Warren County Arts Celebrating 30th Anniversary

Here in Warren County, there is an art group that started in 1992 with a few artists and the urging of George Warne, then director of the Cultural and Heritage Commission.   It was created to promote the advancement of the arts in Warren County.  Warren County was in need of a group where artist and folks who appreciate art could come together.  

Mr. Warne invited a bunch of artists that he knew to Shippen Manor to discuss forming an art group.  The artists were excited to be able to come together, network and promote the arts in Warren County.  So, the group was formed, selected a name and officers.  Those founding members were Duane Alpaugh, Jill Batemen, Stan Cohen, John Delonas, Elaine Erny, Al Hough, Jeffrey Kuhlman, Deette Little, Merle Morse, Peggy Niece, Mary Schwartzkopf, Grace Scodari, Carol Southerland, Jack Stephens and Albert Young.   Some of those members are still with the group today.

We met several times at Shippen Manor.  We then moved to the home of our president, Jeffrey Kuhlman.  We soon realized that in order to grow we needed a larger space.  Member Peggy Niece was also a board member at the Warren County Technical School so she approached the rest of the board to secure a bigger place for the meetings. We then became a not-for-profit corporation.  At this time Oxford was building a new municipal building.  When it was complete it was a great place for an art exhibit.  Mayor Don Niece asked if we could put an exhibit up. So, in 1997 we had our first exhibit as a group. The group liked the space and the council liked the art so a marriage was made.    The council supplied the space for our gatherings and we supplied rotating art exhibits for their walls.  So, now we call the Oxford Township Municipal Building home. 

There are rotating art exhibitions at this gallery by the art group’s members and invited guests.   The public is invited to visit and enjoy the artwork when the municipal building is open.   The council has been a great patron of arts for many years.   They have helped create a space for artists to come together and provide the community with an opportunity to experience many artistic disciplines.   Not too many communities in Warren County foster the arts in such away.

WC Arts provides venues for artists to display their works of art and programs each month to stimulate and educate.   Monthly programs run the gamut. There are demonstrations, lectures and workshops in a variety of artistic media from music, dance, writing fine arts and fine crafts.  All are welcome to come to our meetings, artist and none artist alike.   In the winter the meetings are the second Saturday of the month from 1 to 3 and when the days are longer, we meet the second Thursday 7 to 9.  We hold our meeting at the Oxford Municipal Building, 11 Green St, Oxford, NJ (except July and August)  

We also exhibit in other venues when the opportunity arises.  A monthly newsletter is published providing information about the current and upcoming exhibitions, programs, members news, a calendar of our events and artistic opportunities available outside the group.  The group has field trips to various places such as gardens (to gather ideas or photos to create art), museums, art studios and other places to help the creative juices.   

This year to celebrate our 30th anniversary we planned some special events.   First is our 30 Year Retrospect Exhibit. This will be member’s (past & present) art produced over the last 30 years.  This happens June 6th to October 8.  This exhibit is followed by An Ode to Oxford.  All the artwork will of be about Oxford. Our way of thanking Oxford for 30 years of support. This will hang from October 10th to end of the year.  We also have planned a two-day artist retreat September 17 & 18th.  There will be a class in watercolor, bookmaking and binding and acrylics.

If this group sounds like your cup of tea check out our website www.WCARTS.ORG. You can get all the info for joining and what is happening next.


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