Celebrating 10 Years

On Monday, August 24th, the Arts Access Program at Matheny, JSDD’s WAE Center, and Rutgers NJMS came together for the virtual artists reception for the 10th annual Rutgers NJMS Collaborative ARTS Exhibit. This year was the first time the exhibition and the reception were both held online. The exhibit was hosted through an online gallery at exhibbit.com, which creates virtual spaces that viewers can “walk through” like they would at an in-person gallery. (Though the exhibition officially ends 8/31, the gallery will be available to view HERE for the next few months) The artists reception was held online via Zoom. A new experience for everyone, the virtual reception was a great success, attended by several of the participating artists and many of their families, friends, and fans!

The reception started with opening remarks from Eileen Murray, director of Arts Access, Monica Schneider-Brewer, of the WAE Center, and Walter Douglas, COO of Rutgers NJMS. They discussed in brief the 10-year history of this event, the hard work and dedication of the artists and staff that made this year’s exhibit possible, and the excitement around being able to still gather together in celebration of art and the human spirit despite restrictions imposed on us all by the current pandemic.

After the introductions, the event continued with presentations by and on behalf of many of this year’s participating artists. Several artists from both Arts Access and the WAE Center were present at the event. Many of the artists spoke about their experiences as artists, what inspires them, and what their creative process is like. Other artists had prepared statements which were read aloud on their behalf by staff from Arts Access and the WAE Center.

The event concluded with a brief question and answer session with the attendees and heartfelt congratulations to the artists! Many remarked how excited they were to have this chance to connect, especially while in-person gatherings are still limited.

As Isabell Villacis of Arts Access reminded us, “we are one art-family.” Art connects us in deep and memorable ways. Thank you to everyone who made this event possible, and a very special thank you to the incredible artists for sharing their talents with us and the rest of the world!

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