Sculpture “All Together Now” added to Taylor Park

The Millburn Short Hills Art Advisory Committee is proud to have been part of the process to bring the latest public art sculpture to the community. Working together with the township and the Cultural Engagement Diversity and Arts Committee (CEDA), the team narrowed the selection from the approximately 50 artists who submitted proposals to the town’’s open call for artists in June of 2020. Eight were selected to be semifinalists.  From these, Michael Cooper’s piece, All Together Now, was chosen.

Over the past few months, Mr Cooper has worked with the township on the installation of the sculpture in Taylor Park, on the Main Street side near the pond. The official unveiling was in a ceremony on Thursday August 12.

photo caption: Michelle San Filippo, AAC member; Michael Cooper, artist, and Jackie Lieberberg, former Mayor and President of CEDA cutting the ribbon at the event. Photo credit: Steven Barach

photo caption: Michael Cooper, artist, Laraine Brennan-Barach, AAC Chair, and Jackie Leiberberg, CEDA President and former mayor. Photo credit: Amy McGovern

photo caption: Laraine Brennan-Barach, AAC Chair and Jesse Moehlman, Assistant Business Administrator, Millburn Township. photo credit: Amy McGovern

Here is some more information about the artwork, from artist Michael Cooper:

“My goal was to achieve a worthy sculpture for the town of Millburn after learning about its history and considering the current time we live in. Its intention is to show that we are all connected. The piece is a counterpoint to society’s increasing divisions especially in this time of Covid-19 and political and cultural unrest. This piece is meant to be a visual reminder of the underlying connection and equality of all humankind in a way that makes people smile and be comforted by that connection. Connecting – human to human – and knowing we are all the same is key to a strong and resilient society regardless of challenges we face, now or in the future.  And what better place to celebrate this fundamental truth than in a park, Taylor Park, a place that all people can share. Taylor Park which was given to the town by Mrs. John (Gertrude) Taylor, is a perfect vehicle for drawing people together within the uplifting influence of nature. 

The figures in the sculpture are symbolic of all people: the different colors represent our respective individualities, but the identical shapes denote our equal membership in the human race. The figures are connected physically here, and represent a connection that is global, hence the round shape they stand on. This circle represents not only a millwheel shape but also represents timelessness and continuation. Millburn is a town of evolution, remembering its roots (represented by the millwheel) and mindful that it is people that have created its history and will continue to bring it forward into a harmonious future.

My hope is for the entire work to be welcoming and to give a positive feeling.” 

For more information about Michael Cooper, please visit his webpage:

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AAC Delivers Prizes to AP Art Students

The AAC recently delivered scholarship prize award packages to this year’s 12 winners. Included in the scholarship prize bags were items to recognize the students’ talent and hard work, as well as to inspire future creation as they move forward in their artistic endeavors. Items were generously provided by the committee and local sponsors and donors.

Prizes included:

  • Signed certificate from the committee and the mayor
  • One art print of the student’s artwork with professional matting and framing, to be included in our Township Permanent collection.
  • Gift certificate
  • International best selling art book, The Secret Lives of Colors by Kassia St. Clair
  • Art supplies
  • Tote bag and mug
  • Delicious treats

The Art Advisory Committee gives special thanks our sponsors:

Jesse Moehlman, Millburn Township
Jessica Almeida, Assistant to the Millburn clerk
Nadege Nicoll, The Book House of Millburn
Kimberly Sullivan, Kings’ Food Market Catering Staff/Service
Bonnie and Allen Shefts, Jerry’ s Artist Outlet
Penguin Publishers
Nicholas Rizzo Art Gallery
Ashley, Print Media of Springfield
Michelle San Filippo
Victoria Plummer
Steve Barach
Catherine Scorsese

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Announcing the 2021 Art Advisory AP Art Awards

The Art Advisory Committee is proud to continue its long history of celebrating young artists, even in this pandemic year. The AP Art Program under Kathleen Harte Gilsenan is a prized education asset for our High School, providing our art students superb guidance and a unique chance for growth. We celebrate this educational opportunity given the AP Students at Millburn HighSchool. 

As we announce this award, we congratulate the artists listed. We ask of these recipients only that the students remember their roots, their point of origin in Millburn. In the future, the students are asked that when they return to their Point of Origin in Millburn that they show the AAC their new work and tell us how they are doing.

Congratulations to the Millburn AP Artists and AP Art Department!

Laraine Brennan Barach

Millburn-Short Hills Art Advisory Committee Chairwoman


  • Lily Barrack
  • Ceci Muller
  • Caitlin Samson
  • Jacob Updyke
  • Gabrielle Yatco


  • Angela Huang
  • Megan Klein
  • Tiffany Lan
  • Zev Marinoff
  • Chloe Mason
  • Eli Troll
  • Laura Zang
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Point of Origin Master Artist Series: Unlocking the Doors to Creativity with Ben Rizzo

Join Millburn/Short Hills native Ben Rizzo in this two-part series with interactive prompts and exercises to unlocking your most creative self. This is the second event in the online series coordinated by the Millburn Library and the Art Advisory Committee.

Please register on the library’s website for these zoom events.

Session 1 – June 7: We will look at an overview of creativity: What is it, how do we get it, and is everyone creative? There will be several ‘creative’ exercises during this session. Be sure to bring a sketchbook and paper to participate! (Pen, pastels, paints or any other medium you wish to use are encouraged). Register >>

Session 2 – June 14: Building off session 1, we will narrow creativity and start to map out your personal path to a more creative life. How can you bring creativity into your life with a specific action plan? This session will help to map out the days, months, years to come. Register >>

From Ben’s Bio:

Ben Rizzo (B. 1990, New Jersey) is a visual artist living and working in downtown Manhattan New York. Mostly working in oils & acrylics His work exposes hidden societal barriers, beautifying that which is dead or discarded. Rizzo deconstructs traditional Hinderglas painting through a technique the artist calls pallet painting, in which paint is rendered from glass to canvas through a unique drying process. The subject is released. Rizzo’s melodic exploration of color combined with his definite use of shape-forms are arranged to create an experiential landscape of the afterlife. 

Most recently Rizzo has picked up watercolors and enjoys the softness that watercolors offer—“Watercolors speak to me because they move in the most eloquent way. There is no controlling them.” He is currently teaching online watercolor courses, has been painting for 10 years and teaching for more than 5. He holds a degree from James Madison University in Arts Education.

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Art returns to the Millburn Library with the “Point of Origin” group show

Last week the MSH Art Advisory Committee launched two art events at the Millburn Free Public Library: the first live workshop in the new “Master Artists Talk Series” and the debut of this year’s “Point of Origin Mentors Show” in the library gallery, on view through June 20.

Seven gifted and distinctively different Millburn artists are on display in the group show, curated by Laraine Brennan Barach, Chair of the AAC and long-time Short Hills resident. The link tying these artists together is their Millburn roots, or Point of Origin.

AAC Vice Chairs and mentors Amy McGovern and Oscar Peterson, both multi-decade residents of Millburn, are featured in the show. Oscar Peterson is a professional artist, teaching in-person adult classes in New Jersey and online classes nationally. On Wednesday he kicked off the “Master Artists Talk Series” with a talk and demonstration of his skill in portraiture in a zoom event. This series is a collaboration of the AAC and the adult education events programs for Millburn Library.

 Amy Mc Govern has been an attorney in NY for over 20 years as well as an avid traveler. Her beautifully skilled pastels and masterful watercolor drawings reflect her world travels.

They are joined by contemporary artist Ben Rizzo. Born and raised in Millburn, Ben is a visual artist mostly working in oils and acrylics. Besides teaching at One River Art School in Millburn, he maintains a studio in New York for privately commissioned mixed media works  of art. Ben will the next artist featured in the “Master Artists Talk Series”, with “Unlocking the Doors to Creativity” on June 14.

Erin Barach and Maren Less are alums of the renowned Millburn High School AP Art Program. Both women have their Masters in Art and share a focus of the feelings and reflection of abstract human thought through art. Contemporary paintings and mixed media are their chosen realms. Professional Artist Maren is a participating professor at Tyler School of Art and Design. Erin is a marketing director for The Children’s Chorus of Maryland as well as a studio artist in in her gallery in Baltimore.

Lenny Shapiro, sculptor and long time resident of Millburn, is the creator of “Rotare” tempered steel sculpture on the front plaza at Millburn Library and he has exhibited in AAC Shows for ten years. His 5-foot tall “Steel Blossom” is in the show.

Erica Einhorn from Millburn is the AAC intern this year. She graduated from Rutgers this year, and will continue on there for graduate school. Erica was previously an AAC scholarship winner in 2016 and 2017. Her “Botanical Series” drawings are on display in the AAC Show. Her loyal contribution of time and talent and skill is much appreciated in this difficult year.

Special thanks to our printer Ashley at Print Media of Springfield N.J. and to residents Brenda and Nick Rizzo of Nicholas Rizzo Studio. Photos by Victoria Plummer.


Point of Origin Artists and Mentors Show
May 20 – June 20, 2021
Millburn Library Gallery
Open whenever library is open

Millburn Free Public Library
200 Glen Avenue, Millburn NJ
Library Website

Point of Origin: Master Artist Series
A Series of Artist Talks and Demonstrations on Zoom
Next up: Ben Rizzo – Unlocking the Doors to Creativity
June 7 and June 14, 2021
Registration Required

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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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