Verona Visual Arts Group Forming


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“Mother and Child”, by Rachel Moehl, one of the organizers of Verona Arts

Several weeks ago, a group of Verona residents with diverse backgrounds and interests in the arts got together with Steve Neale, Verona’s director of administration and economic development, to brainstorm how they might increase the visibility and activities surrounding the visual arts in our town. Their goals include expanding the venues where original art can be seen here (such as in businesses and restaurants), launching communal art projects that residents can participate in and be proud of, helping to facilitate workshops and lectures, initiating art projects for Verona’s children, and beautifying town spaces. The group also hopes to begin an annual arts festival, where local artists can exhibit original works.

“When people think of Verona they think of the terrific music programs, and of athletics,” says Laura Morowitz, who is one of the organizers of Verona Arts. “We want to get the visual arts on everyone’s radar, whether you are an artist, an art lover, or just a resident who might not have thought too much about it before.”

Verona Arts intends to fulfill its mission by working with the many community groups and organizations already here in Verona. “We plan to collaborate with our talented art teachers on projects from the elementary schools, as well as HBW and VHS,” Morowitz says. “We are excited to have the cooperation of local businesses, many of whom have already expressed an interest in displaying works.” Morowitz says that Verona Arts will be coming out with specific events and programs very soon and will make sure “everyone knows about them” through the group’s social media pages, as well as through flyers and postcards.

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In addition to Morowitz and Neale, Verona Arts’ founding members include Sarah Federico, Jayme Lim, Rachael Moehl, David Nicolato, Renee Powley and Bruce Wands. Powley, the group’s chair, worked for many years in the curatorial department at the Montclair Art Museum. “The eight of us have a really wide set of experiences and practices in the visual arts,” Morowitz adds. “We include several working artists in various fields, a museum professional, a middle teacher, an art historian, graphic designers, digital and webpage designers, a photographer, and two former chairs of college art departments. So we feel ready and able to take this on.”

Verona Arts will have a meet and greet to kick off its efforts on Thursday, June 13, at 7:30 Blue Hippo Coffee Co, 662 Bloomfield Avenue, just west of Grove Avenue. You can also follow the group on Facebook.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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