Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2011

Enjoy the Awards Ceremony & Art Exhibit by Union County Employees, May 4

UNION, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders will recognize local artists and present awards at a reception on Wednesday, May 4, at the Tenth Annual Exhibit and Contest for County of Union Employees and Their Families. The free reception and awards ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Elizabethtown Gas Company, located at Liberty Hall Center, 1085 Morris Avenue in Union.

“Our county staffers do a great job with their regular jobs, and quite a number of them have artistic gifts,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, liaison to the Union County Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board. “We thank Elizabethtown Gas for hosting the reception and providing gallery space for Union County employees and their families to display their talent. We also thank the National Arts Program Foundation for funding the prize awards.”

Presented in partnership with the National Arts Program(r), the exhibit offers County of Union employees and members of their families an opportunity to display their art work. The exhibit will be open weekdays from May 4 to May 30, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The Freeholders share the goal of the National Arts Program Foundation to reach as many people as possible of all ages, offering them a chance to show their creations,” said Freeholder Chairman Deborah P. Scanlon. “We invite you to view this exhibit of exceptional artwork at the Liberty Hall Center during the month of May.”

The art exhibit will be judged by three prominent artists: Elana Caravela, Kirsten Sejda and Daniel Sroka.

Elena Caravela received her B.F.A. from The School of Visual Arts in NYC. She has worked as an illustrator, instructor, and as a fine artist. Ms. Caravela illustrated two award-winning children’s books, “The Birds of the Harbor,” and “A Night of Tamales and Roses,” both published in 2007. “Portrait of a Girl,” her non-fiction picture book about young female artists, is set for publication this year. As a fine artist, Ms. Caravela has received numerous corporate and private portrait commissions and has exhibited work in a variety of genre and media. She enjoys critiquing for Teen Arts Festivals and teaching visual art workshops in the Summit area.

Kirsten Sejda is a printmaker and ceramicist. She manages the ceramics studio at New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City. Ms. Sejda earned a B.F.A. from NJCU and a B.A. from Upsala College in East Orange. She also studied at Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick; the Art Students League, New York; Greenwich House of Pottery, New York; the duCret School of Art, Plainfield; and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit. Ms. Sejda is a member of the Printmaking Council of New Jersey and an instructor at the duCret School of Art, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, the City of Plainfield School System, Kent Place School, and Purnell School.

Daniel Sroka developed a new approach to nature art through his unique style of abstract macro photography. His artistic style has been greatly influenced by 20 years of experience as a graphic designer. As the first creative director at Yahoo!, Mr. Sroka helped create and foster the identity that made them a globally-recognized brand. In 2001, he leveraged his experience in design and Internet marketing to launch his own art career. In addition to his fine art photography, Mr. Sroka owns and operates a successful online business, through which he has created custom fine art wedding prints from his photographs for over 1,000 customers.

The National Arts Program(r) is in its 28th year and it runs 81 annual programs reaching 450 cities in 41 states. The program was conceived by Leonard E. B. Andrews (1925 – 2009), an art collector, publisher, business executive and journalist “for the encouragement and development of artistic expression.” The goal of the National Arts Program(r) is to provide an uninhibited opportunity for people to present their talent, at whatever level, in a free, public exhibition. The National Arts Program(r) is sponsored by The National Arts Program Foundation of Malvern, Pennsylvania. To learn more about the program, visitwww.thenationalartsprogram.org.

Additional support for this event is provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, contact the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth NJ 07202. Telephone (908) 558-2550 or e-mail: culturalinfo@ucnj.org. NJ relay users dial 711.

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