11 Memorial 1011986.jgPlease join Morris Arts on Wednesday, April 1st, at the Park Avenue Club for a free lecture by the artist Sassona Norton on her sculpture and the importance of monuments. This evening is the first in a series of special conversations with artists who share their artistic outlook with the public in an intimate and festive setting. Morris Arts selected sculptor Sassona Norton as the first artist in the series due to the public aspect of her unique vision.

Register HERE today. Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 25, 2015. 

Left: Sassona Norton’s monumental bronze 9/11 Memorial (Montgomery County, PA)

The 9/11 Memorial that Norton installed in Pennsylvania made her acutely aware of the role public-art takes in our life. In an exciting evening, the artist will tell the story of the 9/11 Memorial that propelled her to recently embark on planning a Hurricane Sandy monument to celebrate people’s strength against crisis. In a talk that includes a slide-show and a short movie about the 9/11 Memorial, Sassona Norton will unveil her plan for an incredible, dynamic and huge monument to Hurricane Sandy. Installed at the Hudson Waterfront, the monument will combine a sculpture of very large hands and a dramatic water-theater. On a clear day, it will be seen from as far as Lower Manhattan.

imagesSculptor Sassona Norton


images (2)Sassona-Norton_Touch-550x681








L-R:  Other remarkable, monumental sculptures by Norton: To Whom Do I Pray, A Question of Certainty, and Touch.

Please plan to arrive at 6:45. The talk will start promptly at 7:00 and will be followed by a desert buffet and fruit, coffee and tea.

Park Avenue Club is located at 184 Park Avenue, Florham Park, NJ 07932

Admission is free – reservations are required.
Register HERE today. Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 25, 2015. 

Sassona Norton Artist Lecture (small)

Morris Arts’ GALLERY at 14 MAPLE: A SURE HAND; Free Sassona Norton Lecture

The gift

The giftThe gift
small, squared Sassona Norton The GiftOver 150 people attended the February 25th opening reception for Morris Arts’ its thirteenth exhibit, A SURE HAND,  at the Gallery at 14 Maple.  Artists Sassona Norton (Bedminster), Doug DePice (Secaucus), Neal Korn (Union) and Arlene Gale Milgram (Trenton) were there, and spoke with members of the public about their works. Commenting on the Exhibition Committee’s process for the show, Curator Dick Eger noted: “We selected works that embodied the defining element of drawings – simplicity….
Drawing juxtaposes the austerity of the single line with the power of the image that emerges. It is the sure hand of these artists that transforms the humble into the extraordinary.”

Left: Sassona Norton’s drawing,  Gift.

Responding to the “rich architecture” of hands, Sassona Norton’s works focus on the intricacies and complexity of the hand.  Providing Norton with its variety of shapes and forms, the hand can mark the passing of time and express a remarkable range of emotions through gesture and position. By using a much larger scale, filling an entire canvas with hands, Norton intensifies the details of the hands, capturing a sculptural quality, implying what is absent and reflecting both tangible and intangible qualities of humanity. As Curator Eger adds,  Norton philosophizes  “about the shortness of life, the concept of yearning, the sadness of want and the fierce desire to change reality. She effortlessly folds these themes into her exuberant charcoals of hands.”

small, Doug DePice's Portrait of Anne Frank, white with tapesmall, Neal Korn's Head Over to Seaport Marine, hi rez








L-R: Doug DePice’s Portrait of Anne Frank with Tape; Neal Korn’s drawing, Head Over to Seaport Marine.

With work that is both visceral and metaphorical, Doug DePice captures the horror of the Holocaust in his dark and powerful drawings.  Inspired by Eli Wiesel’s book, Night, Depice describes his works such as The Chimneys  thus: “I found the imagery of the smoke to appear heavy with the death of countless souls, and also thick with madness.” Images of the Crematorium are “succinct, frightening” and he adds, “To me, these forms are like giant tombstones of history.” With his portraits of Anne Frank, DePice strives to give some artistic expression to Anne Frank’s haunting words. In the portrait of Anne’s face with tape and charcoal, he states, “I wanted the surface to be scarred, marked and ripped as a visual reminder of the distress, anxiety, and uneasiness which gnawed daily at Anne’s psychological well-being.” DePice wants art to be a light in a world filled with the “darkness of ignorance and hate.”

The Chimneys 049

small,Milgram_Constant Motion








L-R: Doug DePice’s drawing,The Chimneys; Arlene Gale Milgram’s drawing, Constant Motion.

Artist Arlene Gale Milgram considers her art to be abstract but, at its core, her way “of processing my life experience.” She channels her thoughts and works in different densities and rhythms, often reclaiming resources from “failed” works to start new pieces. Mixed media works are layered as is life – “full of false starts and new beginnings.”  She adds, “The scars that remain are maps of time and experience.”  More  recently, she has focused on aging, support systems and “the fragile threads that hold us together.”  She doesn’t expect the viewer to read her “story” in the works but rather to engage them, involve them in her images and enable them to connect to “shared humanity.”

The drawings of Neal Korn present us with a unique juxtaposition of familiar imagery and unusual, striking perspectives. A simple portrait is literally “turned on its head” in a wash of color in Head Over to Seaport Marine and his portrayal of iconic images such as Lincoln’s monument or the Union Cannon grab the eye with their imaginative and dramatic vantage points as well as with a touch of humor and whimsy. “That is my head being blown out of the cannon,” he remarked. His “Icon” series includes drawings of images from Sandy Hook (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), NYC (NY) and Baltimore (MD).  Combining a tight, analytical drawing style with the “loose” application of rice paper, to provide texture and contrast and add an intuitive component, Korn creates images of dramatic and intriguing appeal.

Each of these four artists uses the medium of drawing to capture subtleties, delicacy, monumentalism and gesture in distinctive and memorable ways. Not the two dimensional tracing of a line on a surface here -but rather the power, the volume, motion and weight of each artist’s vision is captured in these exceptional and dramatic drawings which redefine the usual understanding of this medium and enhance our appreciation of its inherent magic.

To view the catalogue for this exhibit, click HERE.

on her sculpture and the importance of monuments

April 1, 2015 at Park Avenue Club, Florham Park

Sassona Norton's 9-11 Memorial 1011986.jg

Please join Morris Arts on Wednesday, April 1st, at the Park Avenue Club for a free lecture by the artist Sassona Norton on her sculpture and the importance of monuments. This evening is the first in a series of special conversations with artists who share their artistic outlook with the public in an intimate and festive setting. Morris Arts selected sculptor Sassona Norton as the first artist in the series due to the public aspect of her unique vision.

Register HERE today. Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 25, 2015. 


Left: Sassona Norton’s monumental bronze 9/11 Memorial (Montgomery County, PA)

The 9/11 Memorial that Norton installed in Pennsylvania made her acutely aware of the role public-art takes in our life. In an exciting evening, the artist will tell the story of the 9/11 Memorial that propelled her to recently embark on planning a Hurricane Sandy monument to celebrate people’s strength against crisis. In a talk that includes a slide-show and a short movie about the 9/11 Memorial, Sassona Norton will unveil her plan for an incredible, dynamic and huge monument to Hurricane Sandy. Installed at the Hudson Waterfront, the monument will combine a sculpture of very large hands and a dramatic water-theater. On a clear day, it will be seen from as far as Lower Manhattan.

imagesSculptor Sassona Norton


images (2)Sassona-Norton_Touch-550x681










L-R:  Other remarkable, monumental sculptures by Norton: To Whom Do I Pray, A Question of Certainty, and Touch.

Please plan to arrive at 6:45. The talk will start promptly at 7:00 and will be followed by a desert buffet and fruit, coffee and tea.

Park Avenue Club is located at 184 Park Avenue, Florham Park, NJ 07932

Admission is free – reservations are required.
Register HERE today. Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 25, 2015. 

Sassona Norton Artist Lecture (small)

Photos from the opening reception of A Sure Hand:

and some additional photos, courtesy of photographer Michael Gale:


Morris Arts gratefully acknowledges sponsorship for this exhibit by




and additional support from




The exhibit is open to the public Monday-Friday from 10am to 4pm and by appointment, and will remain on display until August 27, 2015.  Visit or call (973) 285-5115 for additional information, including the exhibit catalogue which contains details and sale prices for all works. The Gallery at 14 Maple is a barrier-free facility. Individuals needing special accommodation should contact Kadie Dempsey at (973) 285-5115, x 17 or

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Bill Staines at the Minstrel

Bet you’ve been singing Bill Staine’s songs for years – Roseville Fair, All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir. Now you can sing along with the composer. Gerry and Olga open. Free parking.

Wheelchair accessible


African American Art Exhibit, Ancient Rhythms Remixed, opened January 23rd


squared Bisa Butler quilt, The Radiant OneOn January 23rd, over 200 people attended the free public opening of New Jersey’s largest exhibition of African-American art, curated and assembled by Art in the Atrium held at the Atrium Gallery, floors 2-5 of the Morris County Administration & Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown, NJ.

Running through March 15, the exhibit is entitled “Ancient Rhythms Remixed” and features the work of West Orange fine art quilter Bisa Butler, as well as works by more than 20 additional prominent black artists including Alonzo Adams, James Denmark, Janet Taylor Pickett, Maceo Mitchell, Leroy Campbell, Deborah Willis, Dwight Carter, Barbara Bullock and Norman Lewis, among others.

Above: Bisa Butler’s quilt, The Radiant One

Influenced by her mother’s and grandmother’s love of fabric art, featured artist Butler switched from painting to fabric and developed new techniques and approaches to fine art quilt making. A formally trained artist, cum laude graduate of Howard University (BFA) with an MA in teaching from Montclair State, Butler studied the works of Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold and Henry O. Tanner and tapped into quilting traditions such as evoking memories by using fabrics belonging to loved ones, utilizing patterns to transmit news or messages (used during slavery) and creating innovative designs to produce painterly, modernist portraits of figures like Josephine Baker, Nelson Mandela, Marvin Gaye and Jean-Michael Basquiat.  In Butler’s hands, fabric communicates emotion, heritage, and beauty. Her art has been exhibited at both the Smithsonian and Epcott Center in Disney World.

“Bisa’s pieces appeal to many different audiences and because they are created from fabric, it gives the show added texture,’’ says Victoria Craig, director of administration for Art in the Atrium.

Art in the Atrium’s school arts program, which is tied to the show, will also take on an added dimension when Butler, a teacher in the Newark public school system, visits classrooms in advance of the show to help children appreciate the experience of seeing an art exhibition. In the past, artists spoke with children after their trip.

Art in the Atrium’s annual exhibition is the largest of its kind in the state. “It really helps to expand people’s idea of what African-American art can be,’’ says Craig. “We have works in all mediums and genres. It’s not just figurative paintings with a mask in them.’’

Here are some photos from the exhibit and from the opening reception:


The non-profit organization Art in the Atrium began in 1992 after Victoria Craig’s husband, attorney Charles Craig, noticed that none of the art works exhibited in the Morristown administration building were by African-American artists. Dedicated to exhibiting works by emerging and established black artists, Art in the Atrium is a nonprofit volunteer organization whose annual exhibit at the Atrium Gallery is now the largest of its kind in New Jersey, growing from a single floor to currently occupying 4 full floors of the County Administration & Records Building. Art in the Atrium has also expanded to include seminars, jazz brunches, collectors’ workshops and also cosponsors artist residencies in the Morris School District, benefitting 200 to 500 students each year. It also awards an annual scholarship to a student artist, whose work is often exhibited in the show. For more information, visit

The exhibition is made possible in part by funds from Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Morris Arts, located in Morristown, NJ, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 and dedicated to engaging and building community through the arts. Using the arts to inspire, connect and engage, Morris Arts serves as a resource for Morris County with a special focus on arts programming in the schools and in the community, arts advocacy, and support of the Morris Area community of artists and arts organizations.


23rd First Night overflowed with top talents

December 31 marked the 23rd  year for New Jersey’s biggest and brightest New Year’s Eve family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the arts – with over 200 artists, 89 events in 24+ venues – representing dance, theatre, music, world cultures, visual arts and children’s events.  For all 23 years, Morris Arts has served as First Night’s artistic programmer, securing topflight talents who attract thousands of people from throughout the state and beyond.  Once again, nearly 2/3 of the program featured new artists (or artists returning after several years), many of whom have performed at top venues (the White House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden), won international recognition, performed on national radio/TV, in major films and/or collaborated with superstars of performing arts. On that night, for a remarkably affordable price ($17.50-$25!), nearly 5,000 people experienced everything from classic rock ‘n roll to the Tuvan-style Throat Singing!

To see the full program, visit or click First Night Dec. 31 2014 final program


L-R: The British Invasion Tribute; The Frank Vignola Duo (Vinny Raniolo, Frank Vignola); Bucky Pizzarelli (photo by John Marelli).

On  the jazz/rock front, crowds jammed the Mayo Performing Arts Center to hear the note-perfect classic 60s rock from The Beatles to the Beach Boys offered by The British Invasion Tribute band (which opened for Ringo Starr) while others took in new country rock with the Tequila Rose Band.  Capacity crowds savored jazz guitar legends (the fabulous Frank Vignola  with special guests Bucky Pizzarelli and Gene Bertoncini, not to mention our own sizzling jazz pianist, Rio Clemente, the “Bishop of Jazz.”

On the blues, bluegrass and blends front,  Matuto’s unique Louisiana bluegrass/Brazilian mix had the audience dancing in the aisles. Others grooved with the Cobra Brothers (classic blues) and hot picking, rockin’ honk-tonk, roots, country and Western swing of the Silk City/Reckon So Mashup with ace fiddler Kenny Kosek (who played with Willie Nelson and others).







L-R: Silk City/Reckon So Mashup with fiddler Kenny Kosek and vocalist Mary Olive Smith; Conductor Leon Hyman with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra; Greg Giannascoli, marimba master; Svetlana Smolina, piano virtuoso;  Matuto (blending Brazilian and bluegrass).

Such select ensembles as Harmonium, The NJ Festival Orchestra, Solid Brass Lite, along with soloists like organist Gordon Turk, marimba master Greg Giannascoli, and award-winning piano virtuoso Svetlana Smolina  showcased classical music with their virtuosic, fiery, elegant and passionate repertoires.

For those who love world cultures…they were able to sample Chinese Theatre Works’ hand puppet show, learn tribal dances from around the country with Redhawk Native American dancers, or take an aural tour of China with Music from China’s exotic erhu (fiddle) and pipa (lute) performances. The Shubanjali dancers, in jeweled costumes,  performed classical and folk dances of India, while fiery songstress Michela Musolino and her trio shared passionate songs of Sicily and South Italy.  Those who love Eastern European, Balkan and Klezmer music,  delighted (and danced to) the amazing music of The Kleztraphobix or channeled the spirit of Bob Marley with Random Test Reggae’s Caribbean reggae. And, what better way to welcome the new year than by dancing to the hot salsa rhythms of Colombia’s Armando Son Jimenez y Orquestra Sabor ?!





L-R: Indian Classical dancer, Suba Parmar of Shubanjali; Redhawk Native American dancer; Colombian salsa band, Armando Son Jimenez  y Orquestra Sabor; Music From China Duo – Sun Li on pipa and Wang Gouwei on erhu;  Michela Musolina, Sicilian songstress; Random Test Reggae.

            On the historical front, Martha Washington held forth on First Ladies while Meet the Musicians introduced composer “Johannes Brahms” who shared his life and music with the audience .  Audiences met the Lord of Misrule and heard Renaissance 12th Night/ musical merrymaking on replica period instruments played by the costumed Early Music Players of NJ.


L-R: First Ladies according to Martha Washington; The Early Music Players; Galumpha dancers; Dennis Kobray as Brahms with Meet the Musicians .



Fans of Dance (or physics students) marvelled at  the amazing dancers of Galumpha, whose human “architecture” formations defied gravity and mixed muscle with merriment. And, caller Mary Moody had them swingin’ their partners, as she brought her own special brand of square dancing fun for the whole family.



L-R: Dinoman with lifesize (young) Brontosaurus; Dominic Rizzo with frog;  Chinese Theatreworks hand puppets; Illusionist Anthony Salazar and assistant.

Kids of all ages delighted in Dinoman’s Dinosaurs (with lifesize inflatable dinosaurs!!), Rizzo’s live reptile show, illusionist Anthony Salazar’s comedy magic, Mr. Fish’s Phenomenal Physics and the Chinese Theatreworks’ hand puppet show. The early session for younger children included hula hooping for the whole familywith Whirled Revolution,  Art 4 Kids with fine artist Christine Wagner and Building Kidz:Imagination LEGO! (building with LEGOS) while The Children’s Fun Festival offered its lively mix of magic, juggling, balloon animals, facepainting and an organ grinder!

The more adventurous audiences heard Throat (Overtone) singer Alex Glenfield who has mastered the Tuvan Throat Singing style, and can sing more than one note simultaneously! It’s like NOTHING you’ve ever heard!! Or, experienced the “alien” music of Michael Durek on the theremin, the only instrument played without being touched! Audience members even had a chance to try their own hand at the instrument. And then there was  Alissa Dirato, the Living Statue, who remained immobile and marble-like until she moved!!


squared, Michael Durek, theremin 






L-R: Throat (overtone) singer Alex Glenfield; Thereminist Michael Durek;  Classical comedic pianists Nadia and Vladimir Zaitsev; Comedian John Fisch; “Living Statue,” Alissa Dirato.

Still others banished the winter blues and laughed their way into the New Year with Comedian Jon Fisch (hand-picked to open for Jerry Seinfeld and featured on Late Night With David Letterman) or giggled as the Piano Duo of Nadia and Vladimir Zaitsev performed music From Bach to Rock, blending  humor and pianistic skill. And then, there was street performer, George Esparza, whose Flying Flea Circus and Wahoo Medicine Show brought drama and flim-flam to a new level.  Three visual arts exhibits (displaying over 200 artworks) and two sets of fireworks topped off that magical evening known as First Night® Morris County. To check out the full lineup of artists, visit

Enjoy some VIDEOS of some of the First Night performances:

Hear a little of pianist Svetlana Smolina’s virtuoso performances HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE  – with some of her finale, the devilishly difficult Carmen Fantasy (Bizet/Horowitz) HERE, audience reaction HERE.

Catch a bit of the extraordinary, otherworldly sound of Alex Glenfield’s throat singing (with raga singing and trumpet interludes) accompanied by tabla master Shivalik Ghoshal HERE, HERE and HERE.

The Kleztraphobix inspired dancing, handclapping and appreciation with their passionate virtuosic rendering of Eastern European music, HERE and HERE.

The dancers of Galumpha defied gravity, creating human “insects”, balancing and lifting in ways most of us haven’t seen and generally using muscle and merriment to enchant audiences with their unique, inventive choreography, HERE , HERE and their striking finale HERE.

The Michela Musolino Trio performed passionate Sicilian and S. Italian songs to frame drum, tamborine, accordion and mandolin accompaniments HERE and HERE.

Silk City/Reckon So Mashup brought a taste of honky-tonk/bluegrass to the evening,  HERE.

To see all ages dancing to the Caribbean beats of Random Test Reggae, click HERE.

The refined sounds of a Renaissance 12th Night musical celebration were also heard HERE, courtesy of The Early Music Players of New Jersey.

Thereminist Michael Durek provided the public with a chance to try their hands at playing the unique instrument. Check out one person’s masterful effort HERE. 

It was a family affair as multiple generations tried their hands at hula hooping with Whirled Revolution, HERE.

And you thought it was just a marble statue…that is until Living Statue, Alissa Dirato, moved to pose for a photo with a member of the public…HERE.

Undaunted by darkness or cold, street performer and ringmaster of the Flying Flea Circus, George Esparza captivated audiences with the antics of his flying fleas,  HERE

It was a truly magical night for all….The PHOTOS, courtesy of Morris Arts, the Daily Record, the Star-Ledger, J. Sovelove and say it all

Special thanks go to all the media who helped us to spread the word for this spectacular event. Check out the extensive FIRST NIGHT articles online: 

List of all MG articles at


From the night of the event:

**youtube video sampler of event (prominently featuring: Shivalik Ghoshal/Alex Glenfield)

Recorder Papers’ Out & About cover story on First Night:

Additional coverage on First Night (previously collected):
Media coverage for First Night:–First-Night-Morris-County—Morristown-NJ/431361/

Dec. 2014 issue of The Morristown News had a nice article on p. 17

38th Annual Morristown CraftMarket on Oct. 17-19

The 38th annual Morristown CraftMarket, one of the top juried, longest running and most successful fine art and craft shows in the nation, will be held at the National Guard Armory, 430 Western Ave, Morristown, NJ on the following dates and times:

Friday, October 17, 5pm  – 9pm
Saturday, October 18, 10am – 6pm
Sunday, October 19, 10am – 5 pm

In a Special Citation, Morris Arts recognized the Morristown CraftMarket as a “nationally acclaimed fine art and craft show” and as “a major cultural and charitable event, attracting thousands of visitors each year in addition to gifted artists from over 25 states throughout the country.”

The CraftMarket is sponsored by the not-for-profit Kiwanis Club of Randolph Township and all proceeds from the show benefit local charities.

This year, the CraftMarket showcases extraordinary, one-of-a-kind and limited edition fine arts and crafts – all made in America by American hands. 160 artists will display and sell their original and magnificent creations in jewelry, leather, ceramics, metal, class, wood, furniture, mixed media , wearable fiber and more.

Above: Vase by Gail Markiewicz (CT).

“The American artists compete in a rigorous, nationwide selection process and the panel of judges, who are peer artists, choose the best in each fine art and craft category, ” said Geoffrey Price, Volunteer Show Director. “‘American Made’ – which is what the charitable show is all about – means exceptional quality that will last for generations.”












L-R: Dresser by Greg Stoner (PA); textile art by Jackson & Friedman (NY); Ring by Michael Alexander (NY).

A fall Plant Sale of elegant and unusual plants from expert horticulturist Ken Selody of rare-plant nursery Atlock Farm in Somerset, NJ will also be included in the show. Selody will bring his one-of-a-kind living sculptures, including precisely trimmed topiaries, along with cacti and other succulents, tropicals, perennials and more.

Specialty food items will also be featured in the show.

Big Brothers Big Sisters will be also collecting gently used clothing items throughout the show. Receipts will be issued for tax-deductible donations of clothing items accepted at the collection truck located near the parking lot.

A coupon for $2 off the $10 admission price is available online at A weekend pass may be purchased for $12. Children under 12 with an adult are free. There is free parking.