BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - With Saturday's dismal forecast for an art festival in the park, the Art in the Park committee, along with the support of community leaders, transformed the gym at Columbia Middle School into a garden of exhibits and hands on activities for the children. There was no loss of enthusiasm for the arts and a fun event was had by all, said Midge Vicendese, event chair. The Art in the Park committee pulled off this difficult task beautifully.

Art in the Park was the brainchild of Vicendese, who along with her committee of artists, community and business leaders and volunteers, executed the idea of promoting arts in the community to raise funds for the future restoration of Peppertown Park. 

Berkeley Heights is the home to several local artists, and Vicendese has long been an advocate to celebrating all arts. Her hope is the soon to be renovated Peppertown Park will be a mecca for promoting the arts and help to draw attention to Berkeley Heights as a destination spot.

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We are in awe of the creativity and immeasurable talents of the artists, said Vicendese. "You all helped to put Berkeley Heights on the map as an artist’s destination."  

The room was transformed into a bright colorful garden blooming with exhibits that included work by photographers; painters; sketch artists; potters; crafters with Glass Garden art, herb gardens and woodwork, knit and crochet work, silk scarves, and much more. Click here to see photo gallery by Lucinda Hayes.  

"We've been really busy, it's been great," said Beth Ferris Sale, who was responsible for solicitation to several hundred artists. Artists are booking a year in advance, so she expects to have even a larger turn out for next year's Art in the Park event. Considering the rain, it's just going to get bigger and bigger, she said -- with possibilities to include student art in the future.

There were plenty of hands-on activities for the future art enthusiasts that created spin art, sand art, added to the "Art Garden" drawing and created rock art. The children and adults alike also stood in line for elaborate face painting designs. 

"I think the Art in the Park committee did a fantastic job. There has been a steady flow [of guests] all afternoon," said Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley. Along with Kingsley, council members and candidates were in attendance. 

To learn more about the Peppertown Park Renewal Project, visit

Related article from Committee thanking all involved including community leaders, sponsors, local business support, volunteers and the talented artists: Rain Didn't Dampen Our Vision for Art in the Park