The idea of initiating an Arts Society in Edison came from Catherine Spadoro, wife of former Edison Mayor George Spadoro. Two highly successful Arts Summits followed, and on September 10, 1998, the Edison Arts Society was founded as a non-profit organization. Mayor Spadoro then presented the Society with its first home on 1729 Woodland Avenue in Edison. Catherine was awarded the Medal of Honor for her contributions during the first Annual Gala Celebration in 2000.
After this auspicious beginning, a Board of Trustees was formed and an administrative staff was established including a President and an Executive Director. Several programs were initiated by the Edison Arts Society within the first two years. For the youth came the establishment of a middle school “One Acts” theatre program, an annual public and private High School Art Competition, Holiday Dance Extravaganza, televised Poetry Readings, and Outreach Workshops in poetry, drama and art. The formation of the professional Edison Symphony Orchestra was founded by President and Guest conductor Angelo Augustino Orlando, and led by Maestro Judith Morse.
The ESO has featured a variety of concerts per season, and has been an enormously successful undertaking.
Also developed was the “Artist of the Month” program, “The Arts in Edison”, a live monthly television show on the award winning Edison Township Cable with hostess Catherine Spadoro, and the publication of an annual poetry/prose magazine entitled the Edison Literary Review. A yearly gala ball “Artists by Candlelight” was initiated to help fund programming and honor the EAS medal of honor recipient, as well as to give special recognition to the specific artists or events from among the disciplines. Through the years, the majority of these professional educational and service based artistic programs have continued to evolve, redefining themselves and flourishing as the EAS expands its horizons, well beyond one particular geographic location, to outreach not only to the larger community, the county, the State and the Tri-state area, but nationally, and internationally.
In addition, the EAS proactively reaches out to those audiences who may not easily get the chance to become part of The Arts. Emerging Artist Interns are also given the unique privilege of working with Master Artists and artistic events within the EAS to organically develop their craft.
Culminating from such visionary growth the artistic disciplines have been restructured into six major areas including:
Profesional and Educational Performances and Events capstoned by the Holiday Dance Extravaganza which was conceived by Yvonne Ambrosio. Future plans include the development of a professional dance ensemble.
The evolution of a New Literary Magazine “Arsenal” where the idea of the pen being mightier than the sword is alive and well. Founding editor Dr. Daniel Zimmerman unveiled the magazine’s first edition in 2011. Other upcoming literary projects include an online professional literary magazine, and other innovative programs and workshops for students and emerging writers.
- Film, Media and Communications
With the advent of so many new forms of technological communications this discipline we are working on an online film and new media festival in conjunction with opportunities for practicing professional and developing students in seminars and workshops with state of the art training. New script opportunities for film and TV will also be developed.
- Film, Media and Communications
The ESO, the official Orchestra of Middlesex County, a world class professional orchestra, has been in concert with some of the great performers of today including internationally renowned luminaries from Broadway, Film and Television, Opera, and Classical music. Other chamber concerts and collaborative performances among our disciplines, especially with Musical Theatre and Opera are being planned. A musical competition for young virtuosos and emerging musical artists will be developed in our next season. The Edison Symphony Orchestra was founded in 2000 by President and Guest Conductor Angelo Augustus Orlando.
Plans are being finalized for the beginning season of the professional EAS Theatre Company. Productions will represent many diverse dramatic styles, including dramas, comedies, musicals and operas, as well as the development of new dramatic work. In addition, theatre workshops and seminars will be a part of the foundation of each theatre season.
- Visual Arts and Galleries
The EAS encompasses a wide variety of artistic mediums, has gallery exhibitions housed in the Edison Municipal Complex, the EAS Headquarters Foyer and Boardroom Galleries, and with special exhibitions at Middlesex County College, along with other spaces and venues, like the Art in the Garden Tours originally conceived by Linda La Stella and the Gardens of the Garden State Exhibit. The Visual Arts have become a vital and dynamic part of EAS since its beginning. There is a solid commitment within the discipline to support and assist artist members for professional development and mentoring and continued exhibition opportunity.
As we commemorate our second decade, we look forward to continuing our journey of artistic excellence with each of you, and many more new friends and supporters to come, into the brand new decade and beyond…