Art Upstairs


Gallery Hours:
Tuesday 3:00 – 5:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am – 1:00pm
• Prior to performances and during intermissions for ticketed patrons; or by appointment by contacting:
Charles Miller at 973-539-0345 x6506
or Lee Kaloidis at 973-539-0345 x6587

Art Upstairs Gallery
New Jersey Watercolor Society
Signature Members Exhibit
November 7, 2017 – January 8, 2018
Reception: November 18, 2017  3:00pm – 5:00pm

New Jersey Water Color Society was formed in 1938, by a group of watercolorists and sculptors to buck the dominance of oil painting, 
at the start of a great blossoming of interest in the medium of watercolor. 

The New Jersey Water Color Society has focused on celebrating work of the highest quality in the state. Starting with original member, Lucille Hobbie (president 1955-6), we have included such nationally known luminaries as Henry Gasser (president ‘46-47), Kent Day Coes (1948), William Gorman (President NJWCS ‘57-59, AWS ‘86-93), Ray Ellis (president ’67-68), Arthur Barbour, Roberta Carter Clark (’79-81), Nicolas Reale, Pat San Soucie, etc. Our members have worked in many styles, realist and abstract and advanced the popularity and sweep of the medium. As we have over the years, we include many water-soluble media, watercolor, gouache, acrylic and inks under glass, not on canvas nor including a dominance of collage and no printed elements.  And like the American Watercolor Society we allow artists to use any “water color”, from whatever period, as long as they were original, not done under the assistance 
of an instructor.

We still pride ourselves on exhibiting watercolors of the highest quality of a wide variety of styles on into the 21st century. Like other Societies across the country we are modernizing, using online services to simplify jurying, and using artists of the highest standing to do fair unbiased jurying, while bringing in artists of high standing to come to judge the awards.  We need to thank those who served in the too often thankless job of the presidency, in particular Jinnie May, who shepherded the society through a tricky transition to new technologies. She remains as an invaluable font of knowledge of the workings of the society. I’d also like to make a special shout out to Michael Scherfen how has done an amazing job as our web guru with knowledge and great patience.

More information at

About The Art Upstairs Gallery:
The Art Upstairs Gallery, located in the balcony lobby of MPAC, showcases visual artists from a variety of disciplines, including watercolor, oils, photography, sculpture and more. Each year, the works of over 200 artists are showcased in group exhibits. Each exhibit hangs from six to eight weeks. Groups that have been showcased include the Essex Watercolor Club, New Jersey Photography Forum, Millburn-Short Hills Art Center and more.

The gallery provides a unique opportunity to marry the visual and performing arts, and to provide exposure to these artists to an audience that may not normally frequent an art gallery.

Artwork is available for purchase. The Gallery is open two hours prior to showtime and by appointment. For more information, please contact Charles Miller at

The Art Upstairs Gallery is a gift of the John and Margaret Post Foundation.

The Starlight Gallery: 
Currently exhibiting: The New Art Group, November 1, 2017 - Jan 3, 2018
More information:

The New Art Group, based out of the Watchung Arts Center in Watchung, will be on view from November 1, 2017 -Jan 3, 2018.

The New Art Group has chosen the color red as the theme for this exhibit. These artists have taken and processed the history of this color in all of its varieties and used it to highlight their works. Warm colors draw the eye, so where ever a shade of red is used, they are amplifying their statements.

Not so new anymore, the New Art Group was founded in 1990. With a 27-year exhibition history, the New Art Group is one of New Jersey’s longest standing art collectives. The Group has had over 60 exhibitions together along with hundreds of exhibits and events produced by the individual members.  Over the years, they have been reviewed by almost every regional newspaper and a wide variety of online news sites. The members of the New Art Group included in this exhibit are: Susan Ahlstrom of Stirling, Francesca Azzara of Westfield, Nancy Ori of Berkeley Heights, Paul Pinkman of Plainfield, Heidi Sussman of West Orange and Katie Truk of Hamilton Square.

Nancy Ori and Heidi Sussman are presenting abstract mixed media works. Ori’s pieces are straight photographs coated with acrylic medium. They use the color red as a major compositional element to accent her strong sense of design.  Of their work, Sussman says: "Without a representational object, the brashness and intensity of the color red speaks for itself as it becomes its own subject and focal point." Heidi Sussman uses red to create original paintings using oil and cold wax to explore the color.

Susan Ahlstrom, from Stirling, works with clay to create her interpretation with fired glazes in a mixed media presentation. She uses patterns in the tiles and textures to create a uniquely designed presentation.

Oil painter, Paul E. Pinkman says: “There is no color as powerful as red. It is compelling, provocative, exciting, dangerous, and can even be frightening. Regardless of whether the image is abstract or representational, with red as the core element, you know you’re getting something that isn’t meant to be shy.” 

Abstract artist, Francesca Azzara creates paintings covered in wax. She uses a monochromatic palette with red becoming an emotional mark and a visual accent. And accomplished artist, instructor and new member to the group, Katie Truk combines the translucent and sensual nature of red pantyhose with the rigidity of wire to create sculptures of complex depth and personality. 

No matter how each of these artists used the color red in this display, they are displaying their own distinct impression of the hue. Even when red is not the predominant overall color, it carries the most visual and conceptual weight within their works. In each piece, red punctuates the story and defines the meaning.

Please visit the NAG ( website for additional information. Contact Nancy Ori at 908-790-8820- for more information or additional images.

The Starlight Gallery is a gift of Jay and Wendy Birnbaum.

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