For the 3rd year in a row, Team Ellenbogen has ranked in the Top 10 Teams Company Wide at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties. BHHS New Jersey Properties has over 40 Teams in 21 offices state-wide. They have also achieved for 4 years in a row the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Annual Chairman’s Circle – Gold Award.
During 2018, the Team consisted of Alan Ellenbogen, as Team Leader, Nancy Oppenheimer and Cassie Cosby, as buyer agents, and Caroline Velonas, who listed and represented buyers.
Alan Ellenbogen has also been awarded the New Jersey Association of Realtors Circle of Excellence®-Sales Award®-Gold for 3 years-2016, 2017 and 2018. Previously, he was awarded the Silver Award from 2013-2015.
Team Ellenbogen does not depend on listing price alone to sell a home, they create buyer activity to get you the highest price possible in the shortest amount of time-Their Signature Strategy! They use a multifaceted technology driven Visual Marketing Campaign to sell your home that yields results that are repeated on a consistent basis.
For their sellers, they use innovative technologies, such as Talking Narrated Virtual Tours, along with a team of specialists to assist you through the process: stagers, professional photographers, home repair specialists and Internet Real Estate Marketing experts.
Looking to purchase a home? They have the same team of professionals ready to assist you.
So contact them today if you want to Re-Think Real Estate.
What a sight the 2018 Harvest Fest was for the citizens of Bloomfield, and also for those from nearby cities who were so enticed by the wonders the Bloomfield Center Alliance made possible that day! Beginning at 11am and ending around 7 that evening, Broad Street was packed with families, couples, and groups of friends enjoying what seemed to be the best Harvest Fest to date.
One would think the drizzling weather would put a damper on things; au contraire, what I witnessed that day was far from being sparsely attended with sagging spirits to match. Everyone was in incredibly high spirits! Kids laughed and played together, consuming treats from the ice cream truck and going on incredibly fun rides. Their guardians watched them with eyes filled with more happiness for them than caution, as a number of authorities patrolled the environment to ensure it was both safe and fun.
There seemed to be activities for everyone to enjoy! Both the young ones and the adults experienced pony rides and the petting zoo. Live music was played throughout the event, and there was never a lack of a crowd for it. How talented those musicians were!
To add to the festivities, there was even the classic dunking booth, which even the “dunkees” were having a blast getting wet. The
numerous vendors had so much to offer, from tasty and exotic foods to one-of-a-kind trinkets and art pieces. Many of the attendees’ eyes lit up, as they experienced foods they had never even heard of and fiddled with ornaments they wish they had been introduced to far earlier in their lives. The abundance of cultures in the township of Bloomfield was greatly evident, and it was a reminder of how well Bloomfield’s citizens harmoniously live together due to their open-mindedness and enthusiasm to share.
Not too far from where the Harvest Fest was set up is Bloomfield College. A large number of students from that establishment were in attendance as well. I asked one student in particular about her thoughts on the event.
Laughing with her friends, she responded, “We’ve been so stressed! Too stressed! This was definitely a nice way to kind of just unwind and relax.”
She further explained her feelings, centering in on her experiences with the Township of Bloomfield
so far, “I was iffy about going to college here, because I didn’t really know the area that well, but a lot of fun stuff happens around here. I’m glad I stuck around; Bloomfield is pretty cool.”
Not only was the 2018 Bloomfield Harvest Fest a success, it was also a testament to Bloomfield’s ability to create fun, safe, educational, harmonious, and unifying events for people of all ages and backgrounds. Bloomfield, New Jersey is exactly the kind of environment parents want their children to grow up in and adults can enjoy the many cultural events available.
The Bloomfield Center Alliance (BCA) made Saturday, May 20th a day to remember for the citizens of the Township of Bloomfield by sponsoring from noon to eight o’clock at night, a free- admission block party on Washington Street. Everything seemed to work out in favor of those who worked so hard to put such a fun event together: the weather was as beautiful as could be, the turnout was enormous, and the good vibes were never-ending.
Besides creating an event that would help to bring the already close-knit community even closer together, another goal of the BCA’s was to present menu items from certain restaurants located in Bloomfield to introduce their culinary delights to the attendees. If Bloomfield’s citizens were not previously convinced of the delectable goodness that their township’s restaurants have to offer, the block party certainly must have changed their minds. Eateries such as Anthony’s Cheesecake, Villa Italiana, and Wasi Food received extraordinary positive attention. Nearly everyone walking the open streets was either savoring every bite of a food item or excitedly shoving the edible in the mouth of someone else, with the confident expectation that their taste buds, too, would experience pure bliss.
The BCA Strives to Make Your Day!
As if the mouthwatering food and beverages were not enough to satisfy, the BCA made sure to provide great music as well. Jeff and the Mutts performed throughout the event, and the responses from the crowd to each one of the band’s songs were always positive. One woman in particular began to hula-hoop to the band’s tunes, providing the crowd a pleasant surprise. Bloomfield’s own DJ Hiroshi Jaguar also played a part in delivering funky beats, encouraging everyone to move and groove along to the music. Even face painting was offered to Bloomfield’s citizens, as well as a chance to take personal photos inside of a photo booth. The BCA truly went all out, but if you are familiar with the work of the BCA, you know that their “110%” behavior is nothing new.
Events like Bloomfield Center Alliance’s Block Party, comprised of fascinating entertainment, delicious meals and treats, and positive energy, have the power to remind people of the wonderful effects that Bloomfield’s public gatherings can have on its unified citizens. A great place to live! You should contact us if you are thinking of purchasing in this up and coming township.
Opportunity Comes Knocking on La-Roche Development
[Oprah Voice] “You get a job, you get a job, you get a job AND you get a job!”
Prism Capital Partners LLC recently purchased the former La-Roche development in 2016. An according to Nutley’s township Attorney, Alan Genitempo, 5,000 – 8,000 jobs are expected to be created. This will be great for the economic growth of Nutley.Nutley’s Mayor Scarpelli expressed, “We’re very excited by that. More people will spill over into our local economy. It will create jobs and is good for the local economy and for our ratables.”
Along with the new batch of jobs created, there will be many changes to the buildings. “We’ve been working with the developer on a weekly basis and getting status reports,” says Genitempo.
The new plans for the reconstruction of the 16 acre property includes: redevelopment of two buildings – which will become the new private medical school and research facility, offices, compatible commercial uses, and structured and surface parking facilities. When designing the future structures, the developers want those who will be working in the buildings to enjoy a campus-like greenery. In addition, Seton Hall College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Science will be built on 10 to 9 acres of land that will be leased out. Prism’s Edwin Cohen stated, “At the same time, we are working closely with the Township of Nutley, city of Clifton and a team of consultants to develop a vibrant mixed-use, multiuser plan.”
Situated between the Garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike, the former La-Roche development will now be rebranded as ON3.And due to the location, this is said to be a highly sought after business address that has many companies interested.“There has been interest from high-tech industries,” Scarpelli said.
With massive changes, township leaders are very welcoming to the new possibilities. “It’s the future of Nutley. It’s the lifeblood of our economy, says Genitempo.”
A true artist never lets anything rain on their parade. In fact, they are familiar with weathering the storm. Even the physical one that graced us with its presence this past Thursday, April 6th. You see, Mother Nature is perhaps thee greatest mentor that often gets overlooked. Mother Nature exudes confidence when it paints the world; never hesitating where to place the next brush stroke.
On Thursday April 6th, The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway had the pleasure of hosting the opening Exhibit of The Montclair 10 Redux. Curators, Educators, Artists, and Volunteers are just some of the titles these talented artists hold. All ten artists are employed at the Montclair Art Museum, making this showcase even more exceptional. As they communicate with each other through work, so does their art. Spaced out on the gallery walls, these pieces, although very different harmonize through their visual aesthetics.
Mural Mural on the wall, Dan Fenelon is your guy to call. Changing up his art from murals to smaller pieces, Dan, based out of Morristown, NJ trained at the Arts Student League in NY and the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. Currently, he is the operator and resident artist of the MAM art truck. This truck travels through NJ facilitating art projects with willing participants. With one man shows in galleries all across the US, Dan has two pieces in the exhibit titled Tripartite#1 and #2. If you’re not familiar with the word tripartite it means, consisting of three parts. Dan makes this prevalent in his two pieces displayed. In addition, his use of layering is truly impressive. There’s an exposed vulnerability masked under the surface of colorful shapes and lines that dares you to dig deeper.
Aggie Wszolkowska hails from Poland. A country so immersed in art, that during WWII it went through great lengths to protect its artistic treasures storing them in allied nations. Emigrating to the US during her teenage years, she gained her BFA at Rutgers majoring in painting and minoring in Anthropology. Later, she went on to receive her Masters at Seton Hall University. In this exhibit Aggie has two pieces both labeled Untitled. As the only artist in this exhibit to have her work featured on wood, she brings a unique element. A wood panel is sturdier than a canvas, allowing Aggie to paint as soft or rough as she wants without worrying about her piece buckling or cracking. Aggie also explores painting in Braille by interpreting its visual codes. It’s quite touching.
Although she’s not related to Karl (well, not that we know of), Susan Marx is quite the philosopher. When it comes to art her advice is, “Forget about selling, paint just to paint. Sales is…I mean its like gravy, but if you’re going to paint to sell that’s a commercial artist. You need to paint whats inside your soul.” As an abstract impressionist, Susan has one feature in this exhibit titled Color Song. Susan’s inspiration behind this piece is, “The color themselves inspired me. If I put down one stroke – oh what would go next to that. And then it sort of like develops. And I put the cool next to the warm, and it almost looks like a flower. But its not a flower.” Painting since the age of four, Susan obtained her BFA at Boston University. Susan filled the event with her energetic and hilarious spirit. Susan’s life advice for artists is,“They say you need a good ten years, after college till you find out who you are. So you’re not painting what they teach you.”
Hip hip gourds-yay! OH MY GOURD that was so corny, butgourds are huge in the art world. So huge, there are enthusiasts who have amassed thousands throughout the years. Gourds serve as a multipurpose entity with lots of colors and patterns. This is what drew Benedetta Balsimelli to them. Similar to the versatile gourds, Benedetta has one impressive resume. She received aPhD in History of Art with a concentration in Theory of Conservation at University of Siena, Italy. She’s discussed her thesis with Professor Marco Ciatti, a global leader in the field of art restoration. She’s worked at an Art Museum & Paleontological Museum in Montevarchi Italy. As well as, interned for the Guggenheim Museum and the Fine Arts Conservation Group in Chelsea. Still not impressed? Benedetta started painting with watercolors only four years ago! As a newbie Benedetta says, “It’s never too late and [she] always advises to take classes because its the foundation of everything. You learn so much and you can use the techniques you have and play with them.” Her pieces in this exhibit are titled Studio #1 and Studio #2.
What do Henri Matisse and an old oak tree in Basking Ridge have in common? They were Martha Kelshaw’s inspiration for her current piece, Inspired by Historic White Oak. Martha recalls, “…recently, we have this great old oak tree in Basking Ridge, NJ out my way in Somerset County. It goes back to George Washington times. And the poor tree is in this graveyard and its roots are coming up and it’s actually dead. And they are going to be taking it down.” And like Matisse, Martha’s piece is not afraid of color. In fact, her piece grasps onto color and portrays the life of the 600-year-old tree. Martha explains, “[Her] art works content-emphasis is on figures set within complex social situations and physical environments.” She is the Manager of Public Relations at the Montclair Art Museum. She’s earned her BFA at The Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA at Montclair State.
2016 was the year of politics! Regardless of which side you supported it was a truly chaotic year. We haven’t seen anything this crazy since…well never! Thus came the inspiration for Nanci Iovino’s latest piece in the exhibit. Taking twelve hours to complete, Nanci recounts, “Well, the lion is called stressed, and it had a lot to do with the election process cause that was really stressful. And the horse is coexists – It’s after the election and all the events that we going on with immigrants and things like that. They are recent pieces, definitely felt from my heart.” Upon observation, the movement in each piece says it all. The lion is loud, prideful and filled with strength and courage. While the horse navigates through this new normal seeking connections. Gaining a BFA from Syracuse, you can explore more of Nanci’s work on Etsy.
Etsy Shop: SpiritanimalsbyNanci
Before Pinterest was known as the holy grail of digital collages, most people constructed them by hand. Enter Peg Kenselaar’s collage titled The Village. Once your eyes lock onto it, you’ll be hypnotized by the liveliness. The shapes, colors and patterns are assembled in such a way, that bare resemblance to a village. Also inspired by Matisse, the spirit of this collage is conversational. The technique of cutting paper and objects is often under appreciated. Many people never experience the true merit that comes from a single cut. Its about precision and knowing where to cease. The materials used to create this piece were all donated, recycled and repurposed. Peg has been been an educator for over 20 years at MAM.
Upon laying eyes on Julian Tejera’s piece Study in Grey and Yellow, a flashback of the girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List appeared. Although, this piece isn’t parallel to that story in anyway. The primary color yellow, used in the portrait stands out just like the red coat did. The yellow illuminates a warmth in a stagnant world. Julian says, “[This] was actually just experimentation on, black and white and then with a little bit of color. I hired a model for a class, and then paid her for an extra hour of photoshoots and drawing. So it was one of several experiments that came out of that.” His second piece After A Long Dayis a bit more personal. Julian explains, “So, the one of the woman reclining is my mother. So its just the scenes that I see almost everyday, just kind of walking up the stairs, with her dog. She was just resting after work and the light was really nice and it was – that relationship between her and her pet. They’re always together.” Julian received his BFA at Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and an MFA at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. When it comes to struggling artists, Julian gives sound advice, “Because I had a heard time learning how to paint and all that. I definitely recognize that struggle. So what was told to me was advice by an illustrator Greg Manchess, who basically said, ‘Just draw all the time. Draw when you want to draw and especially draw when you don’t want to draw. Because there is no such thing as talent, its all about hard work. So the more you give the better your work becomes and the art returns as well.’”
Dowsing is so controversial, Solving History dedicated an episode to it. Dowsing is the method of locating water, metal, gems etc. using a Y or L shaped twig or rod. Its a pastime and the inspiration for Elizabeth Seaton’s latest work Dowsing. She recalls, “When I was a child, I saw my grandparents dowsing for water with a fork stick. And you sense something like a tug underground. When I was eight, and I thought that couldn’t possibly work. But when I tried it, I felt it too! An then they drill down and there was water under there. So for me its kind of a symbol for looking for something deep of sensing it.” The beauty in art is the education you acquire through each piece. Elizabeth received her BA in Fine Arts and Anthropology from Rutgers and her MFA at Vermont College, Norwich University. In her artist statement, she expresses, “The faceless women actively pursue highly symbolic missions and projects of their own – like dowsing for water, a life-giving source that is buried deep.”
Lisa G. Westheimer likes to play with fire! Not only does she play with fire, she teaches alternate firing techniques such as raku and saggar at The Covent of Sacred Heart School in Manhattan. If you’re unfamiliar with this, take a look for yourself…
Walking into the basement of the Bloomfield Civic Center on Saturday, February 11th at around two o’clock that afternoon, I felt somewhat like a ghost. The elevator I had just stepped off of made a loud “Ding!” noise, and my flamboyant choice of footwear stuck out like a sore thumb against my neutral colored apparel. However, no one seemed to notice me. Something else in that room had grabbed their attention so tightly, had filled their eyes with looks of such enjoyment, excitement, and pure enchantment so – as it had seemed at moments – effortlessly, that almost nothing could possibly break their gaze of the impeccable group of talents that stood before them: Dr. Dubious and the Agnostics. Comprised of Tom Duncan (Doctor Dubious), Bart Bartholomew, Karen Bartholomew, Dick Dreiwitz, Barbara Dreiwitz, Dave Brown, and Monroe Quinn, this New York City jazz group has been performing their magic since 1998, and the recent commencement of the new year did not stop them from bringing on yet another powerful performance, and one of the best musical shows I have ever experienced, that Saturday afternoon.
A Concert of Jazz Resuscitation
The spirited sounds produced from the number of instruments on the stage that afternoon seemed to be at a jazzy war with one another, the clarinet at one point taking the spotlight, the piano creating mesmerizing melodies for the audience to fall weak to. It all somehow, however, seemed to blend together and form the kind of show that people hope to experience when attending a jazz concert: a show full of history, harmony, and heart. Doctor Dubious at one point joked with the crowd saying, “We are much older than all of you.” That got a laugh out of the audience members there that day, but there was certainly a much deeper meaning to what the clarinet player was trying to say. Jazz has been around for nearly one hundred years. With all of the new pop and mainstream music constantly being played around the country, jazz has somewhat died out and has even been forgotten by some. One can see why Dr. Dubious and the Agnostics are such inspirations to so many people. Regardless of the genres taking center stage in the world of music, this jazz group does not fail to bring the music they are passionate about to life each time they play. They proved that to the attendees of their concert on February 11, and their music playing did jazz justice. If any band can rekindle the fire in America’s heart about the beauty of jazz music, Dr. Dubious and the Agnostics are the ones to call.
This amazing concert held at the Bloomfield Civic Center just goes to show well Bloomfield knows how to show its citizens a wonderful time. From the music, to the restaurants, to the educational events planned for children – is there anything this township can’t do?
It’s 2017 and New Jersey has some ‘bigly’ news! In fact, its actually ‘yuuuuuuuuge’ news for those living in Nutley or Clifton. Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health will be opening the New School of Medicine.
This is officially the first private medical school operated in New Jersey for the last 50 years. It is the fifth medical school in the state and will be the only private, non-profit medical school.
No, this is not fake news! This is the real deal and we have the facts to prove it.
Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health signed a 25-year-lease agreement for the former 16-acre campus of the Hoffmann-La Roche biomedical facility with PB Nutclifl LLC. This is an affiliate of Bloomfield-based Prism Capital Partners LLC, who acquired the property on July 13, 2016. The majority of the property is located in the Township of Nutley.
There are no losers here as negotiations include two new state of the art buildings. The first being the New School of Medicine by Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall. An the second is the College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences, which is relocating to this area from the original South Orange campus. Many are looking forward to the National Health Institute-Designed Clinical Research Center, which will help serve as a research and discovery center.
So what does this all mean? Well, lets take a look at some reactions to this new development project.
Seton Hall – Excited to provide more than 1500 students with the opportunity to gain new knowledge in state of the art facilities and improve healthcare for years to come.
According to the Founding Dean of the new School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, Bonita Staton. “We’re going to make a big impact on the healthcare of the United States. ”We’re gonna start with the impact on the healthcare of the people that are in New Jersey, that are in the area were serving.” She also states, “We will be educators. We will be researchers. And we will be giving top quality care.”
Students from the medicine, nursing, occupational and physical therapy fields will benefit tremendously in the newly designed state of the art schools. Seton Hall is proud to provide students with the new facilities to improve patient care as it is one of the most important priorities. Students will be able to be engaged in a hands-on approach through operating tables and simulation labs as World-class surgeons are expected to be onsite.
Seton Hall is excited to attract the brightest minds to the field of medicine in New Jersey. This will add to a shortage in physicians that New Jersey and the US currently face. These new facilities are ready for the next generation to improve and pursue their career in the medical field.
Nutley’s Mayor – Thrilled for improving the community and enthusiastic about the future.
Nutley’s Mayor and Commissioner of Public Works, Joseph Scarpelli, issued the statement, “The Board of Commissioners and our residents are enthusiastic about the future of the site and anticipate the new medical school will be a catalyst for continued positive changes in our community. We expect as Prism begins the improvements and repurposing of the property, there will be a boost to our local economy and provide an opportunity for quality employment prospects for our residents. It is indeed an incredible honor to be mayor at this exciting time in Nutley’s history,”
Hopefully, with the addition of the Medical Facility, the other buildings can be rented by corporate tenants, thereby, returning much- needed ratables to the Township.
Residents – Mixed reactions
The majority of residents are excited for the New School of Medicine, as they agree it is a great fit. They are thrilled the currently vacant former pharmaceutical facilities are being turned into a medical school instead of shopping malls. They are no longer nervous about a large increase to their property taxes had the campus remained empty for too many years. Others may have a bit of a hard time welcoming the higher density and new traffic.
Real Estate – Celebrations all around
‘New Urbanist’ is the term for the future property, which will be a mixed site of living, working and playing. The real estate development firm Prism Capital Partners is confident that they will be able to attract corporate and research users to the new location, while uncompromising quality.
In addition, Prism is marketing three additional, existing office buildings. These buildings totaling more than 700,000 square feet, and are build-to-suit lease and development sites. Prism has attracted noteworthy companies and is continuing to negotiating agreements with users for additional leases on site
Local Realtors® are optimistic that the ‘overflowing’ demand of housing needs will boost the local real estate market.
The Nutley and Seton Hall communities are running on adrenaline, as this news is a great sign of things to come! Some might even say New Jerseyans are… #Winning!
Currently, plans are still being drafted, and more details will be provided in the future; so check back for updates.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is proud to announce that Team Ellenbogen, comprised of Alan Ellenbogen and Nancy Oppenheimer-Ellenbogen who are Sales Associates with their affiliate New Jersey Properties, has achieved the 2016 Annual Chairman’s Circle – Gold Award. This award is given to individual sales professionals that have achieved an outstanding sales record.
Alan Ellenbogen has also been awarded the NJ REALTORS® Circle of Excellence Sales Award, 2016-Gold. Previously, from 2013 – 2015, he was awarded the Silver Award.
Alan, the “listing” side of the team, has been a realtor for more than 8 years. With more than 35 years of experience in sales and marketing, Alan is an expert negotiator. An ex-New Yorker, he and Nancy have been Montclair residents for 17 years. When he’s not busy arranging photo shoots for listings or negotiating home inspection issues, this tennis enthusiast can swing a mean racket!
Nancy, the “buying” side of the team, has been a realtor for more than 5 years. She has the ABR and SFR designations and is a member of the Association of Staging Professionals. Nancy can attribute her keen understanding of the market to 25 years of experience in outside sales, during which she demonstrated her talent and passion for advertising. When she’s not connecting clients with perfect homes, Nancy enjoys the equestrian arts.
Alan and Nancy are not your typical agents. They combine their passion for marketing and sales with fresh and innovative technology to make you RE-Think everything you thought you knew about Real Estate. They believe that it is not price alone that sells a home. It is also how you present and market that home, starting from the beginning of preparing it for market up until you list it. By creating an overall Visual Marketing Campaign, Team Ellenbogen is able to get exceptional buyer interest that results in increased buyer activity that then equates to selling quickly for the highest price possible. The effectiveness of their approach to Re-Think Real Estate is evidenced by the level of achievement they have reached this year.
Bloomfield Township’s Recreation Department truly went all out creating a lively and exciting children’s holiday experience on Saturday, December 10 from 12 noon to 3 at the Civic Center on 84 Broad Street. The young boys and girls entered the building with great joy and enthusiasm as they feasted their eyes on quite the jolly and friendly Santa Claus, as well as all the creative and well thought out Christmas decorations constructed by the Recreation Department. Bloomfield’s Children’s Holiday Program was definitely a success.
There truly was never a dull moment at the Civic Center that day. The children eagerly had their pictures with Santa taken and a mailbox was placed near one of the shimmering Christmas trees so they could drop off their letters to Santa. The youngsters munched on delicious goodies and sipped on the sweetest beverages as holiday movies were being played on a wide television screen for their entertainment. Face painting and arts-and-crafts were also available much to the young one’s delight. Many of them seemed very excited about the activities; the children of Bloomfield are quite the artistic and creative bunch.
As if the amount of enjoyment that the Recreation Department had planned was insufficient, they also prepared the event so that the activities that the little ones took part in were carried out in the most organized and efficient way possible. An example of this occurred when the workers gave each guest a number that would be called when it was their turn to have their picture with Santa taken. This strategy of not having to wait in a long and boring line allowed the children to spend their time participating in fun activities while their peers were having their pictures taken. The accompanying adults were especially pleased with and appreciative of this act of consideration. They, too, seemed to be enjoying the festivities that the Bloomfield’s Recreation Department arranged.
Children are certainly not the only citizens of Bloomfield that have opportunities to be dazzled by the Township’s happenings and ideas. There are numerous events for all of residents to have a good time and to feel truly connected with members of the community. The Township of Bloomfield makes sure of that repeatedly by offering diverse activities and therefore, it has earned the reputation of being a very enjoyable place to live.
Lets go back in time and have some fun. Pretend you are 5 years old. No really, I’ll wait. Are you 5 yet? Perfect, now let’s play a game called I Spy. I’ll start. “I spy with my little eye…a beautiful autumn birch tree, a Tuscan pathway, Vermont cows, a harbor view and a ballet recital.” Can you find any of those items? Of course not silly!
In order for that to happen, you would’ve had to attend, “Works” by Gretchen Prater at The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties on Thursday, December 8th, 2016. It was a fantastic turnout with her artwork selling within the first thirty minutes.
While most five year olds were playing hide-and-seek, tag and jumping rope, Gretchen Prater honed in on her passion early. “I think I’ve been painting since I was five. And so you know, it just was an outlet for me. It was a safe place for me to go in my life. I just love to paint. I love to draw – you know the way children do. And I just stuck with it,” she expressed.
And stuck with it she did, as she is now a landscape and portrait artist. Gretchen received her BFA from Stephens College after years spent studying oil paintings, watercolor and pastels with art masters Charles Reid, Wolf Khan and Timothy Clark. As an on-location artist, Gretchen’s collection allowed us to tour Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Nantucket, Wyoming, Montana, France, and Italy.
When you look at Gretchen’s collection, you’ll notice something. Time slows down. Not only does it slow down but you start to reflect. You find yourself admiring the simplicity and beauty of nature. You’ll gain an understanding of the layers in the atmosphere that are tiny particles of matter. Her landscape paintings are so mesmerizing, it will make you want to put an Out of Office autoresponder email message up, in the hopes that you can jump into the pictures fora much needed vacation.
While asked about her inspiration, Gretchen mentioned her four children and nine grandchildren, “Anytime I see them, they just inspire me. I mean I’ve got a painting that I’m working on right now of one of my grandchildren, and I’m sure I’ll finish before Christmas. It just – they capture the spirit of childhood. The looking of the world from a different point of view. From all innocence and love.”
Situated between her two favorite paintings in the collection, she chose her daughter and grandkids.
Most of her portrait painting are of her relatives, but Gretchen is fully aware of her role in society today. “As an artist, you know right now with the things that are going on – especially you know in the East and what’s happening with the migrants. And there’s another little passion that I have… one of the things that I’m going to be doing is, hopefully starting a class for these children that are foster children to come once a month to the art museum of Montclair and give them an art class, so that they can feel better about themselves. So you know that would be something that I can give back.”
And while many of us gave up after the stick figure phase of drawing, Gretchen is living proof that dreams come true by taking her own advice. “Don’t give up. My passion is art. I think just to um not to give up. To try and find faith and hope in what [you’re] doing and to continue to move on. I know it’s not so easy but its – don’t give up and keep trying.”
You can find more of Gretchen Prater’s artwork at the Montclair Art Museum and EuroArt in Montclair, Silvermine Art School in Connecticut, Chase Bank in Manhattan, and the Rose Center in Morristown, Tennessee. And if you happened to miss this opening, no worries! Gretchen has another showing on January 11, 2017.