Dozens of students, community members and Monmouth County artists packed into the CVA Gallery in Lincroft on March 9 for the official unveiling of the new exhibit “Brookdale Selects – The Art Alliance of Monmouth County.”
The mixed-media exhibit, on display through March 29, features more than 100 paintings, sculptures, photography and other works contributed by 92 members of the The Art Alliance of Monmouth County.
Three of those artists, who will be meeting with Brookdale photography students on April 11 as part of this semester’s Visiting Artist Series, also provided overviews of their career paths and artistic processes during an official opening reception on March 9.
Photographers Robert and Elisabeth McKay, owners of McKay Imaging Photography in Red Bank, spoke of the challenges they encountered while attempting to turn their artistic passions into a successful business venture.
“Liz and I both have arts backgrounds and/or arts educations and have never had any type of business background,” said Robert McKay, who along with Liz began his educational career at Brookdale.
“Throughout the last 23 years, we have approached the photo business as two artists who knew that they had to make it work if they wanted to make a living doing the work that they love. We feel like we have been fairly successful at this, having achieved a sufficient measure of financial security to live the way we want to live and, just as importantly, a sense of satisfaction in the work that we are creating.”
Award-winning visual artist Jill Kerwick provided the second presentation of the evening, discussing her unique approach to sculptural tableau photography. In addition to her technique, which combines original paintings, antiques, “found art” and digital imaging software, Kerwick also discussed some of the motivations and emotions that inspired her work.
A resident of Fair Haven, Kerwick also remarked on the community-centered mission of the CVA Gallery and the importance of highlighting so many local artists in one space.
“The CVA Gallery is one of the most professional looking spaces in Monmouth County. It’s a museum-quality space,” she said, following her talk.
“This is an important opportunity for artists whose works are on the walls of the very same room. To be part of their world, artists are constant pollinators. Every artist finds their own way. The Monmouth County artists are very strong, and the more shows there are to see the more inspirational it is for all those who get to experience the art.”
Following the reception, the exhibit was opened up to thousands of local middle school and high school students during the 2018 Teen Arts Festival. Held from March 15-16 on the Lincroft campus, the festival offered local arts lovers and aspiring young artists the opportunity to study and learn from some of the county’s most accomplished professionals.
“It’s so important for young arts students to see that they are not alone and that their artistic points of view are not unlike those of other artists nearby,” said Elisabeth McKay. “It’s good for them to see that when they get out of high school, there are strong local groups that will welcome them and allow them to express themselves and expand their artistic horizons within a like-minded community.”
The annual Visiting Artist Series, which brings together working artists, Brookdale art students and community members for intimate workshops and public events, is sponsored by grants from the Monmouth County Arts Council and Brookdale.
The CVA Gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about upcoming gallery events click here.
Check out more photos from the March 9 Opening Reception here. All photos by Tom Smith.
[Feature photo: Robert and Elisabeth McKay speak during an opening reception in the CVA Gallery on March 9. Photo by Tom Smith.]