Jersey Arts Resolutions, Part 1.

Jersey Arts Resolutions, Part 1.

As we head towards the close of another trip 'round the sun, we wanted to share with you some of our reflections and thoughts on both 2010's arts experiences and our hopes for what 2011 may hold. Here's some resolutions from Shen, Gary, Patricia and Cat-- We hope you enjoy, New Jersey--and stay warm!

SHEN SHELLENBERGER, our Blogger-at-Large:

Twyla Tharp said that “art is the only way to run away without leaving home” and, really, isn’t that the truth?

I’ve always had art in my life – whether I was pounding out adolescent stories on the hulking Royal typewriter in my grandmother’s basement or listening to “West Side Story” and “Funny Girl” with my mother in the living room of our circa 1950s Cherry Hill ranch home.

Through writing for Culture Vultures this year, I’ve been more tuned in to art than I have for a long time.  Not only have I gone to musical concerts, which I’d likely have done regardless, but I also visited a jewel of a cultural site, saw a marvelous art exhibition at an equally marvelous South Jersey museum, watched a remarkable theatre production and attended the WheatonArts fest.

And the conversations that I had with people who make art – or in the case of the Civil War reenactors, keep history alive – reminded me of how glorious it is to have that passion to create.

In the coming year, I want to hear more stories – told from the stage in theatre productions and from authors reading and discussing their work.  I want to see more visual art, and maybe finally get my boyfriend to Grounds for Sculpture.  And I’d love to be a student and challenge myself to learn a new skill or fine-tune something I once knew how to do.  In short, my goal is to spend more time surrounded by art and the people who make it.

And, you’re right, Twyla, I won’t even have to pack a bag.

GARY WIEN, our Music Blogger:

The Strand Theatre in Lakewood

The Strand Theatre in Lakewood

Personally, I´m hoping 2011 is a big year for me as an artist.  I used to think you could either have a 9 to 5 job or be an artist, but you couldn´t do both.  I´m trying to change that in 2011.  I have a book coming out in January and will be working on a major book project throughout the year that I´ve got my fingers crossed on.  Being focused on writing is part of my goal to get back to playwriting in a big way.  My ultimate goal is see one of my plays produced in 2011.

In addition, my online radio station is going to begin broadcasting a few concerts live from the Strand Theatre in Lakewood and I´m excited about that.  It feels good to be plugging away in a few different ways.  Sometimes I think the more I do, the more I want to do...

PATRICIA KIERNAN JOHNSON, our Opera/Classical Music Blogger:


As I was thinking about my 2010 arts experiences, I realized that I have been to a lot of live performances this year. I saw 10 ballets, 9 operas (including an entire Ring Cycle by Wagner – yeah, that’s about 20 hours’ worth of German opera right there), 1 orchestral performance and 3 salon vocal concerts. And that’s just the live performances – not counting all the stuff that I’ve seen on TV and the internet.

But one thing just occurred to me: I don’t think I saw any plays, music theater, jazz or choral performances or non-ballet dance events this year. And my museum attendance has been on the low side this year (shush – let’s keep that our secret, ok? Otherwise they’ll take away my art degrees). Of course, since I just gave birth to my first child three weeks ago, I’ve been a little preoccupied this year!

So that’s the big goal for 2011 – broaden my arts-going experience and head outside my ballet/opera comfort zone and see more…of everything!

CAT COSENTINO, our Singer/Songwriter Blogger:


When I was a younger, around the age when family and close family friends begin asking you what you want to be when you grow up, I found it annoying that I had many interests and lacked hardcore passion in any particular area. I did not want to succumb to my interest in the broad spectrum of “the arts”: that answer does not bode well with the adults who not only expect you to have focus, but also expect you to make money at some point in your life (teehee, starving artist joke). As I grew up, I realized which “talents” I should capitalize on—all of them. You should never stop expanding on the talents and interests you were born with, and that is, perhaps, what this new-year should bring about. I was given the gift of music in the shape of a new keyboard this Christmas. Do I know how to play the piano like a champ? No. Will I teach myself? Hell yes. Bring it on 2011—Cat’s going to be the next Yanni. Aside from growing as an artist in the comforts of my own home, I plan on expanding my listening ear at venues like The Mayo Center for the Performing Arts, The Strand Theater, NJPAC, Starland Ballroom, Susquehanna Bank Center, and all the places in between that quench my thirst for good music.

So if I could inspire any one of your boring Friday nights from here on until the Eve of 2012, I encourage you to get out of the house and see some wonderful artists change the world song by song, person by person, in their own unique way.

That's all for now, NJ--see you in a few days!

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