WEST ORANGE, NJ – Two long-time leaders of the Oscar Schindler Performing Arts Center (OSPAC) are during the late spring and summer and the New Jersey Arts Incubator (NJAI) told the West Orange Township Council on Tuesday that much more could be done to improve and expand the center’s offerings with greater financial support.
Susan Anderson, communications director of West Orange who served as NJAI’s executive/creative directo, said many people assume that the center has adequate money because it’s a public facility, but that OSPAC works with a very small budget.
“We make wine out of water,” said Anderson, adding that the tight budget restricts the types of programs that can be offered, and that donations make a major difference.
Rachelle Dickerson, chairwoman of NJAI, said that $0.99 of every donation goes back into programming. She added that, other than a grant from Carvel for an arts program, the center has gotten little corporate support.
Dickerson urged area residents to support OSPAC and to learn about programs being presented this summer by visiting njai.org.
“We would like to offer better programming,” she said. “OSPAC is a jewel. It’s beautiful, but due to financial constraints we aren’t doing as much as we can with it.”
She added that the facility needs an upgrade to its sound system and additional lighting along the long pathway from the lake area.
“There is no reason that OSPAC shouldn’t be a world class facility,” said West Orange resident Roger Apollon. “People will travel there from all over if every event is at a high level and free. We should have the same mindset for OSPAC as West Orange has with its public schools when it comes to the arts. We should strive to make it the best it can possibly be.”
Councilwoman Susan McCartney thanked the NJAI leaders and Apollon for bringing this issue to the fore.
“I would love to brainstorm about better ways to use local talent at OSPAC,” she said. “Having a ‘battle of the bands’ might be a possibility.”
McCartney also urged residents to support West Orange’s 2017 Earth Day Event, called “The Garden.” Five hundred trees will be planted at 577 Mount Pleasant Avenue on April 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To sign up, email Joe McCartney at JosephPMC53@gmail.com.
To read more about this meeting, click HERE.