Month: October 2022

City Seeks Views For Cultural, Arts Plan

The Coaster

Local weekly paper covers APAC's seeks your answers in a survey...

Link to Coaster Article

City Seeks Views For Cultural, Arts Plan

By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS - The Coaster - October 17, 2022

Can you feel Asbury Park’s artistic energy? Would you like that feeling to be stronger? Do you support the arts?

Here is your chance to express your views. The Asbury Park Arts Council is preparing an arts and cultural plan for the city, announced City Councilwoman Eileen Chapman. More information is available from the council’s website at On that site, the council is seeking answers to an anonymous 26- question survey about the status of the arts and potential future developments. Those who are interested – and the survey is open to those who are not city residents as well – may also speak to council members in person. The next listening session is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Asbury Park Community Festival at Springwood Park.

If taking the survey or speaking in person are not preferred, those interested in discussing the issue may also comment on the site’s message board.

The Arts Council currently is working on APin3 in which film makers write, shoot and edit a short three-minute film on Asbury Park during a three-day period this month. The premiere, which costs $5, is Oct. 23 on the site

The cultural arts plan is being funded by Monmouth Arts and Monmouth County’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program. Its mission, according to the arts council site, is to create a comprehensive arts and cultural plan for the city.

During the six-month planning process, the council will conduct an inventory of the existing cultural activities that help people access artistic offerings here. The four-pronged effort also calls for the identification of common visions and goals for artistic offerings, the evaluation of options and strategies for future artistic programming and completion of the plan for the city..

During the inventory, volunteers will categorize the people, organizations, places, venues, activities and other elements that add to what they call the city’s artistic ecosystem. The inventory would also include a comparison to what other cities have to offer.

To develop the vision and goals of the city’s artistic programming, the project will look at the strengths, shared priorities and opportunities to create and participate in artistic endeavors and establish goals for supporting a sustainable, resilient and inclusive cultural community. The final plan will seek to be a guide to arts here including the physical, programmatic and organization infrastructure to support the artistic endeavors here that would contribute to the city’s economic development, community cohesion and individual creativity encouraged by the arts.

The survey will include questions about artistic history, food, painting, theater, knitting, festivals, markets, museums, dominoes, drum circles, library, poetry, including the spoken word and where in the city arts seem to live for people, including Asbury Avenue, Memorial Drive, Springwood Avenue and Springwood Park, Sunset, Deal or Wesley lakes, the downtown, including Cookman, Lake and Mattison Avenues, Library Square Park and other areas.

The survey asks what keeps people away from accessing arts including whether art is cultural sensitivity and inclusive, whether there is child care, ADA provisions, language issues, scheduling and timing of artistic programming and other issues.

Powerful Arts and Culture Plan Moves Forward in Asbury Park


Local weekly paper covering regional news and events covers how a powerful arts and culture plan moves forward in Asbury Park, Independent Asbury Park Arts Council Leads The Initiative.

Powerful Arts and Culture Plan Moves Forward in Asbury Park

Independent Asbury Park Arts Council Leads The Initiative - TriCityNews Oct 6, 2022

ASBURY PARK — A group of some of the most effective arts and cultural leaders in the city are on the move with the creation of an Arts and Cul-ture plan for Asbury Park.

This plan has the potential to multiply the cultural power and draw of our city. Funded by a recent county grant, the Asbury Park Arts Council (APAC) — an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization — is now embarking on the collection of input for the plan.

This newspaper understands the value of this project. A detailed Arts and Culture Plan can lead to more grant awards. If formally adopted by the city, it becomes a guide for policy decisions, including zoning decisions. The plan can identify various underutilized assets and determine how the city can maximize their effectiveness for the arts. And the plan can as-sess and make recommendations for arts and culture activities in various parts of the city, which may have different needs to serve.

“The Asbury Park Arts Council (APAC) works to support, advocate and promote arts-centric initiatives, businesses and development,” states the group’s mission statement. “Our primary goal is to ensure the arts are considered in municipal policy-making via the creation and implemen-tation of an Arts and Culture plan within the Asbury Park Master Plan.”

Also noteworthy is who’s doing all this. APAC was founded just before the pandemic in 2019. Implementing the Arts and Culture Plan was al-ways their top priority, among other goals. Now the recent county grant of $200,000 — for the plan and other initiatives — is making it real.

Here’s the APAC board: Parlor Gallery owner Jenn Hampton, former Show-Room owner Mike Sodano, Paul McEvily from Interfaith Neighbors, Para-normal Books owner Kathy Kelly, attorney and arts activist Bob Ellis, and Carrie Turner, formerly the General Manager of Madison Marquette’s boardwalk project.
All these people are recognized for their effectiveness and vision. Also crucial to APAC was Michelle Gladden, who was the initial part-time Ex-ecutive Director and got the group launched with various initiatives and grant applications which came through.

(Visit for more information on the Arts and Cul-ture Plan and the organization’s other goals and programs. In fact, here’s a timely example of one of their other projects: the “AP in 3” challenge where content makers are challenged to make a three-minute video or film in three days about Asbury Park, with prizes over $3,000. That starts Oct. 13. Info at

Board member Carrie Turner is now also serving as the acting Executive Director. Turner recently left a job in South Jersey, so she’s got the time flexibility to put in a full-time effort as Executive Director, which is a game changer. Turner is recognized from her work at Madison Marquette as one of the most effective administrators in Asbury Park, respected throughout the city. She’s could easily serve as City Man-ager one day if that position ever came open.

Turner moved to the city over a decade ago in 2010 after visiting it twice. Before that, she had worked in Camden, first for a non-profit affordable housing organiza-tion and then in the city’s redevelopment office. She then worked in Asbury Park with Madison Marquette up until a very amicable parting three years ago. Now, she’s back in the city working full-time for the Asbury Park Arts Council as acting Executive Director.

“I love Asbury Park,” said Turner. “I love the variety, the creativity, the warmth of the people really. I like that all the vitality is in these 1.2 square miles.”
Another recognized talent local to Asbury Park — planner Eric Galipo, who grew up in the city — has been retained as the planning professional to lead the devel-opment of the Arts and Culture Plan. APAC also coordinates with the city on this project, with an ultimate goal of the Arts and Culture Plan officially adopted as part of the city’s master plan. That will give it legal standing.

As part of the current information gathering phase for the plan, APAC has a survey you can complete on its website. You’ll also finds dates APAC representatives will be available at public events to answer questions on the plan and take input.

As an independent non-profit organization — although one that works closely with the city — APAC has the flexibility to accept and distribute private funds for various programs.
The Arts and Culture Plan is its biggest commitment. But now with the $200,000 county grant, and other smaller grants, APAC has embarked on other arts-centric projects. Those activities include financial support for public mural projects, finan-cial support for the Inspire Life program that provides a fine arts and technology camp for city youth, and the AP in 3 film challenge. Another potential project is a regular schedule of artist around the city’s Civil War memorial, a little noticed but beautiful statue on a small piece of land on Cookman Avenue at Grand Avenue.

In the meantime, however, watch for that Arts and Culture Plan. That’s the big story here.