Arts & Entertainment

Hilltop Country Day School Art Exhibition And Sale Showcases And Sells Work Of Tri-State Artists: Continues Through Sunday

Paintings by featured artist, Eugene Maziarz. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The jewel-encrusted Helen of Troy bust by Susan Marie David. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Palm and other sculptures, crafted from cement, by Gregory George. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Paul Michael Kane's photography on glass, and canvas. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The works of Liza J. Smith-Simpson. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sculptures by Larry Unick. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sculptures by Larry Unick. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Some of the works of Nicolena Nina. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Some Sussex County scenes by Liza J. Smith-Simpson. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Portraits, including Marilyn Monroe, by Denise M. Cohen. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
"Spooky Moon Art," by Denise M. Cohen. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The works of SuzAnne Pacala, an art teacher at the school. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Posthumous artwork by Wendell M. Upchurch (1946-2000). Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Linda A. Ippolito Collage on Clayboard and Canvas. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Swirls and sphere by Richard Weber. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Alpaca-wear by Vicki Diamond. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
CT Beck's Alaskan artwork. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sea-inspired Polymer Clay Art by Karen Amberg Ruzycki. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
"Shenanequins," and jewelry by Susan Marie David. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller


SPARTA, NJ – The works of almost 40 local artists are featured through Sunday, October 14, at the Hilltop Country Day School for the school’s 35th Annual Art Exhibition and Sale.

“The kids liked seeing the school transform into an art gallery,” said Lindsay Hughes, the school’s development director.

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The annual exhibition helps to raise funds for the school.

“We want to have creative young kids who think outside of the box,” said Hughes.

The proceeds will go towards SMART Boards, and other programs such as the school’s outdoor classroom, to help foster the spirit of creativity.

“It’s [the exhibit and sale] something different for the community,” Hughes continued, as she took The Alternative Press on a guided to of the exhibit areas.

She said approximately 150 guests attended the exhibit opening, and over 50 had passed through on Saturday.

Nina Romano, a school trustee, and event co-chair, said Sunday is historically a busy day for the exhibit, and sale, with even more in attendance expected than Saturday.

“We have a great group of artists this year,” said event coordinator, Martine Romano, Nina Romano’s niece, and an alumnus of Hilltop Country Day School.

Martine Romano was a student from Kindergarten through Eighth Grades. She majored in Art History in college, and, has since earned her Master’s Degree. Her mother at one time was the coordinator of the art exhibit and sale. It is Romano’s second year as coordinator.

“It’s nice to come back, and do something with the school,” she said.

Romano described the types of works on display as “multimedia.” The items ranged from paintings to sculptures; from photography to jewelry; and, from pottery to textile items.

There were various galleries, sponsored by various local businesses. They included: the Main Gallery sponsored by Edhard Corp.; the Photography Gallery sponsored by Lakeland Bank; the Portfolio Hall sponsored by Residential Home Funding; and, the Fine Craft Gallery sponsored by the Maneri Law Firm.

Each year the exhibition showcases the work of a featured artist. This year’s artist was Eugene Maziarz. Maziarz originally hails from Poland, and, his paintings reflect nature scenes in an impressionist style.

Other participating artists were: Corine Barton, CT Beck, Denise M. Cohen, Janis Cutler Gear, Susan Marie David, Vicki Diamond, Karen Embelton-Valido, Linda Finkelstein, Gregory George, Debbie Gioello, Wil Goldschmidt, Donna Gratkowski, Michael Gruodis, Jeannine Happe, Trevor Hodgson, Linda A. Ippolito, Dawn Marie Johnson, Paul Michael Kane, Kulvinder Kaur Dhwe, Jane Brennan Koeck, Sarah Logan, Virginia L. May, Patrick O’Connor, SuzAnne Pacala, Lisa Palombo, Nicolena Nina Palumbo, Agnes Rizzo, Brienne Rosner, Karen Ambery Ruzycki, Robert Schedinger, Liza J. Smith-Simpson, Jill Swersie, Elena Tartaglia, Larry Unick, Wendell M. Upchurch (1946-2000), and Richard Weber.

For complete information on all of the artists, click here for the Hilltop Art website.

On Friday night, many of the artists helped to kick off the exhibit, and discuss their works, at the opening reception. Participating restaurants and wine purveyors at the reception were: Affinage Cheese Shop, Andre’s Restaurant & Wine Boutique, Café Pierrot, Perona Farms, RoNetco ShopRite Supermarkets, Gallo Wines of New Jersey, High Grade Beverage, Kohler Distributing, North East Wines, Opici Wines of New Jersey, and Washington Select Wines. Humble Thread at Sophie’s Place provided the flowers at the reception.

Hughes said most of the artists reside in Sussex County, though some are from Pennsylvania, and New York.

“There’s something for everyone here,” Hughes continued, as she showed the variety of art styles in the main gallery alone.

One of the artists, for example, is Nicolena Nina, whose works have been featured in Arts Unbound Gallery in Orange, N.J., and displays the works of artists with disabilities. The proceeds of some of Nina’s paintings benefit MS Hope For A Cure, as she is someone who suffers from M.S.

Liza J. Smith-Simpson had items on display and for sale in both the Main Gallery, and the Portfolio Hall. In the Main Gallery, Simpson-Smith had some acrylic on canvas paintings of Sussex County scenes, such as Sunflowers in Augusta, Swartswood Road, a rainy day scene on Snover Road in Lafayette, and, an “Autumn View” on the Upper Lake.

In the Portfolio Hall, Simpson-Smith’s work ranged from prints from around the county of the Kittatinny Valley State Park and Lake Mohawk, to as far away as Paris.

Denise Cohen’s “Spooky Moon Art,” with Halloween and Haunted House Portraits, was timely, and were featured across from other portraits created by the artists.

SuzAnne Pacala, the school’s art teacher, had some of her paintings on display for the second year.

Larry Unick, a Sparta sculptor, has become recognizable annually in the show, with his colorful metal wall sculptures, as well as one of his unique glass top tables.

CT Beck, an Alaskan artist, celebrated his first year in the show.

Vicki Diamond’s textile pieces made from Alpaca, and silk, included Alpaca Shifts, necklaces, and scarves.

Susan Marie David was one of the featured jewelers, who had artful necklaces on display and for sale, as well as her “Shenanequins” jeweled figures, including a bust of the golden jewel-encrusted “Helen of Troy.”

Click here to learn about Hilltop Country Day School, and the programs offered. 

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