Watchung Arts Center Celebrates 40 Years

On Saturday, November 11, eighty supporters, including artists, musicians, elected officials and volunteers, gathered at the Watchung Arts Center to celebrate the Center’s 40th year of service to the Watchung community and the surrounding areas.
The elegant evening, Celebrating the Arts in Style for 40 Years, included a Menu of Festive Foods, a live performance, and a Delectable Dessert Table. Board President, Joan Plasner, welcomed Watchung Mayor Stephen Pote, former Mayor Al Ellis, and introduced the members of the Arts Center Board of Trustees as well as others who have contributed over the years to the workings of the Center. “This evening is such a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and thank the people on the performing, exhibiting, and teaching end of our organization, as well as those who currently and previously undertook the management of this special little gem of an Arts Center.”
The evening’s entertainment was provided by master pianist, Rio Clemente, known as the “Bishop of Jazz.” Mr. Clemente, accompanied by bassist Alex Gressel, led off the program with “Getting to Know You” followed by “The Brotherhood of Man.” The show also included a jazz arrangement of “Swan Lake” and a medley of tunes from “West Side Story”. A selection of patriotic songs, in honor of Veterans Day, was followed by Rio Clemente’s traditional closing song, “God Bless America”.
Founded in 1978, the Watchung Arts Center operates in a charming 150-year-old building which once served as the original schoolhouse for the village of Watchung. The nonprofit, volunteer-run Center excels in cultivating an eclectic mix of professional and emerging artists in the performing and visual arts. Quality works in fine arts, exciting music, and art classes for children are presented to enthusiastic audiences.
Appreciation of painting, photography, and music from classical to folk to jazz to coffee house, theater, and mind/body arts is fostered through classes, workshops, and performances. All are structured to especially catch and expand the interest of children and young people of all ages.
As The Watchung Arts Center looks to the future, members of the Board of Trustees hope to encourage new members and artists to step forward and participate in shows and classes. The leadership is dedicated to helping The Arts Center grow and prosper to fulfill its original purpose. The community continues to participate in programs and support the development of new activities. We hope to make Arts accessible and attainable to all in our community.
The Watchung Arts Center, located at 18 Stirling Road in Watchung on the Watchung Circle, is a multi-disciplinary arts facility serving Watchung, the surrounding communities and the Tri-State Area. To obtain more information about upcoming performances, classes and workshops, and monthly art exhibitions, please visit or call 908-753-0190.

(above) Master pianist, Rio Clemente, known as the “Bishop of Jazz.”     (Photo by Paul Pinkman)

(above) Watchung Arts Center Board President, Joan Plasner.     (Photo by Paul Pinkman)

WAC 40th year.     (Photo by Joe Higgins)