Art Advisory Committee Members Judge Millburn Film Festival Entries

For the tenth year, ACC Members served as part of the judging panel for the Millburn Film Fest. Since the festival’s inception, Committee members have been honored to view the films of Millburn High School and Middle School students and impressed with the talent and creativity of the entries. Congratulations to the winners, and to all who entered films this year.

Please see below for the official press release and click on the image to be taken to the Festival trailer:

The Millburn Education Foundation is pleased to announce the winning films of the upcoming 10th Annual Millburn Film Fest.  All of the winning films were created by Millburn School District students and chosen by the 2021 judging panel.  This year’s judges included eleven Millburn High School Alumni and past Millburn Film Fest participants.  They were joined by the members of the Millburn Arts Advisory Committee again this year.

For the first time ever, the films will be shown via a Drive In Event on May 21st at 8:00 PM in the Millburn High School parking lot. The 10th Annual event is made possible by Academy Award Sponsor and longtime Millburn Education Foundation supporter Simon Westfall-Kwong Real Estate Group of Keller Williams.  The film fest is also proud of its ten year partnership with the New York Film Academy.  Parking will be limited with a small amount of bring your own chair seating so all are encouraged to get tickets early at

The eight winning filmmakers range from 5th grade to 12th grade students. Their films explore a variety of subjects and filmmaking genres.  The winning films are The Alien, Clayception, Piano Man, Rachel Balkovec: Perseverance, Empowerment and Women in Baseball , Smash Team 1, Ternary, A Visitor and Who Killed Sarry.

  • The Alien, an animated film by Saneev Sandran, is about an alien who comes to Earth looking for intelligent human life but encounters a variety of environmental destruction. Will the alien befriend humans and call earth home?.  
  • An aspiring young filmmaker yearns to tell the story of a blue ball of clay in Carli Platt’s film Clayception.  But how will she find inspiration?  The ideas start flowing, but from where? Will there be a happy ending?  
  • Piano Man, a film by Griffin Talbert, delves into the end of Millburn Senior Kevin Han’s high school career.  Kevin is unmotivated by schoolwork and believes he is untalented compared to his other focussed, senior friends.  Alas, Kevin is totally unaware of his own unique gift.  
  • Gifts of the supernatural kind are showcased in Ternary, a film by senior Rachel Solomon about struggling, terminally ill musician Ryan Reznor, Ryan encounters an unlikely duo of nonconformists who are willing to offer him the help he desires but Ryan will have some difficult choices to make.  
  • Daniella Jacob’s documentary, Rachel Balkovec: Perseverance, Empowerment and Women in Baseball is a small glimpse into the journey and struggles of Yankees minor league hitting coach Rachel Balkovec. 
  • Daniel Lee’s personal documentary, Smash Team 1, highlights the antics of his Millburn Esports Smash team.  
  • Who Killed Sarry, is Daniel Lee’s other film which follows Zach and Danny’s dilemma after accidentally killing their friend’s salamander and their inability to own up to it. 
  • 5th grader, Jamie De Rosa created an animated film, A Visitor, that follows a lonely girl who gets a mysterious visitor. After tragedy strikes, she will never see her visitor again—or will she?

In addition, to the eight official selections, three films received honorable mention.  Smile by Will Berezin  Nature and Science by Smit Kapadia and Unfollowed by Alex Marx. 

Highlights of the 10th Annual Film Fest can be seen here in the official trailer.   MFF 10th Annual Trailer

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Introducing POINT OF ORIGIN MASTER ARTIST SERIES from the Millburn Short Hills Art Advisory Committee

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming Art Advisory Committee’s “Point of Origin Master Artist Series” at the Millburn Free Public Library. This program will present six months featuring artists with roots in Millburn offering their unique perspectives. 

The series kicks off with “Oscar Peterson: How Art Changed My Life” on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 from 7-8:30 pm. Learn more about the supremely talented Oscar and his works, and register for the event at the link below. 

(image credit: Oscar Peterson, Self Portrait)

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Art Advisory Scholarship Winners Volunteer to Brighten Business Windows in “Winter Windows 2020”

MSH Art Advisory Committee was asked to participate in a holiday window decorating project, “Winter Windows 2020” by Mayor Jackie Lieberberg and the Explore Millburn Short Hills Group.

AAC reached out to our AP Scholarship winners to see who had time to help. High school seniors Olivia Regan and Katherine Regan (2020 Junior Art Advisory AP Scholarship Winners) and Betty Zheng (2019 Senior Art Advisory AP Scholarship Winner) took the challenge.

The holiday decorations included window paintings as well as custom-designed posters.

For King’s Short Hills, Betty Zheng, now a Rutgers student, created 5-foot tall colorful snowflakes. She also designed a “snow people” poster.  Katie and Olivia Regan created custom posters. All these contributions can be seen in the front windows of King’s.

At Studio 1200 Architecture and Design Firm, Katie and Olivia Regan’s poster is on display.

At the Millburn Pet Shop, Katie and Olivia Regan painted snowflakes on the store’s windows.

The AAC included the Millburn Free Public Library and donated a Betty Zheng poster to the lobby.

Jerry’s Artist Outlet of West Orange provided expert advice on glass-friendly paint products and generously discounted products for producing the artworks. Print-Media of Springfield provided printing for the posters, and town residents Nick and Brenda Rizzo of Rizzo Fine Arts donated framing assistance as well.

This was a gratifying and festive experience for our artists. We wish all of Millburn-Short Hills Happy Holidays!

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Scholarship Winners Contribute to Town Beautification

Downtown Millburn has gotten more colorful in recent days with the addition of five utility box art wraps, all designed by Millburn High School AP Art Students. Katherine Regan and Olivia Regan, two of the Art Advisory Committee’s Scholarship winners this year, created three of the chosen designs gracing the town. Katie created “Butterflies” and “Downtown” and Olivia created “Colorful Kaleidoscope”.

The designs were submitted digitally then printed and installed by Designer Wraps.

Here are the artists, titles of artworks, and locations of the wrapped utility boxes:

Katherine Regan, “Butterflies”, Town Hall Plaza 

Katherine Regan, “Downtown”, Millburn Ave. & Spring St.

Olivia Regan, “Colorful Kaleidoscope”, Lot 1, corner of Essex St. & Main St.

Angela Huang “Mill and Squirrels”, Millburn Ave. & Douglas St.

Michelle Qiu, “Night Skyline”, Lot 5, by Dunkin Donuts

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AAC Presents Scholarship Prizes to Art Winners

Although the traditional Art Advisory Committee Scholarship Ceremony Gala was unable to be held this year, the committee still found a special way to honor the eight award-winning students. Chairwoman Laraine Brennan Barach and committee member Michelle San Filippo delivered gift bags with gift certificates, awards and treats door to door to the homes of the five senior and three junior winners, as well as to HS AP art teacher, Kathleen Harte Gilsenan.

Generously contributing to the scholarships- for their 12th year- were the owners of Jerry’s Artists Outlet of West Orange, Allen and Bonnie Shefts. Their commitment to Millburn-Short Hills Art Advisory committee was able to continue with a donation of free art supplies and gift certificates in the backpack gift bags.

Kings Catering Manager Kim Sullivan also provided a selection of delightful treats for the winners to complete the gift bags.

The winners had previously received official award certificates and the committee thanks Mayor Lieberberg and Jess Alameda from the Millburn Township Clerk’s Office for signing, typing and mailing them to each winner.

The committee also thanks Millburn HS AP art teacher, Kathleen Harte Gilsenan for hosting AAC portfolio review earlier this year. AAC Committee members Donna Davis, Amy McGovern, Victoria Plummer and Pamela Polifron reviewed all eligible portfolios at the Millburn High School shortly before the school district was closed due to coronavirus.

It is hoped the winning students’ artworks will be shown at the Millburn Free Public Library later this year, as it has in past years.

2020 Millburn-Short Hills Art Advisory Committee Scholarship Winners:

Jordyn Axelrod
Ishani Juneja
Gabrielle Stoller

Eden Elder
Olivia Regan
Katherine Regan
Isabella Ries
Betty Zheng




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Congratulations to AAC Winners from Dr. Miron

The Art Advisory Committee is pleased to share this letter from Dr. Miron, Millburn High School Principal, congratulating this year’s award winners.

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Art Advisory Committee Announces 2020 High School Art Scholarship Award Winners

The Millburn-Short Hills Art Advisory committee is proud to announce its 2020 Art scholarship awards. Now in its 15th year, the program honors outstanding Millburn High School Senior and Junior AP Art students. This year, eight students were chosen for the honors.

The committee views every AP junior and seniors student’s portfolio and selects those that contain not only impressive individual pieces, but demonstrate an overall progression and high achievement. Winners are encouraged to remember their artistic roots in Millburn Township and previous winners return to share their stories and receive continued support from the committee.

Congratulations to all winners!  Click on artworks to enlarge.


Top Award: Jordyn Axelrod, Ishani Juneja


Award of Merit:  Eden Elder, Gabrielle Stoller 

Honorable Mention: Betty Zheng


Award of Merit:  Olivia Regan

Honorable Mention:  Isabella Ries, Katherine Regan

All future scholarship plans will be announced in the weeks to come.

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21st Annual Landmarks Show at the Millburn Library

The Art Advisory Committee’s 2019 “Landmarks” show opened at the Millburn Library on October 3rd, providing a fantastic view into the world of Millburn-Short Hills art, current and past.

Fourteen artists display their works, in media ranging from glass to steel, watercolor to oil, photography to printmaking. Many of the pieces are current works created by AAC artists and mentors. They are complemented by pieces from guest artists and those selected from the township’s vast permanent collection, which has been carefully archived and maintained by the committee. The show was curated by AAC Chair, Laraine Brennan Barach.  Enjoy the show through October 30 and come by to see the following artists’ work on display during library hours.

Art Advisory Members/Artists:

  • Erin Barach
  • Donna Davis
  • Kathi Hecht
  • Maren Less
  • Amy McGovern
  • Oscar Peterson

Guest Artists:

  • Perry Gittelson
  • Ben Rizzo
  • Laura San Filippo
  • Lenny Shapiro
  • Linda Wamsley

Permanent Collection:

  • Ann Michaels
  • Jorgenson

Millburn-Short Hills Art Advisory Committee presents: ”Landmarks”
Millburn Free Public Library
200 Glen Avenue
Millburn, NJ 07041


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AAC Joins Millwheel Display

The Millburn-Short Hills Art Advisory Committee was one of 24 local committees to display a decorated millwheel in the inaugural “Millwheels Rolling into Millburn” Festival. Held in Taylor Park on a glorious Saturday afternoon, the event attracted an energetic crowd.  Entertainment was provided by various groups on stage, while attendees could wander around the millwheels and learn more about township committees as well as local businesses.  The event was centered around celebrating diversity and the arts in the township.

Michelle San Filippo and Victoria Plummer, members from Art Advisory, were on hand with Artist Nena Jindal, who decorated the millwheel. Here they and Nina’s daughter admire the wheel from Art Advisory.


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Gala Event Honors AAC Scholarship Winners

The 14th Annual Art Advisory Committee Art Scholarship Awards were celebrated at the Millburn Library on May 21, 2019. This gala event began with the artworks on display in the library gallery, proceeded to a catered dinner, and culminated in the distribution of awards to the winning Millburn High School art students.

The 13 Seniors and Juniors were awarded gift certificates, art supplies, and other gifts. The evening also included two short films. The first honored Kathleen Harte Gilsenan, MHS AP Art Instructor, who has been an integral part of the scholarship program. She also received the Kruger Rhodes award at the Millburn Film Festival this year, and the tribute video created by Alex DeRosa from that event was shown. A short animated video, “All Together, Life is Beautiful”,  by previous Scholarship award winner Morgan Gruer was also screened.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the awards by AAC Chair Laraine Brennan Barach. In her speech, she lauded the students for their talent and hard work, and encouraged them as the move on from Millburn. “Life is also a canvas. Fill it with what you love and your art will flourish!”

The AAC thanks Mary Weber and Kathleen Harte Gilsenan of the MHS Art Department, Michael Banick and the entire staff at the Millburn Free Public Library, Allen and Bonnie Shefts of Jerry’s Artist Outlet, John Matarazo of Jalm Short Hills, Nick and Brenda Rizzo of Nicholas Rizzo Fine Arts, Cathy Scorcese Productions, Print Media, Millburn Camera, Kings Catering, Stephanie Murphy of Greenwood Gardens, The Millburn Short Hills Historical Society, Janis Werner for technical assistance, Jon Sym for publicity, Laura San Fillippo for photography, and Rich Galiano, piano player.

The artworks will remain on display in the library gallery through May 28, 2019.

Photography by Laura San Fillippo. Additional photography Steve Barach and Victoria Plummer.

Please click on any photo to start slideshow

Video “All Together, Life is Beautiful” by Morgan Gruer follows photos


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