TSTI to host ‘Open Essex’ exhibit

Photo Courtesy of TSTI
At left is ‘Sisters,’ by Ellen Hark, and at right is ‘Don’t Box Me In,’ by Joanne Leone.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Starting in November, 77 pieces from 30 Essex County artists will be showcased at the “Open Essex” exhibit at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in its art gallery. The art opening, which is free and open to the public, will be Sunday, Nov. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m. Oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, charcoal and chalk drawings, and photographs will be displayed in the Reform synagogue’s art space at 432 Scotland Road in South Orange.

“We wanted to provide greater exposure to the talented Essex County art community and our committee has curated an impressive collection of hand-rendered and photographic pieces,” said Richard Koch, art committee chairman. The artists represent towns throughout the county; many will be at the opening to meet the public and talk about their work.

“The member response to the gallery has been very positive and we’ve gotten great feedback on both our initial member art show and the nature photography show in September,” Koch said. “Out of those experiences, the committee decided to open it up to a wider pool of local artists.”

Among the artists whose works will be shown are Ellen Hark, of West Orange, and Joanne Leone, of Orange. Both taught art for many years — Hark for 30 years at South Orange Middle School and Leone for 35 years at all grade levels in Newark, where she grew up and attended Arts High School.

Hark, formerly of Maplewood, has exhibited at various galleries in Essex and Morris counties, including the past eight years at the Gaelen Center for the Arts at the JCC of Greater MetroWest in West Orange.

“Shows like this at TSTI are a great way to spotlight artists who live in the area, and share their art with the wider community,” Hark said. “It’s also a great way to get more community participation among residents of all ages.” Hark works in many media but primarily in collages. 

Leone, who now lives a few blocks from TSTI, said, “I love the idea of having a gallery in my neighborhood that encourages local artists and celebrates creative expression. I want to support that.” Her art studio is in Short Hills where, like Hark, she works in various media. She is also involved in curating exhibits, creating installations, and collaborating with other artists.