Moorestown Creates fostering a community of artists

Subcommittee Moorestown Creates is working on ways to connect artists and help display their work.

Networking events in the business realm are frequent, but for artists who work individually, building a network often can be difficult, according to Georgean Wardzinski. For that reason, Moorestown Creates is trying to connect artists in the Moorestown community.

In late November, the Moorestown Township Planning Board formally recognized Moorestown Creates as a subcommittee of the Sustainable Moorestown Green Team. Today, Moorestown Creates is working on new ways for artists to share both their work and experiences with other people in town who share their interests.

“The whole concept of Moorestown Creates is to take the groups and individual artists in town and bring them together,” Wardzinski said.

Wolf Skacel, chair of Sustainable Moorestown, said Moorestown Creates got its roots through the Sustainable New Jersey initiative. Skacel said there are certain criteria that earn the township points toward receiving certification through Sustainable New Jersey, one of which involves demonstrating the township is working with the creative community.

Skacel said in 2014, Sustainable Moorestown began identifying the various arts organizations in the community. He said the team partnered with the Perkins Center for the Arts to ask artists what could be done to better support the local arts community.

“Many residents don’t recognize that Moorestown has a vibrant arts community, and we wanted to change that perception,” Skacel said.

Wardzinski, who is also the chair of MoorArts, said Skacel approached her and other members of the local arts community to help brainstorm as well. Perkins Center for the Arts, MoorArts, the Moorestown Theater Company, Moorestown Public Schools, the Moorestown Library, West Jersey Chamber Music Society and several local artists came together to brainstorm how to bolster the local arts community.

Skacel said through their conversations, the artists suggested Sustainable Moorestown offer a community arts webpage, and along the way, the subcommittee Moorestown Creates was born. Wardzinski said they went with the term “creates” to encompass a wide variety of art, from painting, writing, acting, graphic design and any other type of creative outlet.

The directory organizes artists by creative medium, individual artists and organizations and offers not only background on artists but their contact information.

“We have nationally recognized artists that live and work in our community,” Skacel said. “People seem to think they have to go to New York or Philadelphia or somewhere else to find high quality art, but it exists right here.”

At the end of 2017, Moorestown Creates approached the planning board to get formal recognition of the subcommittee. Skacel said they went to the board in the hope of having their goals for expanding the arts community incorporated into the township’s master plan.

Skacel said now that the group has been formally recognized, they are working on an increased push to have artists publicize their events on Moorestown Creates, so residents can look at the page’s events calendar to find out what arts events are taking place in town.

Moorestown Creates is also facilitating opportunities for artists to mingle among themselves. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, the group held a social gathering for artists at the Moorestown Community House where they invited members of the artistic community in town to meet one another and share ideas.

Additionally, Moorestown Creates will have its first collaborative exhibition with a Moorestown business. In April, it will coordinate with Beneficial Bank on Main Street to mount an exhibition of artist and Moorestown resident Lisa Matera’s work. The lobby will be transformed into an exhibit space for Matera’s oil paintings in what Moorestown Creates hopes will be the first of many initiatives, according to Wardzinski.

For Matera, this marks the first time her art will be on display. She said she’s excited by the prospect of having her work out there for anyone to see.

“I just feel like Moorestown is such a great community,” Matera said. “We’re so lucky to be located where we are. It sounds like there’s a lot of creative people here and all different types of visual arts. I hope that [Moorestown Creates] is something that’s going to continue to have traction and to grow.”

To find out more about Moorestown Creates or to register as an artist, visit moorestowncreates.org.