Following the great success of the Stampede, the inaugural project of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, the Council is pleased to announce the hire of David Miller as its first executive director. Serving Hopewell Valley, comprised of Hopewell Township and the boroughs of Hopewell and Pennington; the Council, which started just two years ago, is excited to be taking this important step forward. Mr. Miller, a highly respected arts management professional, brings over 35 years of experience to the post and to the tasks of planning the Council’s programmatic advance and building a strong organizational base for future operations.
Miller, a lifelong central NJ resident and the former executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Grounds For Sculpture, began his career in local arts development as administrator of the Burlington Council Cultural & Heritage Commission and later as Community Arts Coordinator for the State Arts Council where he rose to become executive director, a post he later held with Grounds For Sculpture. To every post he has earned distinction for sound planning and innovative programming. Hopewell Valley Arts Council Co-Presidents Betsy Ackerman and Randee Tengi issued the following statement: “We welcome David Miller to this important post at this auspicious moment in our development, when we have successfully launched the Council and captured the energy, recognition, and support of the communities we serve. His wealth of experience, broad knowledge, and enthusiasm for the value of art to community vitality exactly match the exciting challenges and opportunities in front of us.”
Formed two years ago by dedicated residents throughout the Valley, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council is coming off the tremendous success of its Stampede project, which celebrated the talents of area artists through the colorful and imaginative creation of 69 life-sized ox sculptures. After two months roaming the valley as a public art exhibit, the sculptures were sold to supporters both near and far. The final 11 oxen were most recently showcased and auctioned at the Council’s inaugural ‘Year of the Ox’ gala held at Grounds For Sculpture in January. As Miller noted, “The Stampede was the perfect project for a perfect launch, one that not only captured the attention and delight of the entire Hopewell Valley, but fortified regional identity and forged new partnerships in the community to bolster other initiatives the Council has been building.” These include a fall 2014 arts workshop series, the “Winter Windows” displays that local merchants throughout the region created to show support for the arts, and February’s Restaurant Week, a celebration of regional culinary arts. “With such a great start,” Miller continued, “there’s no telling what can be accomplished next.”
Just around the corner is a workshop on April 30 titled “Wine Showdown – France vs. The World,” which will compare wines from France to similar varietals from other regions, as well as pair the wines with wonderful culinary experiences prepared by The Brothers Moon chef Will Mooney. Bringing more art into valley life, the Council is creating concerts, summer family art workshops, and various arts demonstration and engagement projects at upcoming community events throughout the valley.
Mr. Miller will take the post initially on a part-time basis and work with the board and a growing number of volunteers and community stakeholders to map out the Council’s next steps with the goal of sustaining momentum and building a larger, durable base for future growth. The Council fills an important role in a unique, talent-rich region of the state, which previously had no organization devoted to promoting all the ways that art, artists, and the larger creative community enrich lives, improve quality of life, and contribute to such vital civic concerns as education, community and economic development, preservation, conservation, and healthcare. The Hopewell Valley Arts Council embraces an open philosophy that recognizes the arts are for everyone, every day, and are alive and worth fostering in all human endeavor throughout the region, as expressed by their mission of “celebrating art in the everyday.”