Over 40 Local Artists Come Together to Raise Money for the Union Beach Middle School Band and Monmouth Arts’ Arts Helps Project. 

Long Branch, New Jersey, On Sunday, December 30th over 40 local musicians, poets, artists and comedians are joining forces at the Brighton Bar for MISSION III: SANDY, a benefit organized by local art group the Ministry of Artistic Intent.  A  $10 cover charge gets those 18 and over through the door and access to the 12 hour show, raffles and art sales that begins at 2p.m. and continues through the night.  All proceeds from the show will be distributed to the Monmouth County Arts Councils’ “Arts Helps Project” and the Union Beach Middle School’s Band.

The Ministry of Artistic Intent aims to gather artists to come together to give back to the arts community.  Gregory DeCellio, member of the experimental jazz/poetry group Oddyssey and music coordinator for the MAI states, “I’ve been playing instrumental music my whole life. It all began with learning in the school band. So, when I heard that Union Beach kids lost instruments in the storm I was heartbroken. That’s why we’re both honored and devoted to helping these kids keep playing and learning…. it’s the least we can do.”

The MAI wanted to reach both young budding artists along side with those whose life’s’ work is art, and to get the art into the community.  “We knew we wanted to host a show to help artists affected by Sandy and were in search of organizations that fit our mission. When fellow Drew MFA in Poetry candidate Jesse Burns suggested the Arts Helps Project I knew we had found a solid program that would get the funds back into the community,” shares Chelsea Palermo, a founder of the MAI.

Artists contributing the show agree on the healing power of art when asked to speak of the show.  Poet Jesse Burns says, “Art has a great capacity to heal, to connect us all in times of great struggles and to help us find a way of expressing the unspeakable. Hurricane Sandy took much from many of us. It is inspiring to see local artists come together to give back because they deeply believe in the necessity of art.” Leah Thompson, an artist, poet, and musicians who studies art therapy at Drexel states, “…What else is needed to create, but ourselves? It is renewing to witness the strength within our community and the eager response of the artists. We are pushed to do this because we all can attest to the healing power of the creative arts.”


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The consensus continues as poet Mariel Pauline who is not only slotted to perform at the show but is underway with obtaining donations for raffles states, “Art is an inherent healing mechanism after tragedy. It is extremely important that the creative community takes care of its own- not only to help raise physical funds for areas still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, but also to provide hope, love, and support. This event promises to do just that.”

Many of the artists involved are donating goods to be raffles at the event. Thompson is one of several artists donating artwork.  Artist and poet Dogmatic, the 2012 Poet Laureate of Asbury Park, is donating paintings, as well.  Some of other items up for grabs at the show include a $100 gift card the Jersey Tattoo Company, provided by artist Adrienne Haberl, a sterling silver  “Heart Jersey” necklace donated and designed by jeweler Andrea Van Lenten and the complete collection of underground poetry magazine The Idiom publications provided by editor Mark Brunetti. 

The MISSION III: SANDY benefit begins at 2p.m. alternating poetry, music and comedy performances until 7p.m. The bands begin the bands at 7:30 p.m.  Participating bands included poetry and experimental jazz ensemble Oddyssey (with special guest Dave Gordon), Matthew Curran, The Kevin Brennan Band and Beaver Brothers.  To close the show a midnight open jam session is scheduled to get the community involved for a creative collaboration.  “We will keep the mic up and running as late as we can. We want everyone to have a chance to contribute,” says musician and artist, Ruy Mejia, who design the event flyer.  For more information on the event, including raffles and artist list go to www.facebook.com/MinistryofArtisticIntent/events or email [email protected] For more information on the Art Helps Project go to: Monmoutharts.org 

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...