Get Ready for ‘Artbender,’ 24 Hours of Creative Self-Expression in SOMA

by The Village Green
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From Arts Unbound:

Arts Unbound, a non-profit arts organization in Orange, NJ that is dedicated to the artistic achievement of people living with disabilities and seniors, will host their second annual 24-hour art marathon, with the support of Jerry’s Artist Outlet and other local businesses. This year’s marathon is now the ArtBender, encompassing not just Arts Unbound in Orange, but neighboring towns including West Orange, South Orange, and Maplewood.

The ArtBender will be a 24-hour art-making session from 12pm on Saturday, May 14 to 12pm on Sunday, May 15th, 2016. Arts Unbound is encouraging local community-minded companies to host a bender event, participate at any bender event as a team and raise pledges, or be a financial or in-kind sponsor of ArtBender. Many of the works created during the Artbender will be auctioned at The Dora Stern Gallery at Arts Unbound from 7-9pm on May 20, with proceeds benefiting Arts Unbound’s mission.

Visit this page to learn about events taking place in SOMA and beyond. There are a slew of different events in South Orange that people can participate in, including participatory map-making, mosaics and more.

Here’s what’s happening in Maplewood:

Come make art together at a Multi-Gen Community Arts event! This experience is offered as part of Art Bender. Families are invited to the Burgdorff on May 14th between 12:00-4:30 to create art using upcycled and found objects. Bring your own or use what we’ve scavenged! (Bring a spare, clean t-shirt if you’d like to make a tote bag.) Contribute $5 for one person or $15 for your family; 100% of proceeds will support artists in our communities living with disabilities.

If you cannot make it but would like to contribute, drop off at our collection sites or bring to the event if you have: clean, empty coffee cans with plastic lids; plastic bottle caps of all sizes; corks; clean t-shirts for yourself or others; pebbles and buttons — anything you’d like!


ArtBender is free and anyone can participate and join the fun. Participants can create art at the Arts Unbound studio and gallery, at other participating sites, or at home. Participants can join in for as many hours as they want to create art, or they can support the organization by pledging money, hosting their own “bender,” or bidding on artwork at the auction. ArtBender participants can raise money for Arts Unbound’s programs by treating their art-making experience like a walk-a-thon, raising pledges per piece of art they make, or raising flat, one-time donations. Arts Unbound will be awarding a prize to the participant who raises the most money.

Visitors are welcome at The Dora Stern Gallery at Arts Unbound anytime during the 24 -hour period to watch participants at work or to join in, and specified ArtBender sites will include artist demos. Teams can bring a group and work together, and even raise pledges together on the RallyUp fundraising page – People can participate from home by posting pictures of the art they make during the 24 hours on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #ArtBender.

Following the 24-hour event, participants are invited to submit their artwork to Arts Unbound to be considered for the auction, and selected pieces will be auctioned off on Friday, May 20 from 7-9pm at the Arts Unbound gallery. The gallery is located in the Valley Arts District at 544 Freeman Street, in Orange.

Visit the event website at to participate/pledge, host a bender, sponsor the bender, view the ArtBender map, or learn about the auction. To volunteer during the event, please email Margaret Mikkelsen at or call 973-675-2787 (tel:973-675-2787).

Arts Unbound is dedicated to the artistic achievement of people living with disabilities and to the continuing artistic enrichment of seniors. They provide visual arts education and professional development to help emerging artists compete on the retail market. By promoting the work of artists with disabilities and seniors, Arts Unbound centers their art-making rather than any impairments, and by doing so challenges the stigma associated with disability and aging. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10am-4pm, and Saturdays noon-5pm. The Arts Unbound Showcase retail store, located at 100 Baker Street, Maplewood, NJ is open Wednesday through Friday, 11am-6pm, and Saturdays 10am-6pm. (Arts Unbound – 973-675-2787).



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