Arts & Culture Plan Open House

Drop In Session

December 13, 2022 / 5pm-8pm

APAC Open House

Asbury Park Arts Council is hosting an upcoming open public meeting for the Arts & Culture Plan.

The details:

Asbury Park Arts & Culture Plan
Tuesday, December 13th
5pm to 8pm (Come Any Time!)
Blackbird Commons-131 Atkins Avenue, Asbury Park, 07712

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.

Engagement / Input

We Need To Hear From You!

You can participate in shaping the Arts & Culture Plan by sharing you’re your thoughts, interests, perspective, and knowledge about Arts & Culture in Asbury Park.

Use one (or all) of the methods below to ensure the plan represents your needs and priorities.

1) Take The Survey

Let us know about you interests, experiences, and thoughts about Art & Culture.

Take The Survey

2) Talk To Us In Person

  • 15 SEP) Wooden Walls @ the Boardwalk Carousel: 6pm-10pm
  • 25 SEP) JT Bowen & Arlan Feiles @ The Turf Club: 3pm-5pm, 1200 Springwood Avenue
  • 08 OCT) Asbury Park Fall Fun Day: 1pm – 4pm, Sunset Park (b/w Main St & Bond Street)
  • 22 OCT) Asbury Park Community Festival: 11am-4pm, Springwood Park
...more to come

3) Start a Conversation

Use our message board below to see share your thoughts and interact with others about arts & culture in the city. We’ll also respond and contribute. Be honest but keep it respectful.

Pat Dunigan


Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Pat Dunigan. by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

I pulled up to Pat Dunigan’s studio on Locust Point Road at dusk to a bright, colorful magical little hideaway. The building has been owned by the same family for over a hundred years, it was built in the late 1800’s. Her studio, a portion of the building had once been the Locust Point Road Post Office, one of several post office locations serving the area of “Oceanic” (later to be named, “Rumson”). With the door open wide to the main road outside on a lovely, late summer night in a room filled with colorful, whimsical artwork practically spilling out door, we talked ART.

Tell me about your art background? Art School or Self-Taught?

I went to Skidmore to study languages but ended up taking more art classes than language. I also went to Parsons School of Design to create my portfolio needed to work in advertising. I have worked in advertising since I was 23 all over the world. Many years ago, while doing a lot of long plane travel, I started filling notebooks with collage designs made from pieces of colors torn from magazines. I made about a dozen books, got busy with life and put them away for 20 years.

What brought you to create the art that you make?

Several years ago, I went back to those collage notebooks. I pulled them out and started looking through them and thought, “These are pretty good!” They were the inspiration for my art. They inspired me to translate them into paintings. I also make 3D sculptural versions of some of the designs.

What is your process with your art making?

My work is all about color. For the work I do that is based on collage and graphic designs, I start with cut out pieces of colored paper torn from magazines. I’ll make dozens of collages and photograph them. Then I enlarge them and they become the models for my paintings. These paintings are made with a more precise process of creating the hard lines and shapes. For my freeform and more recent work with flowers, I sometimes start with photos that I have taken of shapes – things I see on the streets of NYC or shapes I see in my garden. My process for making these paintings starts with a base color that is applied with large pieces of hard rubber (like a squeegee). I create several layers of different colors. I then start painting the shapes over them. I also work with oil sticks to add drawing elements to the shapes, which also adds texture to the painting. After all the base colors are applied and the flower is painted, the drawing happens – very fast and spontaneously. I’ll do a layer and then let it sit for a while before coming back with the
next layers.

What inspires you?

Color. Interesting shapes. Imperfect things. Years ago, I worked for many years with a film director in Australia, who was also a photographer and painter. We traveled all over the world, and I learned from him to really see things through an “artist’s eye”. To see connections between things, to notice colors, light and shapes in the most ordinary things.

If or when you get lost in an “art funk” (like writer’s block for artists), what helps you get back to creating?

If I don’t know what to do next on a collage-like painting, I get back to work on a flower painting. I switch back and forth between the two. Sometimes I jump to working with wood blocks to create 3D pieces and mobiles.

How do you think the community can better support their artists?

I would love to see landlords turn unused buildings into art studios.

You can find Pat’s work on her website: or on
Instagram: @patdunigan

The APin3 Film Challenge

The APin3 Film ChallengeThe Asbury Park Arts Council (APAC) is pleased to announce its first annual ‘APin3’, a three minute film challenge open to all local amateur filmmakers. Those who apply will be required to write, shoot and edit a short film about Asbury Park during a three-day period in October, utilizing a supplied theme, a specific line of dialogue and incorporating a designated location and prop. The top ten short films, as judged by a panel of independent creatives, will be screened at the House of Independents on Sunday, October 23rd. Thousands of dollars in prizes will be awarded to the top three films and one audience-choice winner.

“We know that there are filmmakers, their families and friends who enjoy the teamwork aspect of this type of challenge and this is a great way to showcase talent in our great little city,” said Mike Sodano, one of the founding members of APAC. “Making Asbury Park the focus of short films allows anyone to have a voice in how the city is perceived and keeps the artform on the street.” Sodano, and his partner Nancy Sabino, originally the created the ‘APin3’ concept in 2014 when they were owners of the Showroom Cinema on Cookman Avenue; they ran the challenge twice and were impressed with the variety and creativity of the entries. Sodano brought the idea with him to APAC, which was successful in attracting grant funding to help underwrite the project this year.

The online submission platform, Film Freeway, will be utilized for the challenge and applications can be found through APAC’s website: There is a $25 entry fee, but no one should feel that the cost is a barrier as there are discounts and sponsorships available to help with the entry fee. The actual filming timeframe will start at 6pm on Thursday, October 13th when filmmaker kits will be sent via email to all applicants and will end at 6pm on Sunday, October 16th, the time by which all films will need to be uploaded

Carrie Turner, Executive Director of APAC said, “It is our hope that there is participation from a wide range of individuals and organizations; Asbury is full of artists and characters alike and we expect to see that represented in the submissions. Since films can be shot on such widely available tools as your cell phone, almost anyone is able to take part in the challenge. APAC looks forward to growing AP in 3 to become an annual event that showcases the creative spirit that is found in every corner of our city.”

Start thinking about how you’d like to tell your story of Asbury Park and apply to be a part of this year’s APin3. Mark your calendar for this cinematic weekend in October.

Tickets for the premier screening on the 23rd will be available soon on the Film Freeway website – – and cost $5.

The Asbury Park Arts Council is a 501c3 group formed to advocate for and promote arts and culture initiatives in the city. For more information on APAC:

For Immediate Release – Contact: Nancy Sabino 201-207-9249

Asbury Pod

Asbury Pod Interview

Asbury Pod welcomed Carrie Turner and Jenn Hampton from the Asbury Park Arts Council, to talk about the new mural project that is underway at the historic Asbury Park Sewage Plant, and other projects coming this fall.

Shana LaBranche

Shana LaBranche


Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Shana LaBranche . by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

Shana LaBranche

I met Shana at a recent art opening at Over The Moon Art Studios where she and I had art on display.  As soon as I laid eyes on Shana and I saw her bright, friendly smile she drew me in.  She is one of those special humans who lights up a room with her energy and beautiful smile.  Shana is a Floridian who moved to Asbury Park ten years ago.  Listening to the story of how she came to Asbury Park was a series of events that sounds like divine intervention.

Tell me about your art background? Art School or Self-Taught? 

I come from a very big, creative family, I am one of eight children (#5 in the lineup) and out of my eight siblings, five of us have some type of artistic or creative ability.  My older brother, Hanson, who basically taught me everything I know was an artist, he passed away in 2012 at the age of 25 due to liver failure.

Most of what I know is self-taught except when I was younger I attended BAK Middle School of the Arts, for kids who had artistic capabilities.  I had to audition to get in, but that school was the foundation.  I explored sketching, printmaking, mobiles, clay art, different styles of art like the grid method, stippling, hatching and the list goes on.  We were encouraged to create and to carry a sketchbook with us at all times.  We were also critiqued by our teachers and peers.  I learned that art isn’t just one way or expressed the same and I thrived there.  I was encouraged to continue to the high school, but this was around the same time my brother was diagnosed with liver failure, I missed the chance to audition, but didn’t even care at that point.

What is your process with your art 

I usually start off with a sketch and an idea in my head of how I want the outcome to be, but I embrace mistakes.  Sometimes I’m painting and I do something that wasn’t in my head but it looks good so I keep it and use that “mistake” throughout the painting or take it with me in other paintings.

How did the quarantine/Covid-19 affect you as an artist? 

It actually inspired me.  Once we were all ordered to stay home all I had was my art and time.  It all started with my “Social Distancing” piece.  I painted the first of three paintings and I posted it on my Instagram story, which is only available for 24 hours.  I got so many compliments and comments from people saying they can relate to what I painted.  It inspired me how everyone could relate to how we were separate, yet connected.  That started my “Self Care Series”.  Covid affected my art in a positive way.   It gave me the momentum I needed.  Prior to Covid, I was so consumed with work and life and suddenly I was able to stop and create.

Tell me more about the “Self Care” series.  (These are the pieces on exhibit at Over The Moon Art Studios)

I was inspired by a digital artist (@morysetta) who created a digital picture of a girl on the moon that I saw on Instagram.  I decided to paint my version of a girl with a fro, homegirl in a bubble bath with a glass of wine in outer space, but also kept it “dark” because it was such a dark time.  I reached out to Morysetta to tell her she had inspired me and asked if it was ok to post my painting.  She wanted to see it and then she said, “Yeah, go ahead!”  People really liked it, so I continued on making more of them.

*How do you think the community can better support their artists?

More help with the business end of being an artist, as well as, opportunities to network with other artists, where we can share ideas.

*What would you like to see happen in the Monmouth County art community?

Artist to Artist Mentorships.  Having an established, professional artist mentor me so that someday when I am more established, I can “Pay it Forward” and mentor an up and coming artist who needs help.

You can view Shana’s work in-person at Over The Moon Art Studios at 808 Springwood Avenue in Asbury Park or visit her website:
Instagram: @shana_thee_creative  Tiktok: shana_thee_creative  Facebook: shana_thee_creative

Shana LaBranche

Free Pop Up Performance at the Carousel building

Asbury Park Dance Festival In association with Wooden Walls Project presents a free pop up performance and talk.

Saturday, August 13th at 5:30 PM
Free Pop Up Performance at the Carousel building At the Carousel Building on the Asbury Park Boardwalk

    • Excerpts from a new work by APDF co-founder Laura Halzak
    • Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater
    • Martha Graham Dance Company Alum: Blakeley White-McGuire
    • Current and former Paul Taylor dancers:Kristin Draucker & Michael Trusnovec
    • Dance Therapy presents Hasseim Bey

Sunday August 14th 4pm

A Conversation with former Martha Graham Dance Company star and author Blakeley White-McGuire. Moderated by Kim Powers

A reading and conversation with Blakeley White-McGuire, former Martha Graham Dance Company star and author of The Martha Graham Dance Company: House of the Pelvic Truth.

Through a series of insightful interviews, this book illuminates the ongoing significance of Martha Graham and her eponymous collective. The conversation will be moderated by Emmy-winning producer and author Kim Powers.

Asbury Book Cooperative
644A Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park

Siren Arts: Salt

Siren Arts: SALT series of artist talks & performance July 11 – August 19, 2022

Transformer presents the 6th year of our Siren Arts program at the beach in Asbury Park, NJ, supporting 9 east coast based artists presenting innovative performance art works that celebrate the ocean and address themes of labor, climate change, and human & environmental interconnectedness.

Each artists’ five day beach residency includes public artist talks 6pm Wednesdays at Transparent Clinch Gallery, and performances 7pm Thursdays on the 2nd Avenue Beach.

All programs are presented free of charge; all are welcome to attend.