Arts & Entertainment

Gallery U in Westfield Celebrates NJ Teachers with Art Exhibit and Poetry Night

"Repose" by Joy Ann Cabanos will be on dipslay at Gallery U in August. Credits: Courtesy of Robert Langdon and Gallery U
 "Precausal Reasoning" by Brad Terhune will be on dipslay at Gallery U in August. Credits: Courtesy of Robert Langdon and Gallery U
"Heartfelt" by Charlann Meluso will be on dipslay at Gallery U in August. Credits: Courtesy of Robert Langdon and Gallery U

WESTFIELD, NJ — Next month, Gallery U Boutique in Westfield will celebrate the works of New Jersey teachers with two Back to School events—an art exhibit and an evening of poetry.

“It gives them an opportunity to present their own work,” said Gallery U Manager Robert Langdon.

“Being seen as a teacher can be very different from being recognized as an artist,” said Joy Ann Cabanos, an instructor for the M.O.R.E. afterschool program at McKinley School whose art and poetry will be showcased at the events.

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“It matters that art students see how their teacher’s creativity manifests in the world outside school,” said Cabanos. “Showing our work in an art exhibit helps the kids see that art holds an important place in the community, and that someday they can be an active part of the community’s creative spirit.”

The Back to School art exhibit will be displayed from Aug. 7 to Sept. 8, with an opening reception held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 7. It will feature works of art by art teachers from both public and private schools around New Jersey, including Cabanos and Brad Terhune, an art instructor at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark.

 “There are all different mediums and styles, as well,” said Langdon.

On Aug. 28, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., Gallery U will host its Back to School Poetry U event, part of a series of monthly poetry readings. Among the readers will be Cabanos and Millicent Brody, a retired Westfield teacher and columnist for TAP into Westfield.

Gallery U Boutique is both a fully functional art space and shopping boutique. The retail shop is an extension of Universal Institute, a rehabilitation facility that services adults with traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

“Clients at Universal Institute take part in all aspects of running Gallery U Boutique,” said Langdon. “Vocational, occupational and cognitive therapies are conducted in our workrooms. Working at Gallery U Boutique provides an opportunity for our TBI clients to rejoin the workforce, engage with the community, learn new skills and experience the transformative power of art through exposure to existing art and creation of their own artwork.”

For more information, contact Gallery Manager Robert Langdon at

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