Arts & Entertainment

Five SOMA Artists Chosen for First Ever “Open Orange” Exhibition by ValleyArts

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"Tormented Dragon" by South Orange artist, Ann Vollum
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ORANGE, NJ – Five SOMA artists have been selected along with 31 others from New Jersey and New York to show more than 100 of works of art in the inaugural OPEN ORANGE exhibition organized by ValleyArts, May 9 through June 8, at the ValleyArts Firehouse Gallery at 580 Forest Street in Orange, half a block from the popular Hat City Kitchen restaurant.

Kathy Cantwell and John Kuczala of Maplewood as well as Michael Maier, Mike Reilly and Ann Vollum of South Orange will display works in the exhibition.

The opening reception for OPEN ORANGE on Friday, May 9, from 6 to 9 p.m., is free and open to the public. Most of the featured artists are expected to attend. All artworks exhibited in OPEN ORANGE are available for sale.

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ValleyArts is the arts service and activist organization of the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange.  ORANGE gallery hours are Thursdays, 5 to 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, 12:30 to 4 p.m.; and by appointment.

"With the wide range of exceptional artists drawn to participate in the selective OPEN ORANGE process, this exhibition is a testament to how quickly the Valley Arts District is becoming known as a home and a destination for creative people from the Oranges and throughout the region," said Richard T. Bryant, ValleyArts Executive Director.  

The nationally prominent jurors who chose the artists to participate in OPEN ORANGE are Antonio Sergio Bessa, Director of Curatorial and Educational Programs for the Bronx Museum; Diedra Harris-Kelley, Co-director of the Romare Bearden Foundation; and Naima J. Keith, Assistant Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem.  

OPEN ORANGE is a project of the ValleyArts Visual Arts Advisory Committee chaired by artist Jeremy Moss. OPEN ORANGE co-chairs are Mr. Moss and committee member Nigel Freeman, Director of African American Fine Art at New York's Swann Auction Galleries. Advisory Committee members are Sarah Canfield, Chris Cosmillo, Ronald Freeman, Leah D. Smith, and Heidi Sussman.  

OPEN ORANGE artworks were submitted online and included any 2D medium - paintings, photographs, prints, mixed-media works, and works on paper. One top prize, Best in Show, will offer an artist the opportunity for a one-person exhibition at the Firehouse Galley in the 2014-15 season. Best in Show will be announced at the Opening reception on May 9.

Other public events featured as part of OPEN ORANGE include a Gallery Talk on Saturday, May 25 at 3pm; a neighborhood ArtWalk on Thursday, May 15 at 5pm that includes Open Orange, a walking tour to four nearby galleries, and the Victoria Society's awards event and reception to honor HANDS and ValleyArts; and, on Saturday, June 7 11am to 7pm, a day-long OPEN ORANGE open house at the second annual HAT CITY STREETS FESTIVAL. 

In addition to the OPEN ORANGE exhibition this year's HAT CITY STREETS FESTIVAL will feature an outdoor fine art marketplace, student exhibitions from Orange Public Schools, family craft areas, and a day-long series of concert events. 

The ValleyArts Firehouse Gallery, located at 580 Forest Street in Orange, is a beautifully renovated and repurposed historic firehouse that opened in 2013 as a signature visual gallery space for ValleyArts and its artists. The gallery hosts an array of exhibitions, shows, and events throughout the year. 

ValleyArts is a hyper-local non-profit arts service organization for Orange and West Orange, New Jersey. It is funded in part by JPMorgan Chase, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and others.  For more information, visit the ValleyArts website at www.valleyartsnj.com, or call 862-252-7035

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