West Windsor Arts Council is celebrating its first birthday at the West Windsor Arts Center on Saturday, September 24. The event features visual and performance arts, instruction in jewelry making and silk screening in the classroom, and interactive arts outside. Birthday cupcakes will be served. There is also a ribbon-cutting for the new bike racks scheduled for 1:45 p.m.
Lisa Weil, a West Windsor resident since 1997, was elected president of the organization in August. “I believe in the arts,” she says. “The arts center is part of the soul of West Windsor and I would like to make people more aware of the arts council.”
Weil, born in New Jersey, spent her early years in Florence, Italy, and New York City. Italian was her language and she is still fluent. Her mother and brother paint in oil and her father is a pianist. Her mother, 80, still drives to work every day in the family textile business. “I grew up with textiles, color, and design,” says Weil. “I’m in awe of musicians, vocalists, actors, and artists.”
After working in technology and global strategy for Bristol-Myers Squibb for 25 years, she left the corporate world and began a new life as a sales associate with Gloria Nilson Realtors. It was also about the time of a divorce and she wanted to reinvent herself. “I liked the Princeton area and liked where I lived,” she says. “The change gave me more time to volunteer.”
When she heard that the arts council was looking for volunteers in 2005 she stepped up and was elected vice president in 2006. When she was asked what her art is she told the arts council that she was a voyeur. At a later event one of the artists said to her, “You’re not a voyeur; you’re an enabler and we love people like you because you make it possible for us to do art.”
Volunteers spent many hours proving to the township what the arts council could do without a building and were at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market every Saturday to promote the organization. Weil is happy that they are in their own building for performances, exhibits, and classes. “It has been an incredible journey helping the West Windsor Arts Council evolve from an arts council without walls to one with walls, doors, etc., while growing as a volunteer-based community organization,” says Weil. “If it wasn’t for volunteers and funding there would be no arts center. There are only four paid part-time positions.” (Eduardo Garcia, Kaye Kalawar, and Corinna and Peter Bisgaier).
Karen Schoenitz of West Windsor was also elected to the board. A visual artist and nonprofit/arts management professional, she has close to 10 years of development experience within arts organizations and institutions of higher education. Officers re-elected for new terms include Ruth Kusner Potts, Paul Cerna, Diane Ciccone, Ilene Dube, all residents of West Windsor, and Jeff Tryon of Ewing.
“The upcoming season promises a wealth of classes, performances, and special programs,” she says. “Notably this fall season includes Bollywood High and ‘Antigone’ performed by Shakespeare ’70, as well as a film series, open mic nights, and Sunday Sampler Series.”
First Birthday Celebration, West Windsor Arts Council, 952 Alexander Road, West Windsor. Saturday, September 24, 2 to 4 p.m. Sample classes in collage, weaving, jewelry, or silk painting. Participate in family friendly painting and drawing activities. Demonstrations of yoga, Bollywood, hip hop, and swing dance. Relate poetry to poems. Listen to a storyteller. Visit “Global Rhythms” art exhibit. Refreshments include birthday cupcakes and lemonade. 609-716-1931. www.westwindsorarts.org.