Art center offerings abound

By: Kahra Buss, Executive Director, Perkins Center for the Arts

This seems rather straightforward, doesn’t it?  The name says it all doesn’t it? Or does it? Over the last few months, I have been fortunate enough to visit with local organizations to share not only Perkins’ mission but the details about how the center achieves that mission daily.  Each conversation I have had invariably results in the other party saying: “I had no idea Perkins does ALL of that!”

This year, on May 11, “Handcrafted 2019” will feature that which Perkins does best – ART in all its forms.  Handcrafted will encourage attendees to embrace the arts through interactive activities like glass working, Latin Dance instruction and clay explorations.  Live music from the Philadelphia String Trio, William Con Duo and Soulport will fill the evening air as attendees follow docents through the property for garden tours and a Plien Air exhibit unfolds before them.  The event will feature artisanal food and beverages and demonstrations from participants like Chef Robert Bennett (formerly of Le Bec Fin and now executive chef at Classic Cake), Harvest Seasonal Grill, Sweet Lucy’s and Chef Katie Sklarow, local breweries Double Nickel, Lower Forge, Eight & Sand Beer Co. and Artisanal Distiller Hewn Spirits.

Handcrafted 2019 is a tremendous opportunity to share Perkins’ mission and support Perkins’ work in order to achieve that mission.  Perkins Center for the Arts is a unique organization in southern New Jersey. As a multi-disciplinary arts center, Perkins offers visual, performing and musical arts instruction across a wide variety of mediums to include painting, drawing, glass-working, pottery, dramatic instruction, dance, and music lessons.  The center also provides instructional outreach to promote artistic expression throughout our communities, from school-based projects to community installations. Free programming is available to the whole community through six (or more) exhibitions annually, free indoor concerts monthly and free lawn concerts in the summer, just to start with.

But why?  Why provide cultural and arts programming to the region?  Why invest time, energy and resources to create an organization that provides these opportunities?  The simple answer: IMPACT. The impact to individuals and communities spans psychological and physiological benefits. These include enhanced social networks, positive health benefits to economic and cultural impact, improvements in communities and increased social capital.  Perkins Center is dedicated to impact driven programs.

Perkins is not just the individuals who are directly tied to the organization.  Perkins IS the community, whether a community member has attended a session or not.  Perkins reaches communities in an authentic manner, breaking down barriers to the arts and encouraging all to benefit from the arts.  Art is not a means of symptomatically addressing a need within the community… rather, art itself supports the community in ways that work to address other needs.

Join Perkins on May 11 for the arts experience of the season. Experience the impact of the arts in our community.  Tickets on sale at www.perkinsarts.org!