LIVINGSTON, NJ — Abstract art, photography, mosaics, sculptures and more are featured in the Arts Council of Livingston’s (ACL) new “Art of Illusion” exhibit, which opened on Saturday with a celebratory reception and will be on display through Dec. 7.  

In addition to the various artists who showcased and discussed their latest creations, ACL members, local dignitaries and Livingston residents eager to view the offerings were among the visitors during the weekend’s kickoff event.

ACL member Hugh Mahon, a retired Livingston Public Schools art teacher and a celebrated local artist, commented that it was an “art weekend in town,” as the Essex County Riker Hill Art Park hosted an Open Studio event while the ACL previewed its new exhibit over the first weekend of November.

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Declaring that Livingston is “becoming an art destination,” Mahon also mentioned another gallery in town, La Vie Art Gallerie, which exhibits paintings, fine art photography, sculptures and jewelry.  

Mahon explained that ACL wants to “stimulate the gift of art for the holidays.” To that end, ACL’s gallery will feature large and higher end art as well as some more affordable pieces with price tags below $100. 

As an example of ACL’s dedication to art, he noted that ACL takes less of a commission from artists’ sales than most galleries, and profits are “recycled into grants for fine art, theater, music and dance arts.” 

Larry Sohn, an artist on the ACL Gallery Committee, described what art means to him. 

“To me, art is a method of communicating in such a way that we can evoke thought—to encourage discourse, debate and discussion,” he said. “Through this, we foster communication, and every single problem can be resolved through communication.” 

Sohn added that he finds it intriguing when people “see one thing at first glance” and then start to see “different aspects of a piece of art” when they delve deeper into it.

Photographer Nancy Bernhaut Scott, who was a student of Mahon’s at Heritage Middle School a few decades ago and has also been a member of the (ACL) for years, commented that the ACL “is a unique nonprofit that is vital to the community.”

“The gallery provides a great way to be involved with other local artists who are creative and inspirational,” said Scott, who enjoys the camaraderie of the other artists in the group.

Chas Palminteri, another one of the artists, shared that one of the benefits of being involved with the ACL is being able to “meet other artists and exchange ideas.” After decades as an art director for Manhattan advertising agencies, Palminteri is now a full-time artist and enjoys creating abstract sculptures and repurposing obsolete electronics into new art pieces.

Artists whose work is featured in the current exhibit include: 

  • Hollie Graze 
  • Evan Marshall 
  • Vivian Olshen 
  • Linda Schulman 
  • Nancy Bernhaut Scott 
  • Michael Shacham 
  • Larry Sohn 
  • Rhoda Weinstein 
  • Cindy Wolf 
  • Hugh Mahon 
  • Chas Palminteri 
  • Yvette Ramos-Volz 

The ACL was founded in 1990 and is currently comprised of the following visual and performing art groups:  

  • Livingston Arts Association 
  • Livingston Camera Club 
  • Livingston Community Players 
  • Livingston Symphony Orchestra  
  • Riker Hill Art Park 
  • Ruth L. Rockwood Memorial Library
  • New Jersey Ballet Company 
  • Children's Theatre of Livingston 
  • Bravo Alliance of Performing Arts 
  • Essex County Summer Players 

The arts council’s mission is to increase the visibility of the arts in Livingston and surrounding towns by supporting and coordinating Livingston’s visual and performing art disciplines.

According to Mahon, the ACL has displayed the work of more than 100 different artists in its 10-year history. 

The ACL Art Gallery is located at 2130 Town Center Way. The entrance is on Carillon Circle next to Destination Maternity. Visit the ACL Gallery’s Facebook page or call 973-747-2257 for more information.