SOMERVILLE, NJ - Gallery on Main's "Artist of the Month" exhibition for December features paintings by Hackettstown artist Melissa Silvestri.

Admission is free, and Silvestri’s works are available for purchase. 

Meet the artist at a free opening reception on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5-7 p.m.

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Silvestri, who also teaches visual arts at Mount Olive Middle School, works with a variety of mediums — such as oil and acrylic paint, chalk and oil pastel, charcoal, graphite and watercolor. She says her painting style is highly influenced by post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. 

She explains, “My subject matter primarily focuses on spiritual and psychic experiences endured in my waking life and dreams. I believe God (or a form of higher power) communicates with me consistently. I choose specific imagery seen in my dreams and replicate those visions through thick applications of paint and vibrant colors. By applying in this manner, it expresses the energy and emotions felt in each experience.”  

Silvestri continues, “As an art educator, I believe that self-expression and creativity are crucial in a child’s development. The arts allow us to look inside ourselves and through the eyes of another. It helps heal the mind and the soul. Not only do I teach my students the technical aspects of art, but I also show them how to connect with their inner selves and discover their passions through self-expression as they transition through life.

"Art exposes our truth and helps open our eyes to other perspectives and perceptions of our reality. This allows us to expand and connect on a global and spiritual level through compassion, empathy and love and help enlighten the world to the true purpose of life,” she added.

Located at 30 West Main St. Gallery on Main is open Sundays 11 a,n,-5 p.m.; Mondays through Fridays 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment. (Closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, Dec. 25 and Dec. 31).

To learn more, visit www.GalleryOnMainSt.com, call 908-722-4234 or follow facebook.com/GalleryOnMainSomerville.