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We make art happen!

A 501c3 organization. Founded 2019.

Art in Rutherford

The Arts Council has been compiling an inventory of arts opportunities in Rutherford. Here is our open source document that anyone can edit. If you know of an art opportunity in town, please add it to the list!

Artists are also encouraged to share their work in our Facebook group.

Latest News

October 2022 Here’s our semi-annual recap of recent Arts Council events!

Youth Arts Banners 2022 Once again, Park Ave was decorated with the colorful artwork of Rutherfords rising art stars! Banners can be picked up any time from 261 Santiago Ave (front porch).

June 2022 The RAC teamed up with the Rutherford Pride Alliance for our inaugural PRIDEFest! The festival was a massive success, with an estimated 2000-2500 people in attendance. Click through to the Pride Alliance website for more pics! Special thanks to American Dream for sponsorship. This program is made possible in part by a grant administered by the Bergen County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs from funds granted by the New Jersey Council on the Arts.

September 2022 The RAC was back for Rutherford Day, screen printing t-shirts using Rutherford manhole covers. Special thanks to the DPW for loaning us the manhole covers, and to SoGlo Arts for the concept.

October 2022 Our Pumpkin People in the Park theme for this year was “Picasso”. Thanks to everyone in the community who donated Picasso themed pumpkins!

May 2022 It’s been a busy few months for the RAC! Here’s a recap of everything we’ve been up to since last year.

October 2, 2021 Rutherford Day was held at Memorial Field. It was a great afternoon for the community. The RAC hosted a community mural project, where residents of all ages were invited to paint on several canvases. Afterwards, Sara Orlowicz of the Elliott Free Little Art Gallery gave them a quick once over to help unify them. The murals were displayed for several months at Rutherford Coffee Co. They are currently at the next spot on their tour at the Rutherford Public Library.

October 2021 The Arts Council once again participated in the Woman’s Club’s Pumpkin People in the Park. This year, we went with a “black and white” theme, and residents donated an amazing variety of pumpkins. The display was later used to hand out candy at our booth at the borough’s Halloween festivities.

December 2021 At the borough Holiday Village, the RAC set up a station where kids could decorate ornaments for the Williams Center’s Children’s Tree. Dozens of lovely ornaments created by Rutherford’s youth were hung on the tree.

February 2022 Despite some Covid related delays, our Neon Ball was held in February. The first major fundraiser for PRIDEFest 2022, the Neon Ball was a HUGE success for the Arts Council! A hundred people came out to dance, celebrate, and take part in some interactive art stations.

Spring 2022 We were thrilled to receive our first Bergen County Arts Grant! This grant will go a long way towards PRIDEFest 2022. Thank you to Greg Lucente and the Arts Grant Committee for taking a chance on the little non-profit that could.

April 2022 Youth Art Banners again lined Park Ave! Special thanks to Councilman Matt Cokeley for his work formatting the banners and artwork.

May 2022 The Arts Council assisted LOLYards with a “Rutherford Sports Spirit” Logo Contest. Winner TBA!

June 4th 2022 PRIDEFest Come one, come all to Rutherford’s FIRST Pride and art festival! There will be food, vendors, TONS of kids activities, a beer garden, live performances and more! This festival is free to all, and begins right after the flag raising.

Congratulations to Ayla Hernandez, whose amazing line drawing will be featured on PRIDEFest volunteer t-shirts. We received 12 really incredible designs from Rutherford High School students. The RAC continues to be blown away by the incredible talent of our youth!

June 11th 2022 The borough Arts Committee is sponsoring Arts Amble 2022 at the Williams Center. Featuring live performances and art vendors, this is sure to be another amazing afternoon! More details to come.

Your RAC Board- Jess, Katie, Dawn, and Valky

September 2021

This summer was a much needed opportunity for the RAC to rest and reflect on what our next few months of programming will provide for Rutherford. Yet we were still busy!

In June, hundreds of people came out to our Rutherford Rocks Art and Music Festival. Musicians performed on Williams Center Plaza, while artists had tables displaying and selling their work in the Williams Center lobby. An open air terrace beergarden with dj’s and dancing rounded out the event. The RAC auctioned off a beautiful painting by Otsuga Tabal, raising several hundred dollars for the musicians who performed. This was our biggest event to date!

June also saw the launch of the Sketchbook Project. The Arts Council donated 75 sketchbooks to the Rutherford Public Library for patrons to fill with drawings, poetry, collage- whatever they want! To date all sketchbooks have been claimed, but we are in talks for a second edition.

Later in June, a handful of RAC members organized a rally to Save the Williams Center. An anonymous donor funded the production of a batch of “Save the Williams Center” t-shirts, designed by RAC co-founder Katie Pippin, and handed out to attendees for free. Despite pouring rain, over a hundred people showed up to support the Williams Center, listening to speeches, signing petitions, and donating directly to the Center. Approximately 0 was raised for the Center. News crews from News 12 NJ and the Bergen Record covered the rally. Yet was it enough?

In August, the borough of Rutherford announced that Bergen County was gifting the deed of the Williams Center! The borough gifted the deed to local developer Chuck Olivo, who has strongly expressed support for the preservation of the historic Newman Theater. The Arts Council is thrilled that the Newman Theater is in Chuck’s careful hands, and we are excited to support Chuck to ensure that quality arts programming can continue in Rutherford’s beloved theater. Hundreds of residents have been fighting to save this space for years. It’s immensely gratifying to see your hard work pay off.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, September 22nd at & pm in Lincoln Park (to be moved to Zoom in case of rain). We will be discussing our fall and winter agenda.

May 2021

This spring has been an absolute WHIRLWIND for the RAC!

We’ve had several amazing fundraisers. Made To Measure events hosted a youth Winter Arts Camp, as well as a Sister to Sister paint night.

Erie Coffeeshop and Bakery hosted a Jackson Pollock themed crispy rice treat bake sale.

At the opening of the Elliott Free Little Art Gallery (FLAG) an art auction was held.

Thank you to Made to Measure, Erie Coffeeshop and Bakery, and the Elliott FLAG for supporting the RAC! Every dollar raised goes back into arts programming for the community, and we are so grateful.

Once again, Coccia Realty hosted their community window. This coincided nicely with the RAC and Rutherford Civil Rights Commissions “Women Who Challenged the Norms” art show at Rutherford Coffee Company, as well as the borough Youth Arts Banner program. Residents could walk up and down Park Ave and see the street flooded with colorful, powerful artwork.

On Saturday June 12th 2021 from 2-7 pm, the RAC will be co-hosting the Rutherford Rocks art and music festival, as part of the Creative Bergen Arts Amble. We’ve worked closely with the board of the Williams Center for the Performing Arts and the borough Arts Committee to bring residents a family friendly afternoon of music, art, and fun!

Finally- in June, the RAC has sponsored a new project at the Public Library– the Rutherford Sketchbook Project!

The RAC will be taking the rest of the summer to relax and recharge. We’re kicking around the idea of a Halloween costume workshop and costume party fundraiser for the fall.

February 2021

Calling all Bergen County artists! Creative Bergen invites you to participate in its inaugural Arts Amble! The deadline for inclusion is March 31st. More info and to sign up: artsamble.org

December 2020: The Arts Council was busy this month!

This fall, the RAC received approval from the borough to begin working on Youth Arts Banners in March. These banners will be created by Rutherford’s youth, and can be sponsored by anyone. Banners will be hung on light poles on Park Ave for Youth Arts Month.

Rutherford hosted a Winter Wonderland snowman display in Lincoln Park for the first time! Thank you to Renee Ante and Mylinh Doan for their incredible work on the Arts Council display!

Winter Wonderland in Lincoln Park 2020

The windows of the Williams Center for the Arts were decorated with glittering blue and white snowflakes for the holidays. Hand cut paper snowflakes were donated by Tina Boscarino.

Williams Center 2020

The Children’s Tree at the Williams Center Plaza was resurrected for the first time in over a decade. Residents donated homemade ornaments to decorate the tree.

At our December meeting, Dr. Robin Reenstra presented a slideshow of murals and street art, and spoke about how mural art relates to economic development and opportunity.

November 2020: The Arts Council is gearing up to open our first Holiday Shop. This is a great opportunity to shop local and support the arts in Rutherford. Stay tuned for more info.

Our Master Arts Plan has been drafted! Explore our vision for Rutherford below.

October 2020: Check out our first contribution to Rutherford’s annual Pumpkin People in the Park. Pumpkins were created by Rutherford artists young and old. Thank you to the Woman’s Club of Rutherford for hosting this beloved tradition, and thank you to our contributing artists.

Arts Council Pumpkin People in the Park display, October 2019

June 2020: The Arts Council has been busy this summer! We’ve been writing our bylaws, drafting a Master Arts Plan for Rutherford, and finding creative ways to make art happen in town. Learn more in our recent This is Rutherford article. Pictured is our controversial Black Lives Matter installation at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Black Lives Matter installation at the Williams Center for the Arts, June 2020. Conceptualized by Melissa Schapiro, Photo by Sami Sami
Black Lives Matter installation at the Williams Center for the Arts, June 2020. Conceptualized by Melissa Schapiro, Photo by Sami Sami
Black Lives Matter installation at the Williams Center for the Arts, June 2020. Conceptualized by Melissa Schapiro

May 2020: The Rutherford Arts Council recently assembled a team of volunteers to create a positive, uplifting mural for Jim Dandy’s on Park Ave, who suffered from a devastating fire. Read more about it.

Jim Dandys Mural, May 2020. Concept by Painting on Park, featuring Riham El-Sadany
Jim Dandys Mural, May 2020. Concept by Painting on Park, featuring Riham El-Sadany
Jim Dandys Mural, May 2020
Jim Dandys Mural, May 2020. Concept by Painting on Park, featuring Riham El-Sadany

March 2020: During the initial lockdown of the Coronavirus pandemic, The RAC created a “30 seconds of art” challenge in our Facebook group. Search “30 seconds of art” to see some of our amazing talent in Rutherford!

March 2020: The Borough of Rutherford recently issued a proclamation declaring March to be “Youth Arts Month” in Rutherford! Read more about the Arts Council’s advocacy for the arts in Rutherford. Thank you to Mayor Nunziato and the Borough Council for this proclamation.

January 2020: Here’s another This is Rutherford article featuring the Arts Council advocating for the arts in Rutherford at the Williams Center community development meeting.

Coccia Window installation, January 2020, various artists including John Zollo and the Red Wheelbarrow Poets

September 2019: Check out our featured article in This Is Rutherford about the formation of the Arts Council!

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