MORRISTOWN, NJ - Music, dance and art not only bring culture to society, but also are quite important within a community. On Thursday, Jan. 24, the Arts Council of the Morris Area celebrated 40 years with a reception at their gallery on Maple Avenue in Morristown.
Since its inception, it has grown significantly, consistently earning accolades for its quality programs and services. For the past 15 consecutive years, the Arts Council has received a “Citation of Excellence” award and has been designated as “A Major Service Organization” by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in recognition of its “solid history of service excellence, substantial activity and broad public service.”
Their mission is to build the community through arts, enrich people’s lives in the community, be a catalyst for positive social change, to provide art education for children and to offer a meaningful experience for residents of Morris County.
Some of their strategic goals are to inspire artistic expression and creativity in schools, the workplace, public spaces and communities and connect artists, residents, businesses and community organizations interested in making Morris County a more culturally rich, accessible and diverse community. They also hold many exhibits, events in the community, programs in the schools and arts advocacy locally and statewide.
President of the Arts Council Alan Levitan joined the organization eight years ago because of his interest in art education for students. It’s important to expose children to art at a young age, he said.
“Art’s an important part of our lives,” Levitan said. “It’s extremely gratifying and it’s important to help the community.”
Executive Director Tom Werder has only been there for eight months, but said his extensive background of working at several dance and theater companies will help him succeed at the Arts Council, he said.
“I think it (art) saves lives and it’s what makes us human,” Werder said “I think art transforms us and make sense of the crazy world we live in.”
Julia Gibson, who is on the board of the council started as an intern a year and a half ago and stayed because of her passion for the arts. She is currently looking for volunteers to lead a youth initiative as well.
“I came out to support Morris Art because of the work they are doing in the community,” Gibson said.