Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts Nominated in 2015 Jersey Arts Awards

Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts has been nominated in the 2015 Discover Jersey Arts People’s Choice Awards in the category for Favorite Small Performing Arts Center. 

The yearly awards program run by Discover Jersey Arts recognizes and honors the work of New Jersey’s diverse arts organizations. 

Discover Arts is a cosponsored project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, whose missions are to increase the participation and bring awareness to the arts in the state.  

“The Center for the Arts is incredibly grateful for this nomination,” said Vaune Peck, director of the Center for the Arts. 

“I’ve been wondering why we haven’t been nominated [for this award] for years now, I think we are the best kept secret in Monmouth County,” Peck said.  

The Center for the Arts is among 10 arts districts and 96 organizations also nominated for the yearly awards program, as stated in a University press release.

 Nominees for the People’s Choice Awards were selected through the Jersey Arts Marketers network. 

The network is made up of numerous nonprofit art groups across the state, according to the press release. 

Anyone who appreciates art across the state are eligible to vote for their favorite NJ arts organizations in 16 different categories, as explained on the Jersey Arts website. Voting started Jan. 7 and goes up until Feb. 19.. 

“I’m so glad one of our patrons found out about the awards and nominated us,” said Peck. 

“The thing is that most people who patronize commercial venues don’t realize what a gem we have here,” she continued. 

Peck expressed what makes the University’s Center for the Arts deserving of this nomination. 

“Our events are treated with the utmost respect for the artist, the art form, and the patrons,” said Peck.  

“Serious art and music lovers appreciate the esthetics here; they can experience music, theatre and dance in a respectful environment that accentuates the art form,” she continued.

 To qualify as a small performing arts center, the theater must seat less than one thousand people, according to Discover Jersey Arts website. 

 Pollak Theatre is competing against seven other theaters, including the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University and the Stockton Performing Arts Center in Galloway.

Peck explains the unique aesthetics of Pollak Theatre. “Pollak theatre has 700 seats in only 20 rows,” Peck said.

“There are no bad seats in the house and the high ceilings gives you the feeling that you are in a much larger venue, so you get intimacy with the illusion of a grander space,” said Peck. 

 The awards program also includes an ‘other’ category, where voters can nominate a theater that isn’t already listed. 

The arts center is home to several different types of exhibitions, such as broadcasts of operas from the Met, or screenings of the Bolshoi Ballet on a 30’ wide screen live in HD, as explained by Peck and several other broadcasts of live theatre events. 

It also hosts gallery exhibitions in the Pollak Gallery, attached to the theater. 

 “We present over 100 amazing arts events every year attended by well over 28,000 patrons,” said Peck. 

“Since we are not a commercial venue the quality of our programing is unmatched in the region, and we make it possible for thousands of NJ residents to access world class entertainment close to home,” she said. 

This is not the first time that the Center for the Arts has been recognized for an award.  They received the 2012 Spinnaker Award for Arts and Culture from the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce due to its ‘ongoing mission of education, enrichment, and dedication to the community,’ according to the University’s website. 

The theater has also been honored by the NJ State Council for the Arts, and the Monmouth Country Arts Council. 

The winners of the People’s Choice Award will be announced and honored in March at the NJ Conference on Tourism at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City.