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If you love the arts, especially fine arts, there's no better place than Mercer County Mercer County is the name of several counties in the United States:
  • Mercer County, Illinois
  • Mercer County, Kentucky
  • Mercer County, Missouri
  • Mercer County, New Jersey
  • Mercer County, North Dakota
  • Mercer County, Ohio
  • Mercer County, Pennsylvania
. The County possesses a wealth of museums and art galleries, even if some of them are the state's and the community's best-kept secrets. Let's take a tour around the county and see what's happening in the art world.

Our first stop is Grounds for Sculpture Grounds For Sculpture is a 35-acre sculpture park and museum located in Hamilton, New Jersey, United States, on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. Founded in 1992 by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. , located on the site of the old New Jersey State Fairgrounds n. pl. 1. same as fairground.  in Hamilton. Whether you're traveling by rail on New Jersey Transit The New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) is a statewide public transportation system serving the state of New Jersey, and Orange and Rockland counties in New York. It operates bus, light rail, and commuter rail services throughout the state, notably connecting to major , by car on I-295 or on local roads to the Hamilton train station, it's impossible to miss the huge sculptures along the roadway leading to this unique and amazing site.

Founded in 1992 by J. Seward Johnson
  • John Seward Johnson I
  • John Seward Johnson II
 of the Johnson & Johnson family to promote appreciation for contemporary sculpture, Grounds has been a part of the local arts community for the past 16 years, even though portions of the 35-acre site look as if they've been there for decades.

More than 100,000 people visit Grounds each year to enjoy the museum's unique ambience, highlighted by its permanent outdoor collection that is displayed throughout the creatively landscaped site as well as indoor seasonal exhibitions. The museum's landscape continues to evolve each and every season, buoyed by the addition of new sculptures and landscape elements.

"There's nothing like it in the world," says Lynn DeClemente, Grounds' registrar. "There are other sculpture parks This is a list of well-known sculpture parks: Australia
  • National Gallery of Australia has a scuplture park from the gallery to the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.[1] One of the permanent exhibits in the park is a fern garden designed by Fiona Hall[2]
, but no other location merges landscape architecture and sculpture so well."

That blending of sculptures of different sizes and styles is an important part of its appeal.

"Some people come for the sculpture, some come for the history because it was part of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds, and some just for the feeling that they're part of this little wonderland," says DeClemente.

A visit to Grounds' website,, reveals a calendar chock full of events. In addition to the three indoor exhibition openings held throughout the year, highlights include the "Anniversary Arts Party," Grounds' birthday party held every June. Another popular seasonal event is "A Day at the Fair," an all-day event that pays homage to Grounds' New Jersey State Fairgrounds roots. The events staff is anything but complacent and continues to dream up fun new events each year, such as this past season's Summer Social, a 50s-inspired party with fifties music and ice cream. The museum also presents monthly concerts as well as a full menu of educational events.

"Obviously, education is intertwined with all of our all-day events, but there's also other educational events - children's workshops and adult workshops," explains DeClemente. "We're building a new educational space and we'll see much more educational programming taking place and more in-depth adult workshops."

Indoor exhibits running through April 2009 include the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award Exhibition presented by The International Sculpture Center, and pieces by Allan Houser Allan Houser ( June 29 1914 - August 221994) was one of the most renowned Native American painters and Modernist sculptors of the 20th century. Born of the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache tribe of Oklahoma, U.S.  and Michael Naranjo. A highlight of the 2008 season is a new outdoor installation created by Gloria Vanderbilt Gloria Laura Vanderbilt (born February 20, 1924 in New York City, New York) is an American artist, actress, and socialite most noted as an early developer of designer blue jeans. .

Next stop is the Princeton University Princeton University, at Princeton, N.J.; coeducational; chartered 1746, opened 1747, rechartered 1748, called the College of New Jersey until 1896. Schools and Research Facilities
 Art Museum, located smack dab in the middle of the Princeton University Campus in McCormick Hall. The museum was founded 125 years ago to exhibit a collection of pottery and porcelain and provide students with access to original works of art to complement their studies. The museum has since grown to include a collection of more than 68,000 objects from ancient to contemporary works of art.

"The Princeton University Art Museum has a superb, encyclopedic en·cy·clo·pe·dic  
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of an encyclopedia.

2. Embracing many subjects; comprehensive: "an ignorance almost as encyclopedic as his erudition" 
 collection from ancient to contemporary art," notes Caroline Harris, curator of education and academic programs for the Princeton University Art Museum. "Visitors interested in Greek vases, African masks, Japanese sculpture Japanese sculpture derived from Shinto funerary and Buddhist religious arts. Portrait sculpture was developed only as a memorial to a shrine patron or temple founder. Materials traditionally used were metal—especially bronze—and, more commonly, wood, often lacquered, , Chinese calligraphy calligraphy (kəlĭg`rəfē) [Gr.,=beautiful writing], skilled penmanship practiced as a fine art. See also inscription; paleography. European Calligraphy

In Europe two sorts of handwriting came into being very early.
, European and American works on paper, painting and sculpture, or the art of the last two decades will all find something on view for them. At the same time, the museum is not enormous. You can see all the galleries in one afternoon. But you will want to come back to take a closer look."

The museum's collection of Western European paintings encompasses works from the early Renaissance through the 19th century. Complementing those pieces is a collection of 20th century and contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Degas Degas
To release and vent gases. New building materials often give off gases and odors and the air should be well circulated to remove them.

Mentioned in: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
, and Calder among many others.

The museum prides itself in its collections of Chinese art Chinese art, works of art produced in the vast geographical region of China. It the oldest art in the world and has its origins in remote antiquity. (For the history of Chinese civilization, see China.  as well as pre-Columbian art Pre-Columbian Art is the art of Mexico, Central and South America in the time prior to the arrival of European colonizers in the 16th century.

Pre-Columbian art thrived over a wide timescale, from 1800 BC to AD 1500.
, focusing on the art of the Maya as well as African and Northwest Coast Indian Northwest Coast Indian

Any member of the North American Indian peoples inhabiting a narrow but rich belt of coastland and offshore islands from southeast Alaska to northwestern California.
 art. Not to be missed is the museum's collection of old master prints and drawings, along with a collection of original photographs. Special exhibitions, coordinated with the University's Department of Art and Archeology as well as other departments, highlight works from the permanent collection.

Visiting the museum for the first time? Harris has some suggestions of what not to miss.

"Our collection of Roman era mosaics from Antioch-on-the-Orontes are certainly a spectacular must-see," she says. "We also have some of the finest examples in the world of art of the Ancient Americas and Chinese calligraphy. In European painting, visitors should make a stop at Abraham Bloemaert's 'Four Evangelists.' Bloemaert is a Dutch Mannerist man·ner·ism  
1. A distinctive behavioral trait; an idiosyncrasy.

2. Exaggerated or affected style or habit, as in dress or speech. See Synonyms at affectation.

 and we have the best collection of that school in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ."

Another must-see is the American galleries where visitors will find Henry Benbridge's lovely late 18th century portrait of four generations of women in the Hartley Family.

"Of course, the iconic images from the collection are Claude Monet's 'Waterlilies' and 'Japanese Bridge,"' adds Harris. "Truly every gallery holds unexpected treasures."

Special exhibitions on view this fall include Jasper Johns Noun 1. Jasper Johns - United States artist and proponent of pop art (born in 1930)
: Light Bulb; Frank Gehry Frank Owen Gehry, CC (born Ephraim Owen Goldberg, February 28, 1929) is a Pritzker Prize winning architect based in Los Angeles, California.

His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions.
: On Line; and Felix Candela candela (kăndĕ`lə), in weights and measures: see candle.

A unit of measurement of the intensity of light. Part of the SI system of measurement, one candela (cd) is the monochromatic radiation of 540THz with a radiant intensity
: Engineer, Builder, Structural Artist. Opening in March is the exhibition "Outside In: Chinese + American + Contemporary+ Art."

For those interested in fine arts with a New Jersey flavor, check out the New Jersey State Museum on State Street in Trenton. Housed in a 1960s-era building, the museum recently reopened after an extensive renovation. It's free to the public, although donations are welcome.

Established by an act of the Legislature in 1885, the museum's collections originally derived from the geological surveys done in New Jersey in the 19th century

Main article: History of New Jersey
New Jersey in the Nineteenth Century led the United States into the Industrial Revolution. The state participated in the wars of the period but was not the location of a single major battle.
. Although its origins began with natural history, its collections have grown to encompass archeological/ethnology, cultural history, and fine arts, the latter established as a separate collection in the late 1960s. That collection focuses on 18th through 21st century New Jersey artists and New Jersey themes. The museum also offers exhibitions of contemporary New Jersey artists, many of who may not be in its permanent collection.

A current exhibition features the work of Toshiko Takaezu, an American ceramic sculptor from Quakertown.

Looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 diversity, the New Jersey State Museum has it.

"We have an extraordinary collection of works by the American modernists associated with Alfred Stieglitz who was born in Hoboken," says Margaret O'Reilly, director of fine arts.

The museum also has an extensive collection of works of the graphic artists Ben Shahn and Jacob Landau, works by women artists, and a collection of works by nationally based African-American artists. A highlight of the Fine Arts collection is works from the American Abstract Artists group that was first established in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 in the 1930s.

"We probably have the best collection of that work in a public museum in the country," says O'Reilly.

While the Princeton University Art Museum and the State Museum of New Jersey are terrific destinations for viewing permanent art collections, The College of New Jersey in Ewing, Rider University in Lawrenceville, and the Mariboe Gallery at the Peddie School in Hightstown offer residents an opportunity to experience something new, thanks to an ongoing series of changing exhibitions. All are free and open to the public.

Located in the Bart Luedeke Center, Rider's art gallery's mission is to develop and present a diverse range of high-quality exhibitions and lectures to the university and the public.

"These exhibitions and lectures provide students, faculty, and community members with important insights into the visual arts and the creative process," states Professor Harry Naar, the Gallery's director. "I see our gallery programs as an important venue and forum for integrating various disciplines, thus adding to the total education and development of our students and the community."

Exhibitions often include an artist's talk moderated by Naar. "This has become an important venue for the artist to interact with the public regarding personal ideas about creativity on how an artist thinks, influences, and desires," he says.

Naar has been involved with the gallery since 1980, when he joined the faculty.

"We have a beautiful space that people have come to recognize as an important exhibition space for not only local artists, but national and international artists," says Naar. "We're one of the few places around exhibiting contemporary art as opposed to collections or exhibitions that are more directed toward specific historical ideas."

The gallery presents two exhibitions each semester and usually ends the season with the Annual Student Art Exhibition in the spring.

Artists find the space and opportunity to exhibit at Rider unique. "I set up opportunities for artists to set up exhibitions that might be slightly different than what they would do in New York or in a commercial gallery because they sometimes have reputations for showing certain types of work or because they've had a lot of success with a given style," explains Naar.

For example, an exhibit might show the various stages a piece went through before reaching its final stage, or how a work was finally conceived. "This gives insights into the thinking of the artist and how that artist arrived at a particular work," says Naar. "You don't usually see that in a commercial gallery."

When visiting Rider, don't miss the sculptures by the late sculpture Isaac Witkin, which are located throughout the campus and on loan courtesy of his daughter.

The College of New Jersey Art Gallery, founded in the early 1960s, is located in Holman Hall on the campus of The College of New Jersey in Ewing. Annual exhibitions include the Art Faculty Exhibition, the Art Student Exhibition, and biennial juried exhibitions on drawing and printmaking printmaking

Art form consisting of the production of images, usually on paper but occasionally on fabric, parchment, plastic, or other support, by various techniques of multiplication, under the direct supervision of or by the hand of the artist.
. Two curated shows take place each academic year. Exhibits are sponsored by The College of New Jersey Department of Art and funded in part by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts The New Jersey State Council on the Arts was founded in 1966 to support artistic activities in the state of New Jersey. It is funded by the New Jersey State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). .

The Art Faculty Exhibition is always a popular event. "We're very proud of our faculty," notes Sarah Cunningham, director of the TCNJ TCNJ The College of New Jersey  Art Gallery. "We have an extraordinary, diverse and talented group, and it's always a very interesting show."

The current exhibit, running through Dec. 8, is titled "An Atlas," and is a traveling exhibition of artists working with radical cartography cartography: see map.
 or mapmaking

Art and science of representing a geographic area graphically, usually by means of a map or chart. Political, cultural, or other nongeographic features may be superimposed.
 - a practice that uses maps and mapping to promote social change. This unique exhibition will be followed by a retrospective of the works of Wendell Brookes, a retired TCNJ faculty member, and runs from Jan. 14 through Feb. 11.

Asked what makes the TCNJ gallery so special, Cunningham replies: "We've done a really good job of choosing art that is both accessible and challenging. It really invites you to think about the topic and learn new things, but at the same time, it's something you feel invited into."

For Cunningham, the student exhibition is always refreshing and fosters community outreach.

"It's a great way to share with the community what we're doing here at the college," she says. "It's one of our best attended exhibitions by community members as well."

If good things come in small packages, pay a visit to the final stop on our Mercer County arts tour, the Mariboe Gallery in the Swig Arts Center at the Peddie School in Hightstown. Despite its modest size, the gallery has displayed works of such artistic luminaries as Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethore and Ross Bleckner.

Upcoming exhibitions include "Playing with Light", photographs by Peddie physics professor Nick Guilbert and Jose Ruiz, Spanish coordinator of Peddie's foreign language department, running from Dec. 12 through Jan. 3; "Salon 'd Hightstown: Exploring the Invisible," a non-juried exhibit open to members of the local community, running from Jan. 9 through Jan. 23; and "Behind the Mask: Photographs of Cambodia," photographs by Barbara Bickford, running Jan. 30 through Feb. 18.

While the high-profile museums and art galleries in New York and Philadelphia offer a host of opportunities to enjoy the fine arts, in an uncertain economy, why not save gas and money by visiting the local museums and galleries conveniently located right here in our own back yard? After all, seeing is believing Seeing is believing is an idiom first recorded in this form in 1639 that means "only physical or concrete evidence is convincing".[1]

Seeing is Believing may refer to:
  • Seeing is Believing: Code Lyoko anime episode
 and inspiring, too.

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Author:Scott Cullen
Publication:Mercer Business
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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