Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Preserve Now – Protect Forever: Art Exhibit Honoring The Land Conservancy of New Jersey

The land preservation work of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is being honored in October with an innovative art exhibition highlighting some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes. Preserve Now - Protect Forever, An Artistic Perspective will feature the artwork of fourteen selected artists who have spent the past year creating a variety of paintings of land preserved by the Conservancy.

This exhibition of landscape paintings will run from September 29th through October 29th in two locations: Bernardsville Public Library (1 Anderson Hill Road) and Studio 7 Fine Art Gallery (5 Morristown Road) in Bernardsville. The Studio 7 portion of the show will be featured in the monthly Bernardsville Art Walk on October 1st from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The library show will be on view during regular library hours unless a meeting is in progress.

The exhibition was the brainchild of artist Gerry Heydt, who has long been aware of the importance of preserving New Jersey’s landscape heritage. She paints landscapes outdoors and in her studio from sources found in natural areas, preserved farms, rivers, and streams of New Jersey. The bulk of her work, and that of many artists she knows, is derived through public access to preserved land. In May 2009, Ms. Heydt contacted The Land Conservancy of New Jersey with the idea of dedicating an exhibition to their efforts, showing artists’ work inspired by properties preserved with their assistance. A spectrum of fourteen New Jersey artists, with work embodying an affinity for the landscape, were invited to paint landscapes from a group of properties, largely with public access, preserved through the office of the Conservancy.

“I depend almost entirely upon open space with public access for my landscape painting work in New Jersey,” said Ms. Heydt. “Without public land I would be setting up my easel on sidewalks, the shoulders of country roads, or on private property with permission from the owner, severely limiting my access to New Jersey’s beautiful natural, coastal and rural landscapes. The work of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey directly benefits me and other landscape painters in New Jersey by furnishing access—a small side benefit to the procurement and preservation of open space, but not inconsequential to sustaining a recognized segment of New Jersey’s arts community.”

Some of the locations that will be represented include a 13-acre stretch of the Pequest River in Green Township; Dower Farm, a scenic 47 acres overlooking the Sourland Mountains in Peapack-Gladstone; Camp Hudsonia, an 82-acre former Girl Scout camp in Rockaway Township; and the Craigmeur Cliffs, a 61-acre property with striking views of the Green Pond Valley located in Rockaway Township. In addition to Heydt, the artists who will show their work in the show are Jared Clackner, Denise Fleming Deutschman, Tim Gaydos, Diana Gibson, Gary Godbee, Donna Grande, Seth Ruggles Hiler, Dannielle Mick, Robert Pillsbury, Joel Popadics, Edward Sprafkin, John Reilly, and Alana Van Rensselaer.

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is an accredited land trust dedicated to preserving and protecting New Jersey’s vital natural lands and water resources. The organization has been working for the past 29 years to inspire and empower individuals and communities to take action to save the land that is so important to our state. The Conservancy has preserved over 17,000 acres of land and helped towns receive $202 million in grants to purchase and protect land throughout New Jersey. The Conservancy has worked with more than 76 municipalities in 13 counties, impacting over half of New Jersey’s counties and benefiting millions of residents throughout the state.

For further information about the show, call Bernardsville Public Library at 908-766-0118 or Kathleen Palmer at Studio 7 Fine Art Gallery at 908-963-0365.

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