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Color & Consciousness: A Conversation with Bevil Conway

Neuroscientist Bevil Conway will use the Art Center’s current color-themed exhibitions as a backdrop to facilitate an engaging discussion on the science of visual perception on Saturday, April 21, from 3–5 PM. Mr. Conway specializes on this topic in his scientific study and often explores the limitations of the visual system in his own artwork. Much of Mr. Conway’s research is guided by the underlying thought that visual art can be used to reveal insights about how visual information is processed. His interest in the dovetailing of science and art has spawned interdisciplinary study and the creation of a course entitled Vision and Art: Physics, Physiology, Perception, and Practice, which he has taught at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Mr. Conway has focused his research on the neural machinery behind color because he thinks it’s a powerful system and one that has value for designers and artists,” said Sarah Walko, Director of Programs at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. “This topic is one that all of the artists in the current exhibition Radiant Energy are exploring. Mr. Conway thinks insights into color processing may ultimately shed light on fundamental questions about human cognition. Because he understands the science behind how the brain processes color, t will be fascinating to hear him speak on that within the context of this exhibition.”

This event is free to the public and open to all ages.

Artist Talk: March 25

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey’s current exhibition, Radiant Energy, showcases the work of Gabriele Evertz, Robert Swain, and Sanford Wurmfeld, artists who all create work that challenges viewers to see color differently. On Sunday, March 25, from 3–5 PM these artists will be joined by artist, curator, and gallery director Matthew Deleget for a conversation on their work and their relationship to color.  All three exhibiting artists are longtime members of the renowned “Hunter Color School,” a group of painters who taught (or continue to teach) at New York’s Hunter College. While they all utilize different geometric elements (squares, rectangles, stripes or bands, grids, and lines) they all explore how the interaction of color creates physical and emotional responses in the viewer. This event is free and open to all ages.

Artist Bios:
Gabriele Evertz is a German-born, American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. She holds an MFA in painting and a BA in art history, from Hunter College, in New York. Since 1990, Evertz has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions internationally and throughout the United States. In 2017, her work was featured at 499 Park Avenue / The Lobby Gallery in Manhattan and at MINUS SPACE in Brooklyn. Evertz’s paintings are included in many public and private collections worldwide. She has an extensive bibliography as her work has been reviewed in many prominent publications. In addition to her painting practice, Evertz is a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at Hunter College in New York

Robert Swain is one of the most influential artists of his generation. He was born in Austin, Texas, in 1940, and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. In 1966, Swain began his first color-based work followed a year later by his first work utilizing the grid. He participated in his first group exhibition, Light and Line, organized by John Baldwin at the legendary Park Place Gallery in New York City in 1967. That same year he met sculptor Tony Smith who became his close friend and mentor for many years. In 1969, Swain began to develop his own color system, a project that continues until today. Swain has exhibited his work nationally and internationally for more than 40 years. His paintings have been including in countless landmark exhibitions. In addition to his artistic work, Swain taught in the Department of Art & Art History at Hunter College from 1968-2014, where he educated and mentored countless generations of artists.

Sanford Wurmfeld has exhibited his work worldwide in solo and group exhibitions since the late 1960s. In 1968 Wurmfeld was the youngest artist included in the landmark exhibition Art of the Real curated by Eugene Goossen at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Wurmfeld has lectured and written extensively on the history of color, painting, and abstraction. He has received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, City University of New York, and Dartmouth College. Wurmfeld’s work is included in collections worldwide. In addition to his artistic work, Wurmfeld taught in the Department of Art at Hunter College from 1967-2012, where he educated and mentored countless generations of artists.

In addition to being the Director of MINUS SPACE, Matthew Deleget is also currently an Artist Consultant with the Creative Capital Foundation’s Professional Development Program. He is a member of American Abstract Artists, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation’s Artist Advisory Committee, and the board of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. From 1998-2009, Matthew worked at the New York Foundation for the Arts where he founded and directed all of the organization’s information programs and initiatives for and about artists working in all disciplines. Deleget is also an artist himself and exhibits his own work extensively in the US and internationally.


Concert in the Gallery

Above Photo by Jonathan Beckley (

Concert in the Gallery: Mary Bichner and Molly Zenobia

In conjunction with our exhibition Radiant Energy, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is thrilled to host composers and performers Mary Bichner and Molly Zenobia for an evening of music in the gallery on Saturday, March 10, from 6–8 PM. Radiant Energy focuses on visual artists who’s work centers around color and color theory. Both performers have synesthesia, a neurological condition that causes them to “see” splashes of specific colors when they hear their corresponding pitches sounded and this is how they compose their music! Tickets for the event are $10 and are available for purchase here.

Mary Bichner is an orchestral classical-meets-pop composer who also has perfect pitch, the ability to recognize notes and chords by name upon hearing them played. She was once invited to Harvard University’s prestigious neuroscience lab to be studied for her brain’s unusual wiring, Mary creates richly-colored compositions that delight classical enthusiasts and indie-pop rockers alike.

In the autumn of 2017, Mary collaborated with Boston’s Museum of Science for the premiere of “Synesthesia Suite: Constellations”, a new collection of chamber works inspired by the New England night sky in spring. The suite was performed live in concert by Mary Bichner and Planetary Quartet during two sold-out concerts at the Charles Hayden Planetarium. The performances were accompanied by customized synesthesia-inspired dome visuals created by the museum’s award-winning planetarium team, giving audience members the unique opportunity to “hear” color and “see” sound just as Mary does when she listens to music.

Molly Zenobia’s music has been described as soulful, visceral, and vast. Molly has opened for the Foo Fighters, and played on the same bill with Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Rachel Sage, Edie Carey, Mila Drumke and the Dresden Dolls as well as at numerous festivals around the country. She is also currently collaborating with Roedelius on an album as well as working on her fourth album with one of the founding members of the Counting Crows, Matt Malley.

Regardless of whether she is playing a large rock club, intimate piano bar, collaborating on experimental improvisations, or scoring a film, Molly’s music will leave you sated. “We have so much input these days that we forget that simple is powerful. I may have a lot of production or no production on my albums, but what emerges is always one message, raw, simple, and yours.”

The concert will take place on Saturday, March 10, from 6–8 PM, Tickets are $10 per person and can be bought here or at the door. Click here for purchase!

Teachers’ Symposiums 2018

Teacher’s Symposiums 2018

Our 2018 Teacher’s symposiums will be held on the following dates: 

Friday, January 12th, 2018 9am – 3pm – Register here! 

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 9am – 3pm – Register here!
*Special Topics* Art & Social Justice, in partnership with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Friday, May 4  2018 9am – 3pm – Register here!

Each symposium will be led by a contemporary artist.

All of our Teacher’s symposium events offer unique professional development opportunities for art educators to come together and learn new creative skills to bring back to their classroom. The programs include:

  • Presentation by the leading contemporary artist
  • Hands-on artmaking workshop with the artist
  • Gallery exercises exploring ways to view and interpret contemporary art
  • Six professional development hours upon completion of the symposium
  • Lesson plans as a take home

Registration fees are $75 and include a light breakfast and all materials.


January 12th, 2018 Teacher’s Symposium Information

Register here!

Seeing Through Painting

Teaching Artist: Nikolina Kovalenko

Nikolina Kovalenka was born in Moscow, Russia in 1987. In 2011 she received her MFA from Moscow Surikov Art Institute and studied at Universität der Künste Berlin. She holds a Gold Medal from the Russian Art Academy and currently lives and works in New York City. Nikolina has been teaching drawing, mixed media, painting with oil, watercolor, and acrylics to adults, teenagers and children for over eight years. Her exhibition history includes solo shows at Gitana Rosa Gallery and Dacia Gallery. The group shows include Townsend Modern/Contemporary,  Cheryl Hazan Contemporary, Mayson Gallery, Select Art Fair and Museum of Russian Art(NJ). In 2014 she attended LMCC “Artist Summer Institute”. Nikolina was a resident artist at ESKFF, MANA Contemporary in spring 2017. Nikolina’s artwork has been reviewed in art blogs, newspapers, and magazines. Her work is in numerous corporate and private collections worldwide.

If you have any questions please contact Sarah Walko, Director of Education and Community Engagement at 908.273.9121 x213 or


March 6th, 2018 Teacher’s Symposium Information

Register here!

March 6th, 2018 is National Day of Empathy is a day of action to generate empathy on a massive scale. VACNJ is partnering with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Co-Lab in a professional development workshop day titled Art, Storytelling and Social Justice Educational Symposium

March 6, 2018

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join this unique and insightful symposium on Art, Storytelling and Social Justice, which will connect educators with advocates, artists, and system-involved youth. The goal of the symposium is to share information on the juvenile justice system and discuss how educators can help transform the system. Participants will also learn how art can help share the stories of those impacted by the juvenile justice system, including the school to prison pipeline. . This special full-day event will occur at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, located at 68 Elm Street, in Summit, NJ on March 6, 2018, from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. Educators will earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for participating in the symposium. For details and information on attending this event, please visit

Symposium Outline

  • Welcome
  • Ice Breaker
  • What is Social Justice? What is implicit bias?
  • The History of the Juvenile Justice System
    • Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child
  • Girls in Youth Prisons
  • Relationship between Education and Social Justice
    • School to Prison Pipeline
    • NJ School Reentry Report (from Education Subcommittee)
  • Relationship between the Arts and Social Justice
  • Storytelling Project
  • Juvenile Justice Campaign
  • Alternatives to Incarceration Best Practices
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Ways Educators Can Engage in Social Justice

The workshop will include:

  • Interactive Exercises
    • Implicit Bias
    • Educators discuss what the school to prison pipeline looks like to them in their schools and their ideas for ending it (policy changes, training)
  • Storytelling Exhibition and Video
  • Sample curriculums, educational tools, etc.



If you have any questions please contact Sarah Walko, Director of Education and Community Engagement at 908.273.9121 x213 or

Getting Graphic

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey presents “Getting Graphic: Novels, Memoirs & Comics.” The December 2 event will feature graphic novelists and comic book artists showcasing and discussing their work, offering workshops and book signings, and selling merchandise. The event was conceived in conjunction with the exhibition Drawing it Out, currently on display in the Eisenberg Gallery at the Art Center. “In delving into the genre of graphic novels and memoirs, our staff and artists discovered so many interesting and unique stories,” said Sarah Walko, Director of Programs at the Visual Arts Center. “We wanted to create an event where the audience would be exposed to as many of these works as we could manage and could then meet the artists themselves.”

The event will take place at the Art Center on Saturday, December 2, from 12-5pm and is free for all ages. Tables will be set up throughout the building for the entirety of the event featuring books and merchandise by graphic novelists, memoirists, and comic book artists and food and drinks will be available from the Taquería Auténtica food truck. Following a brief introduction to the event, two artist talks will take place in the main gallery: Howard Saunders and Julia Alekseyva will discuss their respective work from 2-2:30pm and Darrell Goza and Dana Walwrath will do the same from 4-4:30pm. Additionally, two Comic Book Cover workshops** will be held during the event. One for children ages 6-9, from 12:30 – 2pm for $35 and one for children ages 9-12, 2:30 – 4pm  for $50.

 Artists appearing include:

Julia Alekseyeva

Doug Baron

Howard Saunders

Glenn Whitmore

Michael Parla

Lauren Purje

Seamus Liam O’Brien

Kirsten Kramer



Criss Madd

Darrell Goza

Dana Walwrath

Neil Vokes

Amanda Scurti

 Edward Dippolito 

Tom Schloendorn

** – You can preregister for the day’s workshops by emailing Drop-ins are also welcome.