Art That Inspires: Art Center Faculty Respond to Hurricane Sandy

Two faculty members at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit responded to Hurricane Sandy through their work.

“Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” — Stephen Sondheim

While it was last fall, we thought it shouldn’t go unnoticed that two of our Art Center faculty members were busy putting their artistic talents to good use.

Long-time digital photography instructor, Bill Blanchard, visited Seaside Heights last season in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Collaborating with local authorities, he captured powerful images of the storm damage to the historic boardwalk and surrounding neighborhood and shared those images with us.

With more than 20 years of photographic experience, Bill’s talents have been called upon by such companies as: Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs, Rutgers University, PSE&G, and The Make A Wish Foundation, among others. More of his work can be viewed on his website: www.billblanchardphoto.com.

Ceramics instructor Peter Syak decided that this year his popular annual commemorative holiday tile would feature “Old Barney,” a New Jersey historic landmark and 153-year-old lighthouse that had weathered the storm unharmed. As he saw it, the structure stood as a testament to the enduring tenacity of the people of this region and a beacon of our eventual recovery. The proceeds on the sale of the hand-made tiles are split between Mary Pat Christie's Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. Both funds give 100% of the contributions they receive to Sandy victims.

While managing his own ceramic studio and gallery “Artifacts by Design” in Bloomfield, Peter Syak is also a ceramics instructor at the Art Center and a graduate of Case Western Reserve Univ; Cleveland Institute of Art. He has also exhibited at the Eugenie Gallery, Scotch Plains; Ward-Nasse Gallery, NYC; Swain Galleries, and the New Jersey Potter’s Guild.

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