2017 Hopewell Valley Arts Council Scholarship Winners Announced

Hopewell Valley Arts Council 2017 Scholarship Winners
Hopewell Valley Arts Council Board with 2017 Scholarship Award Winners
The Hopewell Valley Arts Council announced scholarship awards for four Hopewell Valley Central High School graduating seniors on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at the HVCHS Senior Awards Night. Present were (L-R) HV Arts Council Board Member Michelle Needham and Board President Carol Lipson; HVCHS graduating seniors and scholarship award winners Kayley SkedKanon Shamboraa, Jake Csermak and Bryan Hill; and Arts Council Board Members Dawn Berman and Liz Bell.

Four Hopewell Valley Central High School Graduating Seniors Surprised by Scholarship Announcement at Senior Awards Night

PENNINGTON, NJ July 1, 2017—For a third year, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council (@hvartscouncil) has awarded scholarships to four graduating seniors of Hopewell Valley Central High School. The scholarships are granted to outstanding Hopewell Valley students in recognition for their creative accomplishments and ambitions.

This year’s students were surprised with the announcement of their awards at the HVCHS Senior Awards Night, held on June 15, 2017. 

According to Arts Council President Carol Lipson, the students beat out a large pool of applicants to be selected.”We have consistently had outstanding applicants for the scholarships in the past three years. But this year, we had more kids apply for the awards and every one was excellent. Our Selection Committee had a really tough job! We are delighted that our four award winners represent accomplishments in a broad range of the arts, reflecting our organization’s commitment to support all kinds of Art in the Everyday. We are so proud of the young artists of Hopewell Valley. Their performances and exhibits and sharing of their talents are part of what makes Hopewell Valley an art-rich community.  Recognizing young artists with these scholarships is one of the most awesome things we do!”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Reinah Bauer, who will continue her involvement with instrumental music and voice performance in the Rutgers University Honors Program;
  • Danielle Costanzo, who will study performing arts at Muhlenberg College;
  • Michaela Pietrinferno who will study technical theater at Savannah College of Art and Design; and
  • Demi Zhang, who will continue her development as a visual artist at Rutgers University.

Each winner received a $500 scholarship from the Arts Council.

The Arts Council started the scholarship program in 2015 during the organization’s first year of operation as a non-profit, reflecting the Council’s deep commitment to support youth arts education and the role art and creativity play in an enriched life

About the Hopewell Valley Arts Council

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating “art in the everyday” throughout the Hopewell Valley region of New Jersey, including Hopewell Township, Titusville, Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough. Now in its third year of operation, the Arts Council has blossomed as an art-focused partner for many community institutions and events. Through its efforts to cultivate art appreciation and participation, the Arts Council aims to nurture a vibrant, creative and engaged community. The organization grew out of the 2014 Hopewell Stampede, a project initiated by a passionate group of art-loving residents who enlisted local artists to decorate more than 70 oversized, fiberglass oxen. The oxen were displayed throughout the community.

For more information, visit hvartscouncil.org. Follow the Arts Council on Facebook at Facebook.com/HVStampede/, Instagram, Instagram.com/hvartscouncil and Twitter Twitter.com/hvartscouncil.

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SALON REDUX Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2017
Press Release and Photo Caption

TICKETS ON SALE FOR HOPEWELL VALLEY ARTS COUNCIL MARCH GALA

SALON REDUX PROMISES TO BE A UNIQUE, FUN AND CREATIVE EVENING

 

Upcycled Cyborg Woman by Sandy Bonasera

PHOTO CAPTION

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council invites everyone to their 2017 gala, Salon Redux, to be held Saturday, March 25 at Princeton University’s Prospect House. The unique and creative evening will feature live performances, distinctive food, local spirits and upcycled art, such as “Cyborg Woman,” by Hopewell Valley artist and resident Sandy Bonasera. Proceeds will help fund the many community art activities of the Arts Council, including four annual scholarships to Hopewell Valley Central High School graduating seniors. Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased online at www.hvartscouncil.org, or call 609-281-5887.

PRESS RELEASE

PENNINGTON, NJ – Tickets are on sale for the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s 2017 gala, SALON REDUX, to be held March 25 at Prospect House, on the campus of Princeton University. The celebration will pick up on the Arts Council’s multi-year focus on upcycling, blend it with the European salons of yesteryear, and dish up a night of creative experiences tucked throughout the elegant mansion that served as home to past Princeton University presidents. In addition to reveling in live performances, distinctive food, local spirits and upcycled art, attendees will be able to bid on items made by local artists and artisans, participate in a community art project and get first dibs on signing up for exclusive events to be hosted by friends of the Arts Council in coming months. Tickets and sponsorships are on sale at www.hvartscouncil.org or call the Arts Council at 609-281-5887.

During the gala evening, the Arts Council will also honor Liza and Sky Morehouse, Jon and Robin McConaughy and Mitchel Skolnick for their ‘upcycling’ of the Off-Broadstreet Theatre into the new Hopewell Theatre and its contribution to art opportunities in the valley.

Salon Redux will be the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s primary fundraiser and social event of the year. According to Randee Tengi, Arts Council co-president, the organization needs the support of the community to continue its expanding programs. “In 2016, we participated in or hosted more than 20 different events and, for a second year, awarded scholarships to four Hopewell Valley Central High School graduating seniors. We also held community focus groups to help guide our activities. We hope this fun, unique gala will give the community an opportunity to support us and help fund our future.”

Gala chairpersons Carol Lipson, Liz Bell and Heidi Kahme are working hard to give the event the warmth and creative flair that distinguish the Hopewell Valley community and Arts Council. Lipson explains, “We enlisted volunteers to handcraft the gala invitations and decorations—whimsical giant masks— from discarded materials.” Bell adds, “Community groups, including children through senior citizens, are creating a huge, fantasy tree to welcome party-goers into Prospect House. Plus, our salon artists and boutique contributors all hail from the local area. The Arts Council believes that art helps build a healthy community and that art-making and art appreciation contribute to the well-being of individuals. So it was very important to us that this event actually be a community creation.”

Kahme points to the organization’s last gala as an example of what attendees at Salon Redux can look forward to,“The community is still buzzing about our 2015 Year of the Ox gala celebration. We know how to bring the creativity and the fun, and we love to throw a great party!”

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating “art in the everyday” throughout the Hopewell Valley region of New Jersey, including Hopewell Township, Titusville, Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough. The Arts Council has blossomed as an art-focused partner for many community institutions and events, and, through its efforts to cultivate art appreciation and participation, aims to nurture a vibrant and engaged community. The organization grew out of the 2014 Hopewell Stampede, a project initiated by a group of art-loving residents who enlisted local artists to decorate 70 life-sized, fiberglass oxen, many of which are still on display throughout the community.

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2nd Annual Amazing Pumpkin Carve Winners Announced and… “Freedom Pumpkin” Wins Best in Show

Curtis May Freedom Pumpkin Wins Hopewell Valley Arts Council aMAZing Pumpkin Carve

Curtis May Freedom Pumpkin Wins Hopewell Valley Arts Council aMAZing Pumpkin Carve

“Freedom Pumpkin” Wins “Best in Show” at Second Annual Amazing Pumpkin Carve

Hopewell Valley Arts Council Announces Winning Artists of Second Annual Amazing Pumpkin Carve

PENNINGTON, NJ October 13, 2016— A giant pumpkin dramatically carved with clasped arms reaching around its circumference and inscribed with the words, “Unite for Freedom and Rights” has been named Best in Show at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s Second Annual Amazing Pumpkin Carve. Artist Curtis May, a Pennington resident and Pennsbury High School (Bucks County, PA) art teacher, has claimed the title for both years in a row.

May’s pumpkin and dozens of others carved by local artists and nonprofit organizations can be seen during one final weekend, October 14-16, at the Howell Living History Farm Corn Maze located at 17 Valley Road in Hopewell Township, New Jersey. The Carve will be open Friday evening 5-9, Saturday noon-9 and Sunday noon-5.

Other winning artist-carvers in this year’s Pumpkin Carve include Charlie Yeh (Best Carving); Sarah Bernotas (Most Creative Design); Aleece Davis (Most Creative Use of Materials); Michelle Clark (Best Pumpkin at Night); and Patrick Pasquito (Most Humorous Pumpkin.) Honorable Mentions went to Kaitlin Deering Kassel, Carol Gorham, Lori Johansson, and Will Kasso.

The Amazing Pumpkin Carve was created by the Hopewell Valley Arts Council to spotlight the talent of local artists in a way that all ages can enjoy. Young children through senior citizens can plan an afternoon or evening of outdoor Fall fun that includes exploring the Pumpkin Carve, tackling the puzzling challenge of the Howell Farm Corn Maze, hand-pumping water to race rubber duckies, clambering over wooden replicas of farm equipment, and enjoying lunch or seasonal treats from the Snack Bar and Grill. Celebrating its twentieth year, the Howell Farm Corn Maze is the longest continuously-running corn maze in New Jersey. The maze features almost three miles of labyrinthian trails and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Online Art Auction Added to Carve

The Arts Council’s celebration of Autumn seasonal art was expanded this year to include an online auction of ten custom, collectable, everlasting pumpkins decorated by top artists from Mercer, Bucks, and Hunterdon counties of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These one-of-a-kind art pumpkins can be seen in person at the Pumpkin Carve. The online auction will close with the end of the Pumpkin Carve at 5pm on Sunday, October 16. Proceeds benefit the Hopewell Valley Arts Council. The artists commissioned include Morris Docktor, Addison Vincent, Susanne Pitak Davis, Leon Rainbow, Thom Montanari, Annelies van Dommelen, Matthew Langille, James Feehan, Susan Roseman and Nancy Stark.

Information to plan a visit to the Amazing Pumpkin Carve, including admission prices, and links to the online auction of art pumpkins are available at www.hvartscouncil.org.

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating “art in the everyday” throughout the Hopewell Valley region of New Jersey, including Hopewell Township, Titusville, Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough. Now in its second year of operation, the Arts Council has blossomed as an art-focused partner for many community institutions and events and, so far this year, has brought more than twenty art activities, performances, exhibits and talks to Hopewell Valley festivals and celebrations, as well as to Capital Health Medical Center—Hopewell; the Pennington Public Library; and the Off-Broadstreet Theatre. Through its efforts to cultivate art appreciation and participation, the Arts Council aims to nurture a vibrant, creative and engaged community. The organization grew out of the 2014 Hopewell Stampede, a project initiated by a group of art-loving residents who enlisted local artists to decorate more than 70 oversized, fiberglass oxen. The oxen were displayed throughout the community.

For more information, contact HV Arts Council Program Director Carol Lipson at pumpkins@hvartscouncil.org and Tracy Meyer at tracy@tracywmeyer.org; or visit hvartscouncil.org. Follow the Arts Council on Facebook at Facebook.com/HVStampede/, Instagram, Instagram.com/hvartscouncil and Twitter Twitter.com/hvartscouncil.

aMAZing Pumpkin Carve Media Advisory

Hopewell Valley Arts Council's aMAZing Pumpkin Carve Carve Day 2016

Hopewell Valley Arts Council's aMAZing Pumpkin Carve Carve Day 2016Contact:

Carol Lipson,
Hopewell Valley Arts Council Program Director
Carol.lipson@hvartscouncil.org
609-281-5887

Tracy Meyer,
Hopewell Valley Arts Council Communications
tracy@tracywmeyer.com

—MEDIA ADVISORY—

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s 2nd Annual aMAZing Pumpkin Carve To Be Held
on Grounds of Howell Living History Farm Corn Maze, Oct 7-10 and Oct 14-16, 2016


The Media Is Invited to October 5 Pre-Opening “Carve Day”to Interview and Observe Artists As They Transform Giant Pumpkins into Works of Art,

And Also Invited Anytime During Oct 7-10 and Oct 14-16 Public Hours at the Carve

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council invites the media to our annual “Carve Day,” an opportunity to observe and interview artists as they transform giant pumpkins into works of art for this year’s aMAZing Pumpkin Carve on the grounds of the Howell Farm Corn Maze in Hopewell Township (Mercer County), New Jersey. The artists will be carving their pumpkins at the corn maze from 10am-8pm on Wednesday, October 5. Late afternoon (2-5pm) will be the best time to see the artists at work and the pumpkin artistry far enough along.

You are also welcome, at your convenience, any time on Carve Day and during October 7-10 and October 14-16 when the aMAZing Pumpkin Carve is open to the public.

WHAT: “Carve Day” is an opportunity to interview and observe local and regional artists carving giant pumpkins into works of art for the walk-through exhibition, the aMAZing Pumpkin Carve.

WHO: More than 40 artists will be present and carving 100-150 lbs pumpkins to create the exhibition. Representatives from the Hopewell Valley Arts Council will be available to answer questions.

WHY: The aMAZing Pumpkin Carve is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Hopewell Valley Arts Council. In 2015, its first year, the Carve was open one weekend and attracted thousands of visitors. This year, the Carve will be open for two weekends and has expanded to include an online auction of artist-painted “faux” pumpkins. These will also be on display at the Carve.

WHEN:

1. Any time between 2-5pm, Wednesday, October 5.

2. Earlier or later on 10/5 as needed: Please let us know so we can have an artist available.

3. Anytime the aMAZing Pumpkin Carve is open to the public.

Sat/Sun Artist carving demos: 12-3.
Fridays (October 7 & 14) 5-9pm
Saturdays (October 8 & 15) 12-9pm
Sundays (October 9 & 16) 12-5pm
Monday, October 10 Columbus Day 12-5pm

WHERE: Grounds of the Howell Living History Farm Corn Maze, 17 Valley Road, Hopewell Township. (This address may appear as Lambertville in some mapping and GPS programs.)

For more information, visit www.hvartscouncil.org. Our Plan Your Visit to the Pumpkin Carve page may be of particular assistance.

Hopewell Valley Arts Council Awards Scholarships for Second Year

Winners of the 2016 Hopewell Valley Arts Council scholarships
From L to R: Hopewell Valley Arts Council President Randee Tengi with the organization’s 2016 scholarship winners Danielle Costanzo; Michaela Pietrinferno; and Reinah Bauer. Scholarship recipient Demi Zhang not pictured. Hopewell Valley Central High School “Class of 2016” Graduates Recognized in the Arts

Hopewell Valley Central High School “Class of 2016” Graduates Recognized in the Arts

PENNINGTON, NJ July 1, 2016—For a second year, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council (@hvartscouncil) has awarded scholarships to four outstanding graduating seniors of Hopewell Valley Central High School.

At a reception for this year’s winners and their parents, Arts Council President Randee Tengi highlighted that the scholarships are granted to outstanding Hopewell Valley students in recognition for their creative accomplishments and ambitions. The Arts Council started the scholarship program in 2015 during the organization’s very first year of operation as a non-profit, reflecting the Council’s deep commitment to support youth arts education and the role art and creativity play in an enriched life.

Arts Council Program Director Carol Lipson added, “We are so proud of the young artists of Hopewell Valley. Their performances and exhibits and sharing of their talents are part of what makes Hopewell Valley an art-rich community.  Recognizing young artists with these scholarships is one of the most awesome things we do!”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Reinah Bauer, who will continue her involvement with instrumental music and voice performance in the Rutgers University Honors Program;
  • Danielle Costanzo, who will study performing arts at Muhlenberg College;
  • Michaela Pietrinferno who will study technical theater at Savannah College of Art and Design; and
  • Demi Zhang, who will continue her development as a visual artist at Rutgers University.

Each winner received a $500 scholarship from the Arts Council.

About the Hopewell Valley Arts Council

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating “art in the everyday” throughout the Hopewell Valley region of New Jersey, including Hopewell Township, Titusville, Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough. Now in its second year of operation, the Arts Council has blossomed as an art-focused partner for many community institutions and events. Already in the first half of 2016, the Council has brought art activities, performances and exhibits to Capital Health Medical Center—Hopewell; the Pennington Public Library; the Mount Rose Preserve Open House; Pennington Day; Pennington Borough’s Memorial Day Festivities; the Hopewell Valley Come Outside and Play Initiative; and Hopewell Borough’s 125th Anniversary Celebrations. Through its efforts to cultivate art appreciation and participation, the Arts Council aims to nurture a vibrant, creative and engaged community. The organization grew out of the 2014 Hopewell Stampede, a project initiated by a passionate group of art-loving residents who enlisted local artists to decorate more than 70 oversized, fiberglass oxen. The oxen were displayed throughout the community.

For more information, visit hvartscouncil.org. Follow the Arts Council on Facebook at Facebook.com/HVStampede/, Instagram, Instagram.com/hvartscouncil and Twitter Twitter.com/hvartscouncil.

2015 Scholarship Winners

photo 1The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is pleased to announce its first round of scholarships awarded to graduating seniors from Hopewell Valley Central High School. At a reception for the winners and their parents at the Council’s June 10, 2015 board meeting, four students were recognized for their creative accomplishments and ambitions and awarded $500 scholarships. The recipients are Ahn Francesca Nong, Katherine Cleveland, Ian Goldsmith, and Tara Schmitt.

Responding to the Arts Council’s mission of celebrating art in the everyday, these students shared in application essays how the arts have enriched and shaped their lives and their visions for the future. The students’ intended pursuits at universities and institutes include art history and international cultural commerce, music and world cultures, musical theatre and stagecraft, and the culinary arts. The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is delighted to celebrate and encourage the talents and aspirations of our youth. These scholarships reflect an on-going commitment to support arts education and exploration for all, as well as recognition of the role art and creativity play in an enriched life.

For further information on the 2015 Hopewell Valley Arts Council Scholars and all the upcoming activities of the Council visit to www.hvartscouncil.org or contact Council executive director David Miller.

Introducing Executive Director David Miller

Following the great success of the Stampede, the inaugural project of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, the Council is pleased to announce the hire of David Miller as its first executive director.  Serving Hopewell Valley, comprised of Hopewell Township and the boroughs of Hopewell and Pennington; the Council, which started just two years ago, is excited to be taking this important step forward.  Mr. Miller, a highly respected arts management professional, brings over 35 years of experience to the post and to the tasks of planning the Council’s programmatic advance and building a strong organizational base for future operations.

Miller, a lifelong central NJ resident and the former executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Grounds For Sculpture, began his career in local arts development as administrator of the Burlington Council Cultural & Heritage Commission and later as Community Arts Coordinator for the State Arts Council where he rose to become executive director, a post he later held with Grounds For Sculpture. To every post he has earned distinction for sound planning and innovative programming.  Hopewell Valley Arts Council Co-Presidents Betsy Ackerman and Randee Tengi issued the following statement: “We welcome David Miller to this important post at this auspicious moment in our development, when we have successfully launched the Council and captured the energy, recognition, and support of the communities we serve.  His wealth of experience, broad knowledge, and enthusiasm for the value of art to community vitality exactly match the exciting challenges and opportunities in front of us.”

Formed two years ago by dedicated residents throughout the Valley, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council is coming off the tremendous success of its Stampede project, which celebrated the talents of area artists through the colorful and imaginative creation of 69 life-sized ox sculptures.  After two months roaming the valley as a public art exhibit, the sculptures were sold to supporters both near and far. The final 11 oxen were most recently showcased and auctioned at the Council’s inaugural ‘Year of the Ox’ gala held at Grounds For Sculpture in January.  As Miller noted, “The Stampede was the perfect project for a perfect launch, one that not only captured the attention and delight of the entire Hopewell Valley, but fortified regional identity and forged new partnerships in the community to bolster other initiatives the Council has been building.” These include a fall 2014 arts workshop series, the “Winter Windows” displays that local merchants throughout the region created to show support for the arts, and February’s Restaurant Week, a celebration of regional culinary arts. “With such a great start,” Miller continued, “there’s no telling what can be accomplished next.”

Just around the corner is a workshop on April 30 titled “Wine Showdown – France vs. The World,” which will compare wines from France to similar varietals from other regions, as well as pair the wines with wonderful culinary experiences prepared by The Brothers Moon chef Will Mooney. Bringing more art into valley life, the Council is creating concerts, summer family art workshops, and various arts demonstration and engagement projects at upcoming community events throughout the valley.

Mr. Miller will take the post initially on a part-time basis and work with the board and a growing number of volunteers and community stakeholders to map out the Council’s next steps with the goal of sustaining momentum and building a larger, durable base for future growth. The Council fills an important role in a unique, talent-rich region of the state, which previously had no organization devoted to promoting all the ways that art, artists, and the larger creative community enrich lives, improve quality of life, and contribute to such vital civic concerns as education, community and economic development, preservation, conservation, and healthcare. The Hopewell Valley Arts Council embraces an open philosophy that recognizes the arts are for everyone, every day, and are alive and worth fostering in all human endeavor throughout the region, as expressed by their mission of “celebrating art in the everyday.”

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is a private non-profit, charitable organization that looks forward to many future announcements of valuable, exciting programs for the people of the Hopewell Valley and the region.  For further information or to join the growing number of residents who believe the arts matter here, visit our website at www.hvartscouncil.org.

‘Ox’tion Gala’ at Grounds for Sculpture features first-place ‘Think Inside the Ox’

By Janet Purcell | For The Times of Trenton 
on January 20, 2015 at 9:30 AM, updated January 20, 2015 at 9:35 AM

By now, most everyone in this region’s art community knows about the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s 69 fiberglass oxen that were given artistic personalities by local artists and spent weeks on display throughout Hopewell Valley.

The group held an online auction for 33 of the oxen in “The Stampede” project and raised more than $73,000 by the time it ended in October. Another 11 oxen are being offered during a live auction and dinner Saturday at Grounds for Sculpture during an event dubbed the “Ox’tion Gala.”

Among of the oxen being auctioned Saturday is Dana Weekley’s “Think Inside The Ox,” which is covered in yellow, blue and green mandalas. In August, three independent judges with strong credentials selected Weekley’s entry as first place overall for the project.

Weekley says she never thought of herself as an artist even though she spent hours drawing with her Spirograph as a kid and staring down into roses when she worked with her father in his flower business.

9TDW1“Think Inside the Ox” by Dana Weekley.

She wanted to be a math teacher but when Weekley took night school courses at Rider University in calculus, she also took a studio art class with Professor Harry A. Naar — and dropped out.

“I was trying to make it all perfect and just couldn’t do it,” she says.

It wasn’t until 2007 when she was drawing with her 7-year-old old son that she found her artistic inspiration.

“He was just drawing, abstract, and I would be looking around for something outside myself to draw,” Weekley says. “I asked him what I should draw and he said, ‘draw what’s inside you.’ It was like it burst upon me and I knew at that moment it had changed my life forever.”

Before that I had been controlling, critical and judgmental about my work. I looked outside myself, and was intimidated by a blank canvas—a metaphor about how I lived my life in general. When the art channel opened, it began to, and still does, guide me through transformations toward self-realization, personal freedom, present moment awareness, self-love and trust in God. A far more powerful perspective, to be sure.”

Soon her drawings evolved into the mandalas she does today. They began as black and white drawings and then color flooded into them. Now Weekley prints her kaleidoscopic designs on fine matte papers, on canvas, on fabric for wall hangings and on vinyl or other fabric-like materials for decals that can be mounted on a wall.

She’d attended the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s call for artists because she wanted the connection with other artists. But when the idea of the Stampede began to develop, she says the concept of adding art to an ox was intimidating.

“I had no idea how I was going to do an ox,” Weekley says. “It was insane.”

She describes several ideas she toyed with before deciding that to achieve the fluidity of design she wanted, it would be best to use glue and paper. She purchased a decorate-it-yourself piggy bank to use as a prototype and began cutting her drawings in strips and gluing them on.

“I think of myself as a scribe, a tool, and I started working on the ox cutting the mandala I had designed for him into strips and gluing them on while I listened to pod casts of spiritual people talking for hours and I loved doing it and cried when he left,” Weekley says.

Then disaster struck. The sealant used to make the ox weatherproof didn’t hold and large sections all over the ox bubbled up and had to be scraped off.

“I had just spent April to September on him and now I had to start at the beginning again, do an underlay and have it meet up properly with the layer that was still there. I cried,” she says. “But then I got over it and, thankfully, my husband stripped and prepped him, I finished, we sealed him with a new sealant and he was better than ever. I cried again when he had to leave the second time. He’d become a good friend.”

And now Weekley is back to making mandalas full time again, beginning to create them using 3-D printing and connecting with people from all parts of the world through her website, ninetomatoes.com, a name she says just “dropped in” on her.

“People have found me from all over the world — deeply spiritual people in Australia, Canada, South America and throughout the States,” Weekley says. “I love working with people making their own mandalas. They send me their drawing, we connect and I get a sense of who they are. Then I move their drawings around and they evolve into their own personal mandala. I love it when people begin to find their essence.”

Finale Video

On October 19, 2014, the Stampede Finale was held on the grounds of Hopewell Elementary School. The party celebrated the end of the Stampede’s public art exhibit, and the winners of the online auction were announced. Video journalist John Bauwen was on hand to capture the excitement and sentiments of the event. You can watch the video on Verizon FiOS News1.

Sale of decorated oxen nets $73K for Hopewell Valley Arts Council

By Brendan McGrath | Times of Trenton 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 21, 2014 at 3:21 PM

bullseye

The colorful oxen that have lined Hopewell Valley’s landscape since August are turning the local arts council green to the tune of $73,000.

The money, raised by auctioning off 33 of 69 decorated fiberglass oxen, will be used by the nascent Hopewell Valley Arts Council for future public arts projects and workshops.

This project, “The Stampede,” was the arts council’s first big project after being established early this year.

When the life-sized oxen arrived in March, they were white and blank of any design. Artists then embellished them and the arts council installed them throughout Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough and Pennington.

An online auction featuring 33 of the oxen ended Sunday ahead of a celebration of the project at Hopewell Elementary.

The total amount of money bid on the oxen hovered between $20,000 and $30,000 for a long time, project coordinator Liz Bell said. Then as the auction drew to a close, something changed.

“In the last 24 hours it just popped,” Bell said.

The auction brought in a total of $73,581. Every ox sold for at least $1,200, with “Luke the Celtic Ox” earning the top bid at $4,817.

Another 11 oxen, including one that was just revealed Sunday, will be sold in a live auction at a gala in January. The remaining oxen were prepurchased by sponsors to fund the project.

The oxen that will be auctioned off will be featured together in a herd somewhere in Hopewell Valley later this fall.

The process has been a gratifying one for the arts council.

“We certainly worked very hard in putting this together and learned a lot in the process,” Bell said.

The project was intended to increase awareness of arts in the community and raise funds for the council. Bell said she thinks both objectives were achieved.

“I think the community has an idea that there’s an arts council in town,” she said.

Now, the council will begin its educational workshops on crafts, including ornament making and jewelry design.

The oxen are being picked up from their various locations this week, but some can still be viewed.

Brendan McGrath may be reached at bmcgrath@njtimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @brendanrmcgrath. Find The Times of Trenton on Facebook.