PEAPACK -- "All of my plays," says Amy Myers, "are about stories of my life. Playwriting is a way that I get my feelings out." Myers, the daughter of Rockaway residents Bill and Peggy Myers, is an artist in the Matheny Medical and Educational Center's Arts Access Program, which empowers individuals with disabilities to fully express themselves in the creative arts. Amy, who lives in Matheny's Franklin Township community residence, is not only a playwright but is also a poet, painter, and choreographer. "My favorite though," she says, "is playwriting. It's a good way to explain about people with disabilities, about my life, and what people don't understand."
Myers's play, "The Monsters Go Away", will be presented at Full Circle 2019, the annual celebration of Arts Access, to be held on Saturday, November 2, in The Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus here. Matheny is a special hospital and educational facility for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities. The theme of this year's Full Circle is Art Without Limits.
In addition to "The Monsters Go Away", the Full Circle stage presentation will include two other plays, five poetry readings, and four dance performances. There will also be a visual arts exhibit curated by Haeree Park, Arts Access Project and Event Coordinator, that will include 65 paintings. Park stated “I am constantly amazed with Arts Access artists’ talents and creative minds! I appreciate them for sharing it with us all and can’t wait for people to see the show!”.
One of the dance presentations, created by Lee Cramer Papierowicz of Monmouth Junction, is called "Confident". It's a tribute to her cousin who currently serves in the U.S. Army. According to Heather Williams, Arts Access Performing Arts and Outreach Coordinator, the dance "demonstrates Lee's patriotism as well as her own personal strength, as she is featured as one of the dancers. It has a lot of intricate patterns and fun interactions between the dancers." Papierowicz is very passionate about dance and painting and will also have an acrylic on canvas painting, "Just Me 1", in the visual arts exhibit, When asked for a preview of "Confident", she said, "I look at music videos and turn them into my cool but evil style."
Another dance to be featured at Full Circle will be performed to the Debbie Gibson song, "Lost in Your Eyes". It was choreographed by Arts Access artist Josh Handler, who emphasizes that the dance, "has nothing to do with Debbie's music video of the song. This is my dance to her music. I've had it in my head for a long time that I wanted to do this." Handler's metal print, "Flying High", will also be displayed in the visual arts exhibit.
Among artists who will be represented by multiple pieces in the visual arts exhibit is Chet Cheesman, who has been painting in the Arts Access Program for 25 years. He will have two acrylics on canvas, "I Would Like You" and "Lost Out in Space" and a pigment print called "Blue Sky" in the exhibit. Cheesman utilizes a variety of styles and sensibilities to express his creativity. His geometric paintings demonstrate a bold confidence, while his more freeform works exude an intense energy through frenetic lines and brushstrokes that dart across the canvas.
"When Chet comes into the studio, says Joe Matousek, his facilitator, “he sets high standards for himself, and reaches them. He loves to paint and enjoys creating whimsical stories about friends and family. He loves doing splatter paint and really likes watching the colors mix right in front of him and how the paint reacts to the canvas.”
Artist Ellen Kane's acrylic and digital works have been presented in several prestigious group exhibitions throughout the metropolitan area, including Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, The Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, and The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. She will be represented by three acrylics on canvas at Full Circle: "My House", "Group Home", and "The Good Samaritan".
Several years ago, Kane and fellow artist James Lane collaborated on a joint exhibit held in Morristown. Both are abstract artists with distinct signature styles that have developed and matured through the years. Lane, one of the first Arts Access artists, has developed a unique visual language incorporating intriguing patterns and techniques. He enjoys taking risks with his art, exploring and experimenting with new colors, techniques, and shapes. His contributions to the Full Circle exhibit will be two acrylics on canvas, "Abdul" and "Far Away"; and one pigment print, "Amy".
Through the years, Michael Martin's visual artwork has been exhibited at venues such as the Monmouth Museum, the Bernardsville Public Library, and Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Brunswick. His work is very recognizable and includes large and small acrylic works on canvas and digital paintings. According to Visual Arts facilitator Stephen Haluska, Martin's style, “is very intricate and detailed, with lots of steps and layers. He uses all sorts of different tools to create all kinds of effects. He has a strong aesthetic that he knows and desires. And, you can almost always tell a painting is a Mike Martin.”
Cheesman, Kane, Lane, and Martin all had paintings on display at "The Art of Choice", Arts Access's premiere exhibit at Sotheby's in New York City, held this past February.
According to Eileen Murray, Director, Arts Access artists, "have complete freedom to explore a world that is defined only by their unlimited creativity and unique self-expression. Participants choose every thing from the paint color and brush stroke, to a dance or theatrical movement, to the written word. They create works that are distinctly their own."
The sale of every piece of Arts Access artwork directly benefits the Arts Access Program and its artists. The proceeds from original artwork -- paintings, prints, and sculptures -- are shared evenly: 50% goes directly to the artists in support of their professional careers, and 50% goes to the program to help subsidize the cost of art materials and framing. Artists are also paid a licensing fee for the use of their art in wearable and functional art merchandise, including jewelry, scarves, ties, and mugs, which will be available for sale at Full Circle.
Full Circle 2019: Art Without Limits will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, in Matheny's Robert Schonhorn Arts Center, located at 65 Highland Ave. in Peapack. The contemporary fine art exhibit will begin at 3 p.m., followed by the stage performance at 3:45. The entire event will be complemented with gourmet tastings from a fine local establishment.
Major funding for the event includes the generosity of: The National Endowment For the Arts, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, McCarter & English, LLP, ShopRite and numerous Families and Friends of Arts Access.
Admission is $50, and tickets may be ordered by logging onto artsaccessprogram.org/event/full-circle-2019, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (908) 234-0011, ext. 1260.