About APAC

We are a 501(c) 3 nonprofit established under the guiding premise that the arts have been, and will continue to be, critical to the economic health and development of our community.

The founding Board of Trustees consists of Jenn Hampton, Mike Sodano, Carrie Turner, and Paul McEvily. In 2021, Kathy Kelly and Bob Ellis joined the team. Together this group brings a deep knowledge of the local arts scene, community development, civic engagement and a belief that the arts are integral to Asbury Park’s identity and economy.

About That Other Group

The City of Asbury Park has a statutorily created Public Art Commission whose purpose is to foster the development of public art. This body, officially created in 2017 as a replacement of the City’s Mural Committee, is regulated via the Municipal Code and has established rules and powers.

The Asbury Park Arts Council is closely aligned with the Public Art Commission, even sharing several member currently, but as a separate 501©3 the Asbury Park Arts Council has the ability to raise and distribute private funding, giving us flexibility that the City does not have and making us a valuable partner in the promotion of arts initiatives.

Board of Directors

Bob Ellis

Bob Ellis is currently the Senior VP of Legal for NextGen Healthcare, Inc. a leading international healthcare technology solutions provider handling the client side of all business. As the 9th employee of Clinitec International Inc., the start-up that ultimately became NextGen Healthcare, Bob was originally responsible for all operations, legal, HR and financial elements of the organization. Bob is a named contributor to numerous healthcare technology patents. Prior Clinitec/NextGen, Bob was a solo practitioner in NY/NJ specializing in disability rights.

An avid art collector, broom maker and fan of film, music and dance, Bob operates Long Fellow Deeds, Inc., a non-profit that creates local events that provides positive impact into the lives of strangers and the community and was the focus of the PBS documentary Here’s the Story: I Talk to Strangers. Bob’s home was featured in the 2019 Monmouth Arts Roaming ArtHouse tour. Bob also founded and operates the annual Asbury Park Merchant and Friends Friendsgiving event.

Bob brings his legal background, community-building skills and art enthusiasm to help the group keep the arts and cultural a vital component of the city for the benefit of its residents, merchants and visitors.

Jenn Hampton

Vice President

Jenn Hampton is an arts and experience curator who along with partner, Jill Ricci, owns the Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park. Jenn was also the driving force of Little Death Collective, the creative team that called the original Asbury Lanes home and she has curated shows regionally and globally for other innovative galleries and museums.

Working with Asbury Park’s boardwalk developer, Madison Marquette, Jenn created the iconic public art program known as the Wooden Walls Project that showcases murals and sculptural art on the boardwalk. Wooden Walls has facilitated the creation of 61 murals and 8 unique projects by nationally and internationally respected artists.

Hampton is a member of the City’s Public Art Commission and Business Committee and is a founding member of the Asbury Park Arts Council. She works closely with artists, arts focused organizations, government officials, community stakeholders, arts patrons and developers. Her vision and creativity as well as dedication to keeping the arts alive and thriving in Asbury Park are the guiding forces of the work of the Asbury Park Arts Council.

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly is the owner of Paranormal Bookstore and Museum in Asbury Park and founder KrampusAP and the Asbury Park Tour Company.

Kathy opened Paranormal Book & Curiosities in 2008 and The Paranormal Museum soon after to share her love of the strange and unusual with others.  A gifted storyteller, Kathy has a Master’s degree in history and find that the two go hand in hand.  Her lectures are intriguing and entertaining as well as illuminating and unique.

Kathy is the co-founder of Asbury Park Dinner Table and the head of the City’s Business Committee, working closely with city officials and local businesses on solving collective issues. Her indefatigable drive to promote Asbury Park’s business and creative community is in natural alignment with the mission of the Asbury Park Arts Council and only recently stepped down as the head of the City of Asbury Park’s Business Committee which works closely with officials and local businesses on collective issues.

Paul McEvily

Paul McEvily is the Executive Director of Asbury Park-based Interfaith Neighbors, Inc. (IFN), with oversight responsibility for enterprise-wide operations as well as the strategic direction for the community-based, not-for-profit that provides services to the less fortunate throughout Monmouth County. IFN focuses on community and economic development initiatives, development of affordable housing for the benefit of low-to-moderate income households, and the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods.

Formerly employed by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Paul held various executive-level positions during the course of a twenty-three year career. He is member of a variety of community/civic focused organizations including: the New Jersey Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Task Force; Executive Committee of the Monmouth County Homeless Systems Collaborative; Board of Trustees of the Mary Owen Borden Foundation; and Board of Trustees of Second Life Bikes, Inc.

Paul’s keen understanding of all aspects of the non-profit world ensures that the Asbury Park Arts Council has in house expertise guiding their path. He has been instrumental in helping take the founders’ original idea for an arts council to present day status as an operating 501c3.

Michael Sodano

Board President

Michael Sodano is Chief Storyteller and Podcaster of ARTSRULE.com, an initiative dedicated to the examination of thriving arts communities. From 2009 to 2020 Sodano, along with partner Nancy Sabino, founded ShowRoom Cinemas – with movie theater locations in Asbury Park and Bradley Beach. Over the last 10 years, ShowRoom Cinemas grew in reputation to become the epicenter of independent film exhibition on the Jersey shore.

A professional filmmaker and videographer, Sodano produced two feature film documentaries, “Greetings From the Parking Lot” and the award-winning “Rock and a Heart Place” as well as many short video features for the city he calls home. With the new podcast, he continues to work on short story productions.

One of the founding members of the Asbury Park Arts Council, Mike applies his considerable creative and business experience to elevate the arts as a driving economic and civic benefit.

Carrie Turner

Executive Director & Board Secretary

Carrie Turner became APAC’s Executive Director in late May 2022 after serving as Board President since the group’s inception. Turner was the Director of Planning & Real Estate at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey most immediately before assuming the Executive Director position. Prior to Rowan, she worked for Madison Marquette as the General Manager of the Asbury Park Boardwalk, where she handled tenant relations and acted as the developer’s liaison with the city and community on redevelopment matters. During her seven summers managing the boardwalk, she was also a Trustee of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and a member of the municipal Parking Committee.

Before moving to Asbury Park, where she still resides, Carrie both lived and worked in Camden, New Jersey. Her career started as a grant writer for an affordable housing non-profit and she later served as the Assistant Director of the Camden Redevelopment Agency during a period of state control and intense focus on the city’s recovery. Turner has worked closely with community stakeholders, developers, and all levels of government throughout her 20+ year career.

Turner is a lover of art and creativity, even going so far as to book far-off travel simply to see a specific painting or attend a performance. She is committed to using her community development background to assist the Asbury Park Arts Council in keeping arts and culture present in the minds of the city’s decision makers.