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Visual Arts Center of New Jersey Shines On at 90th Anniversary Gala

originally published: 05/05/2023

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey Shines On at 90th Anniversary Gala

(SUMMIT, NJ) -- On Saturday, April 29, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) held its largest fundraising event of the year at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit. Shine On VACNJ’s 90th Anniversary Gala, raised a record-breaking $373,500 to support the Art Center’s powerful arts programming.

“This year’s gala was especially important, as it not only served, once again, as our most important fundraising event of the year, but it was the signature event in our year-long celebration of VACNJ’s 90th anniversary,” said Jillian Decker, CFRE, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey’s Director of Development & Communications. “We’re incredibly grateful for our community’s generous support, which has made this milestone possible, Their passion for the arts and commitment to our mission have propelled us forward, and we look forward to continuing to bring the transformative power of art to our community for many years to come."

The evening, which was presented by Premier Sponsors Chubb and Risk Strategies, featured live music, cocktails, fantastic food, and a robust contemporary art auction, including a signature live auction of select artwork and unique experiences led by auctioneer CK Swett. During the event, the Art Center also recognized their 2023 Gala Honoree, The Wilf Family Foundations, and the 6th Annual Changemaker, Layqa Nuna Yawar, for their significant contributions to the arts on both a local and national level.

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey Shines On at 90th Anniversary Gala

From left to right: Marie Cohen, Lisa Butler, and Kate Buchanan.

The event was co-chaired by Kate & John Buchanan and Lisa Butler & Bob Kelly. Additional committee members included Sally Abbott, Susan Cagnassola, Terri Friedman, Tharanga Goonetilleke, Anne Grissinger, Suzanne Henry, Alison O'Neill, Isabel Ribeiro, and Rachel Wilf.

Diamond sponsors for the evening included: Lisa Butler & Bob Kelly; Susan & Mike Cagnassola; Anne & RJ Grissinger; Marité & Joseph Robinson; and The Wilf Family Foundations. Gold sponsors included: Alison & David O'Neill; Isabel Ribeiro & Diego Rotsztain; and Pam Shipley & Clay Turner. Silver sponsors included: Julie & Greg Adams; Marie & Roy Alan Cohen; Siobhan Creem; Briana King & Christopher Joralemon; Amy Knight; Vani Krishnamurthy & Alok Sanghvi; Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C.; Deborah & Fred Schwarzmann; and Jess Van Nostrand & Mike Smith. Bronze sponsors included: Sally & Thomas Abbott; Heather & Elliot Braun; Jennifer & Jake Buurma; Terri & Mark Friedman; Tharanga Goonetilleke & Aditya Bindal; Betse & Frank Gump; Amy & Clint Harris; Suzanne & Dean Henry; Jodi & Jeff Hiller; Rachel & Gary Kapner; Lorraine & Peter Kelly; Peapack Private Wealth Management; Kayla & Richard Pechter; Amy & Mitchell Radin; André Renaudo; and TD Bank. Community Sponsors included: Atlantic Health System; Cambridge Wines; Eden Events; Partner in Art, LLC; and Summit House Restaurant + Bar.

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“This year’s gala was a fitting celebration of the impact the Art Center has had on the community and the state for the last 90 years,” said Gala Co-Chair Kate Buchanan. “We are thrilled with the evening’s success and the important work that it will allow the Art Center to continue doing.”

The Art Center’s annual spring gala is critical to enabling its important work of transforming and enriching lives through the shared experience of art. Next year’s gala will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey Shines On at 90th Anniversary Gala

From left to right: Michael Goodman, Cheryl Goodman, Rachel Wilf, and Jonathan Wilf.

For 90 years, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey has been exclusively dedicated to viewing, making, and learning about contemporary art. Recognized as a leading non-profit arts organization, the Art Center’s renowned Studio School, acclaimed exhibitions, and educational outreach initiatives serve thousands of youths, families, seniors, and people with special needs every year.

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is located at 68 Elm Street in Summit, NJ. Gallery hours: Monday–Thursday, 10:00am to 8:00pm; Friday & Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm; and Sunday, 11:00am to 4:00pm. Please call 908.273.9121 to confirm holiday hours.

Major support for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is provided by The Wilf Family Foundations; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; The Estate of Pamela Hauptfleisch; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the Art Center community of supporters.

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey Shines On at 90th Anniversary Gala

From left to right: 2023 Changemaker Award Winner Layqa Nuna Yawar and Sarah Walko, VACNJ Director of Education & Community Engagement.

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