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‘A very welcoming environment’

Music collective shines a spotlight on art and music

Special to The Sun: This piece is by artist Deepali Shah, whose work will be showcased at the Moorestown Music Collective’s show Saturday.

Since its inception, the Moorestown Music Collective’s goal has been to host live musical performances on Main Street while promoting the township’s retail districts, combining exhibits of local artists’ work with its shows. 

Lisa Matera, chief art director and art coordinator for the nonprofit, got involved through a social media post.

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“ … It was about a year ago,” she recalled. “(MMC member) Mark Hines had hatched the idea of featuring live music regularly on Main Street. I was interested in their initiative to do that, and I had chimed in on Facebook. I said it would be nice to have art exhibits spotlighted with the shows.”

Matera was the first artist to be featured at MMC’s first show this summer.

“ … As we are going in this process, it’s so new, we’re tweaking and building upon the experiences,” she noted. “Now when the artists exhibit, we have their work up for more than one show just to have the greater exposure.”

So far, artists Deborah Moss Marris, Abbey Stace and Deepali Shah have exhibited their works.

“… I think to myself, ‘Wow, our first four artists have all been women,’ and that is such a huge, refreshing departure from what one mostly sees in galleries and museums and art markets in the U.S. and abroad,” Matera added. 

“ … Going forward, I’m hoping to feature local artists that encompass a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, ages … I just want there to be a large fabric of experience in what we’re getting exposed to.”

Matera discussed the pairing of musicians and artists.

“ … We’ve not put people together specifically, but it’s been a nice contrast and compliments between the work and the musicians,” she pointed out. “It’s been a really interesting, serendipitous pairing.”

All MMC’s live shows and exhibits take place at the Moorestown Theater Company.

“ … With the artists, it takes hours to hang a show, and he’s been very accommodating, allowing access for the artists to have the time to do that ahead of the show so they have time to work it out,” Matera said of Mark Morgan, co-founder and producing artistic director of the company.

Matera described the atmosphere at each MMC show.

“I feel like these nights are this nice, local escape where people are doing what they enjoy,” she remarked. “They’re having the camaraderie of community, and physically it’s such an intimate space, so it’s like a nice presence where I think after this long time of COVID, where we were all kind of isolated and kind of removed, it’s a face-to-face environment and it’s nice.”

If you didn’t know anyone, you could show up and feel comfortable …” Matera added. “It’s a very inviting environment.”

MMC’s Saturday show will feature the works of Shah and live music by April Mae and the June Bugs. For more information, visit the MMC Facebook page.


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