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Farmstead Arts Awaits Year's Events, Partial Barn Restoration

Historic English barn could be open for special June fundraiser that will include rubber duck races, bounty of local farms.

After cleaning up fallen trees left by Superstorm Sandy, the township's Farmstead Arts is planning to launch additional public programs from the spring into summer, as well as awaiting completion of major phase of the process to restore a historic English barn on the property.

The township's new mayor, Carolyn Gaziano said on Wednesday that as one of her initiatives in 2013 she wants to further promote the township's Farmstead Arts center at the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead, one of the "many historic treasures in Bernards." The Farmstead is at 450 King George Road.

Gaziano said the Farmstead has scheduled its first annual rubber duck race along the Passaic River by the farmhouse, along with an art show and "farm to table" food event, that would be part of a June 8 fundraiser.

By that time, the anticipated work nearing completion on the barn, which is located near a farmhouse that already has been hosting arts programs and events since the Farmstead Arts opened in October 2010, is expected to be done.

Farmstead Arts President Ann Rosenblum said on Thursday that the work on the barn being funded by a $176,000 state grant is likely to be finished by March, or possibly October.

The grant went to install a concrete floor in the old structure, as well as to raise beams to make it more usable, she said. She said the Farmstead Arts may apply for further county grant money this spring to install electricity and put in a ramp to make the barn handicapped-accessible, both of which are necessary for a permanent certificate of occupancy.

However, Rosenblum said the township is likely to allow the barn to be used in the meantime for special events, such as June's fundraiser. She said the barn could be used for a purpose such as a silent auction on that date, or to house a "farm to table" menu with produce from local farms.

The state $176,000 was awarded in the spring of 2011, and was intended to help restore the interior of the barn. The eventual goal is to make the barn usable as a performing arts space, and also hosting large art pieces, art shows, barn dances, and other uses," Rosenblum said at that time.

When the barn and the farmhouse on the township-owned Kennedy Martin Stelle property was last the barn was not yet been able to host public events.

Since then, however, many events and art shows have been held at the farmhouse by the banks of the river, and others are scheduled to begin again in February and March, Rosenblum said.

Rosenblum said the farmstead is just recovering from Sandy, when many large trees fell on the property, although fortunately neither the barn nor the farmhouse were damage. She said that a tree did hit a wagon house, but that unrestored building was not being used yet anyway.

Currently Rosenblum said that four of the five private artists studios in the farmhouse are rented out to area artists and artisans, and provide a steady stream of income for the township.

She said that one-day art workshops are expected to begin in February, and art classes are due to start up again in March. Information will be posted on the Farmstead Arts website, she said.

Ridge High School art show due to be staged in February

A display of artwork by Ridge High School art students is due to open in February at the farmhouse, Rosenblum said. That should be followed by a solo art show, she said.

The arts center has received a grant to revive a concert series, although the details of scheduled performances still is being worked out, she said.

And this June, the Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack-Gladstone is planning to hold its first Arts Access art show — displaying works created by developmentally disabled artists — at the Farmstead Arts, which would be the Matheny Arts Access program's first display in Basking Ridge, Rosenblum said.

Kristina Lloyd January 15, 2013 at 02:13 AM
Abstract Oil Painter Gail Winbury will be exhibiting in a solo show called "Works by Gail Winbury" at Farmstead Arts in the Spring. An Artist's Opening Reception will be held on Sunday, April 14th from 1-4pm and the show will run through May 26th 2013. For more information go to http://www.farmsteadartscenter.org.

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