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Engage Toms River 2016 Great Arts Challenge Winners

originally published: 07/01/2016

Engage Toms River 2016 Great Arts Challenge Winners

(TOMS RIVER, NJ) -- The response to the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation’s Engage Toms River 2016 Great Arts Challenge was fantastic, bringing in nearly 70 pieces of artwork from Ocean County artists.  The contest which featured the categories of music, poetry, sculpture, painting and photography was open to Ocean County residents, 18 or older.  The artists had 72 hours to create their works of art and all had to reflect the theme, “Remembering our Veterans” which was announced only three days prior to the submission date.

Judges selected their top three works of art in all five categories.  The shortlist included Catherine Cranmer, Jim Houba, and Alexandra Zubritzky for best painting; Audry Meyer, Jane Scates and Veronica and Genaro Vega for best sculpture; Jacqueline Andree, Heidi Hodges and Alexandra Majeski for best poem; David Huyler, Karla Ivarson and Adam Tharpe for best song; and John Delaney, Michelle Holt and Heather Pryce for best photograph.

The shortlist then went out to public online voting where one winner per category was chosen to be awarded $1,500 from the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation.  The category winners are Jim Houba for best painting; Veronica and Genaro Vega for best sculpture; Heidi Hodges for best poem; Karla Ivarson for best song; and Heather Pryce for best photograph.  The overall winner with the most votes was Heather Pryce who received an additional $2,500.  All competition participants were celebrated at a summer BBQ reception on July 1 at Mancini Hall in the Ocean County Library. 

Jeremy Grunin, Executive Director of the Foundation said, “Each time we run an Engage Toms River competition, we are overwhelmed by the amount of participants and the talent in our community. This contest was particularly special to us as it focused on remembering our Veterans.  To hear the personal, heartfelt stories behind each work of art was very moving.”

The winners’ artwork will be displayed all summer at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library.

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Visit to view all of the beautiful entries.


About the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation

The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation is a proactive grant making 501(c)(3) working to make Toms River the regional template for quality of life and strong economic health through root-cause focused investment in healthcare, education and the arts.


**John Delaney, shortlist winner, is also the Artist Curator of the Downtown Toms River Art Stroll, which will be on July 7, 2016 from 5pm to 8pm on Main Street in Downtown Toms River.

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Event calendar
Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018


ALAN SCARDAPANE @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm


Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm

The Night Before Christmas Carol @ The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCCArts), Branchburg - 1:00pm and 7:00pm

A Christmas Carol @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


The Shoemaker & the Christmas Elves @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 10:30am


Sam Darnold Meet & Greet @ iPlay America, Freehold - 5:00pm

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