Washington Township welcomes arts to the park

Sustainable art, classical music create inspired collaboration.

The Amphitheatre at Washington Lake Park will be home to the new sustainable art gallery titled “eARTh without ART is just eh”. The gallery will have a soft opening on Aug. 9 with a free concert by the American Symphony Orchestra string quartet and will have a Grand Opening on Aug. 16.

Painting the Town brings the arts to Washington Lake Park with the new sustainable outdoor gallery, “eARTh without ART is just eh,” opening on Aug 16.

“Our concept is to bring art to the community and enhance awareness, appreciation and participation in the arts across the township, “ said Vicky Binetti, the Washington Township environmental commission chair.  

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“We are trying to integrate the arts into everyday lives.”

A creative team was formed in Washington Township in 2019 to bring the town together and allow residents to express their love for the arts. According to Binetti, the town has no arts or cultural center, so the team decided to use the existing infrastructure of schools, businesses and parks to create space where everyone can enjoy the arts.

The new exhibit will display artwork from different mediums on a durable, outdoor canvas. The canvases will be hung on the amphitheatre stage at Washington Lake Park for all residents to visit. The gallery will be long- lasting, and the team hopes to move it to other parks across South Jersey.  Each piece honors the theme of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. 

“That’s something lots of artists will be able to participate in,” Binetti explained. “They are all responding to the theme of nature, something related to nature or the care of nature.”

There were more than 70 submissions from 50 artists, and the pieces were created using photography, watercolor and oil paints. The exhibit showcases 46 works by 18 artists.

The canvases weren’t the only form of art to return to the park. The gallery will have a soft opening on Aug. 9, and will welcome a string quartet from the American Symphony Orchestra.

“This is our first outdoor concert that we are presenting because of COVID-19,” Frampton said. 

The quartet plans to play a full-length concert inspired by “String Quartet No. 1,” written by New Jersey native George Walker, who died in 2018.

Walker was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize in music; he graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and was also a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

“He is a very important figure in national and local music history,” said  William Frampton, principal viola player. “I fell in love with his ‘String Quartet No. 1’ and wanted to design a program around it.”

The planned program included sounds from Samuel Barber, composer of “Adagio for Strings,” as well as Nino Rota, famous for the film score from “The Godfather.” Barber, Rota and Walker all studied under Rosario Scalero at Curtis.  

“The idea is to let the audience experience what three great composers with a shared mentor create,” Frampton said. “The different directions they go in and how the inspiration from that mentor finds common ground between their music. Each one takes it to their own place.” 

The quartet was composed of the orchestra’s concertmaster, Cyrus Beroukhim; principal violin, Richard Rood; principal viola, Frampton; and Alberto Parrini, cello.

“Classical music is largely shut down because of what is going on in the world,” Frampton explained. “For most performers, they are not working right now, so it was important to present an outdoor concert to give the performers a chance to do what they are good at doing.”

Visit https://www.twp.washington.nj.us/news_detail_T22_R159.php for more information.


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