Public Info

Black History Month Art Exhibit on Display at Freeholders Gallery thru March 9

ELIZABETH, NJ — In celebration of Black History Month, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is sponsoring an exhibit of work by three artists with diverse art backgrounds at the Freeholders Gallery now through March 9.

Local artists Derek Jay Dent, Ray Horner, Jr., and Suree Minnatee are exhibiting their artworks at the gallery located on the 6th floor of the Union County Administration Building on Elizabethtown Plaza at Rahway Avenue in Elizabeth. The artwork is on display weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We are pleased to sponsor this exhibit of dynamic work by three members of the Elizabeth Arts Council during Black History Month,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, liaison to the Union County Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board. “They push the envelope of artistic expression as they educate and entertain the viewer.”

Derek Jay Dent was born and raised in Elizabeth. At a very young age Derek told his parents that he wanted to be a great artist like those whose work he viewed at museums and galleries in New Jersey and New York City. Those early school trips and the nurturing and approval of his parents and family fueled a desire to forge a career as a creative artist. Today, Derek is a well-known and respected creative talent whose realistic mixed media, acrylic and oil paintings are sought after for their unusual and unique style.

Ray Horner, Jr. was born in New Haven, CT. He is a professor at Kean University. Ray incorporates a fusion of realism and abstraction in his work. His color is applied in layers so that it exuberantly radiates through each layer. The use of gestural brush work helps to indicate the form and movement in the paintings allowing happy accidents to happen that invite new ways of seeing and exploration. In addition to watercolor and oil painting, Ray has years of training in other disciplines, including woodworking, photography and printmaking.

“Landscapes and people are my subject matters,” Prof. Horner says, “But I am interested more in what can be explored with the paint and composition.”

Suree Minnatee was born and raised in Elizabeth. She experiments with various mediums but her main focus is graphic design and illustration. She graduated from Benedictine Academy and attended Union County College, Cranford Campus. Suree currently attends The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where she is pursuing a degree in Graphic Design.

The exhibits at the Freeholders Gallery are curated by Teya David of the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs. For further information about this exhibit and other programs and services related to the arts and Union County history, contact the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202; telephone (908) 558-2550; NJ Relay users dial 711. Email:



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