Arts Access 2023

A Year in Review

Seven able-bodied dancers onstage, wearing blue tie-dye shirts, blue bandanas on their heads, and black cargo pants. They are standing in a grid, dancing in a hip-hop style.

Every day at Arts Access is full of exciting achievements and creative freedom. This year was filled with new opportunities to share our artists’ work with the world. Join us for a review of some of this year’s most memorable moments.



Virtual gallery with Arts Access "Winter Blues II" exhibited paintings.

Winter Blues II

Returning for its second iteration, Winter Blues II celebrated the beauty, calm, and comfort of the winter season. The exhibition presented a range of artistic techniques from sweeping abstractions and strong geometric forms to precise mark-making and subtle explorations of color. Though distinct in style, these paintings are anchored by one commonality: A blue color palette.

Read more about Winter Blues II.

Virtual gallery with Arts Access "In Like a Lion" exhibited paintings.

In Like a Lion

This year, Arts Access presented a special two-part exhibition inspired by the proverb, “In like a lion, out like a lamb,” to celebrate the arrival of spring.

In Like a Lion highlighted paintings that reflect the roaring and uncertain weather of early spring. The paintings were connected through their gestural, chaotic, and seemingly uncalculated nature.

Read more about In Like a Lion

Virtual gallery with Arts Access "Out Like a Lamb" exhibited paintings.

Out Like a Lamb

The second half of our special two-part spring exhibition, Out Like a Lamb featured paintings that focused on more subtle qualities color and composition. This collection was both meditative and fascinating, and provoked the viewer to pause and reflect on their simplicity.

Read more about Out Like a Lamb

Choreographer Nancy Soto performing her original work during Dance Day 2023.

International Dance Day

On Friday, April 29, Arts Access and Matheny celebrated International Dance Day with a special virtual performance of dances choreographed by Ellen KaneJames Lane, and Nancy Soto.

Watch the performances:

Ellen’s Dance:

James’ Dance:

Nancy’s Dance:

In-Person Exhibits and Performances

Arts Access writer Luis Rodriguez performing on stage with two actors at the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center during the 2023 Plays by People performance.

Plays By People 2023

Plays By People finally made its triumphant return as an in-person event this year! Not only that, but for the first time this year we had two performances of this exciting event.

Five Arts Access playwrights were featured in this year’s event, including Jess EvansCheryl ChapinChris SaglimbeneMike Cornely, and Luis Rodriguez.

Read more about Plays By People.

Exhibiting artists Bari-Kim Goldrosen, Nancy Soto, and Thomas Christian at Monmouth Museum opening reception.

For Art’s Sake

In the spring of 2023, Arts Access was delighted to have an exhibit in the Nilson Gallery at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, NJ. For Art’s Sake, featured acrylic paintings and drawings by 20 talented artists from Arts Access who embody the idea that art is created for the purpose of art itself, and for enjoying the process of creating it.

Read more about the exhibit.

New Jersey Medical School Collaborative Arts Exhibit 2023 virtual gallery with exhibited paintings.
Arts Access exhibited paintings at 2023 New Jersey Medical School Collaborative ARTS Exhibit.

13th Annual Rutgers NJMS Collaborative ARTS Exhibit

Collaboration in the arts is always an exciting endeavor, and we are so proud to have been part of the Collaborative ARTS Exhibit at Rutgers NJMS for 13 years now! Once again, the artists from Arts Access and JSDD’s WAE Center brought their incredible talents together for another truly inspiring exhibition. Additionally, we were so excited to offer this exhibit as a hybrid event, with both in-person and virtual options for viewing the art.

Read more about the Collaborative ARTS Exhibit.
Read more about the virtual reception.

Gallery wall with three framed paintings and one framed drawing on exhibit by several Arts Access artists.

Windows at Studio Montclair

During the month of August, eight Arts Access artists displayed their work in the Windows at Studio Montclair! The Windows at Studio Montclair Gallery is an exciting alternative venue for members to curate small group and solo exhibits.

Read more about the exhibit.

Artists and guests with exhibited paintings in the background at The Center for Contemporary Art "Counterpoint" artists' reception in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Counterpoint at CCA

In the fall of 2023, Arts Access was thrilled to have an exhibit at The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ. Counterpoint featured 27 acrylic paintings by 17 talented artists from Arts Access. 

Read more about the exhibit.

Artist Josh Handler with family and friends at Full Circle 2023 in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center gallery with exhibited paintings in the background.

Full Circle 2023: Reemergence

One of the most highly anticipated events at Arts Access, Full Circle is a multi-disciplinary fine arts showcase featuring original work created by the Arts Access artists. This year, Full Circle returned for the first time as an in-person celebration of the Arts Access artists since before the start of the pandemic!

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Saturday, November 4th for Full Circle 2023: Reemergence.

Learn more about the event.
Read the full event recap.


Three artists and banner "Celebrating 30 Years of Arts Access".

Arts Access Celebrates 30 Years

To celebrate three incredible decades, we asked all of you to share with us your most memorable events, exhibits, performances, and merchandise throughout the years. We haven’t finished tallying all the results yet, so check back soon for the final count!

Arts Access Note Card Collection 3 based on paintings by artists Cynthia Shanks, Tammy Heppner, and Isabell Villacis.
Silk tie based on painting titled "Boardwalk" by artist James Lane.

New Artist Merchandise

This year, we introduced five new items to the Arts Access merchandise collection! Including:

These new merchandise items not only widened the selection of merchandise items in our Art Shop, but also provided more vocational opportunities to our artists.

Visit our art shop to browse the new merchandise.

Artists Sunday 2023 logo on top of background featuring splashes of bright colors.

Fourth Annual Artists Sunday

This fall, Arts Access joined artists and organizations across the country for the fourth annual Artists Sunday, a nationwide event the Sunday after Thanksgiving, encouraging consumers to shop with artists and craftspeople.

Read more about Artists Sunday.


14th Annual CAN Awards

On Thursday, June 15th, Arts Access attended and performed at this annual awards ceremony honoring excellence in cultural access throughout NJ. Ellen Kane and James Lane performed their dances from this year’s International Dance Day celebration for an appreciative and enthusiastic audience!

Four dancers performing an original work by choreographer Ellen Kane with Performing Arts Coordinator Heather Williams providing introductions for The Cultural Access Network Project in 2023.
Choreographer James Lane performing his original work with Performing Arts Coordinator Heather Williams and Dance Facilitator Alyssa Thostesen for The Cultural Access Network Project in 2023.

Art in the Park

On Sunday, September 17th, Arts Access participated in Peapack-Gladstone’s 23rd annual Art in the Park event. We loved meeting new faces, reconnecting with old friends, and selling Arts Access merchandise along the way!


Arts Access profiled on

Arts Access was honored to be the first organization featured in Exhibbit’s new User Story article series. Exhibbit co-founder Amanda Lane spoke with Julia Halsey (our Exhibits and Collections Coordinator) about how we use Exhibbit to share our artists work online.

Arts Access featured on

Andre Malik from visited the arts center this year and put together a beautiful piece about Karen Yates’ work in our program.

Watch the video.
Read the article.


Choreographer Cheryl Chapin on the right side of a split screen working virtually with Dance Facilitator Alyssa Thostesen, pictured on the left side of the screen, on stage in a dance pose directed virtually by Ms. Chapin.

Virtual Facilitation

Since its development during the spring of 2020, our virtual facilitation program has continued to grow and flourish! More and more artists are returning to Arts Access via their computers and we have welcomed some entirely new artists to our program thanks to the accessibility and flexibility that virtual facilitation offers.

View highlights from virtual facilitation sessions

Artist Ellen Kane at work in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center studio with Painting Facilitator Stephen Haluska.

Returning to the Studio

While virtual facilitation has continued to remain a vital part of our program, we were thrilled to continue to welcome back even more of our artists to the arts center in person this year.

We’d like to say a very special thank you to all of our supporters for helping us continue to create great opportunities like the ones listed here for our artists. Thanks for a memorable and unique year!

To stay up to date on all the latest news and projects from Arts Access, be sure to join our email list and follow us on social media.

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