SOPAC Celebrates Community Impact Throughout 2023-24 Season 

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From the South Orange Performing Arts Center:

As the 2023-24 Season comes to a close, SOPAC celebrates the extraordinary breadth of achievements and impact made possible by support from its donors and community members!

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Your Impact on SOPAC During the 2023-24 Season: 

Arts Education Impact 

  • Connected 15 Teaching Artists with nearly 200 students across all three Arts Residency Programs: Jazz, Strings, and Dance.  The professional musicians and instrumentalists leading the Jazz and Strings Residency Programs provide students with technical instrumental instruction as well as inspiration and encouragement.  Instructors from Alvin Ailey Dance Theater’s Ailey Dance Kids program come to West Orange High School, teaching Hip-Hop and Jazz to the next generation of creatives.  Through these Residency Program, SOPAC hopes to nurture the next generation of artists and creative visionaries in our public schools and beyond.
  • Students in West Orange High School and Columbia High School received more than 145 hours of instruction across SOPAC’s three Arts Residence Programs: Jazz, Strings, and Dance.
  • Welcomed more than 6,300 students to SOPAC during School Performance Series shows.  These field trips help young students of all ages, from kindergarteners to middle schoolers, develop a lifelong enthusiasm for the arts.  With performance topics ranging from orchestral music to science, math, and history, each performance reinforces classroom lessons and ignites creativity and curiosity. 
    To find more information about SOPAC’s School Performance series, CLICK HERE or contact SOPAC’s Education Programs Manager Linda Beard at
  • Provided over 5,700 students with subsidized tickets to live arts experiences in the School Performance Series.  For many of the students, aged kindergarten to sixth grade, field trips to SOPAC are their first exposure to live performance.  SOPAC is proud to support equal access to the arts for all students in the area. 
  • SOPAC presented the 2nd annual Paul Bartick Emerging Artist Award to Simone McCrear, a dancer, choreographer, and senior at Columbia High School.  The Paul Bartick Emerging Artist Award celebrates the hard work and dedication of young artists who demonstrate a passion for the craft and outstanding artistic ability.  

Community Impact 

  • Volunteers dedicated 2,100 hours to SOPAC giving time as house ushers, front of house volunteers, members of the Board of Governors, office assistants, and community advisors.   

If you are interested in volunteering at SOPAC, CLICK HERE or contact SOPAC’s Audience Services Manager Matthew Luminello at

  • Audience members came from 20 of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
  • Welcomed more than 30,000 people to SOPAC throughout the year for performances on the Mainstage and in the Loft, in the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery, and community gatherings and conversations in the Loft.
  • Reached more than 23,000 people across Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Be the first to know about new shows, participate in ticket giveaways, and connect with your fellow arts lovers by following SOPAC on any social media platform @SOPACnow! We can’t wait to hear from you!  

Artistic Impact 

  • Debuted 45 artists new to SOPAC, including the extraordinary Afro-Cuban drummer Pedrito Martínez, illusionist Vitaly, and Jazz-Funk guitarist Mark Lettieri. 
  • Displayed more than 250 pieces in the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery over five exhibitions.  FULL CIRCLE by Ben Niles showcased the remarkable fusion of graphic design and painting, merging the acrylic, ink, and graphite mediums with screen printing. ARTFUL LIVING: The Painters of Maker + Muse, curated by Brian Dittmar, celebrated the relationship between visual art and the realms of interior and everyday living.  Contemporary African Spirituality: Connections to New Jersey, curated by Atim Annette Oton, explored the cultural practices that have been mixed, juxtaposed, and collided with ideas, themes, materials, themes, and techniques, both African and Modern, by African and African diaspora artists in New Jersey. Finally, SOPAC welcomed student work in two separate exhibitions: Columbia High School 2024 AP Art Showcase and its annual INSPIRED MINDS: Young Artist Exhibition.
  • SOPAC presented 85 shows on the Jennifer & Anthony Leitner Mainstage and in the Loft, including Funk-R&B-Rock visionary vocalist LiV Warfield; comedian Liz Glazer; local theater icon Julie Galorenzo in a sold-out Cabaret in the Loft performance; and returning favorites like The Last Waltz Celebration and The Weeklings.  

“On behalf of SOPAC’s Board and Staff, I am filled with immense gratitude for the community’s engagement and support throughout the season,” says Executive Director Lana Rogachevskaya.  “As I step further into my role as Executive Director, I look forward to continuing working with all the dedicated arts lovers in the community.  Together, we can create a lasting legacy that inspires and uplifts artists—professional, amateur, and budding—for years to come!”   

SOPAC invites everyone to share their thoughts on past experiences and future hopes by emailing  We hope to hear from you soon! 

Thank you to our generous community of supporters, which help sustain SOPAC’s operations, presentations, and Arts Education programs! 

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