rbrartWorks by Shrewsbury artists Chelsea Moore (THE BIKE RIDE. left), Hong Yang (WORDS OF WISDOM, right) and other Red Bank Regional students are on display at the Guild of Creative Art beginning Friday.

So we’ve just about made it out the lamb-y end of March, and as the greater Red Bank Green awaits that new grass on the field, we step gingerly over the remnants from the last of the St. Pat’s Pub Crawls on a cultural constitutional that can only be called the April Art Walk.

Starting with… Friday, April the no-fooling First, which marks the first phase of an annual tradition at the Shrewsbury-based Guild of Creative Art — a two-part exhibit that spotlights the work of the most talented young artists from two of our local high schools in a professional-quality gallery setting. Beginning with a reception from 6 to 8p, and continuing through April 13 at the art collective’s Broad Street headquarters, the Guild showcases seniors from the Red Bank Regional High School Visual and Performing Art Academy’s Commercial Art Program, under the supervision of RBR Commercial Art teacher Claudia O’Connor. Featured are drawings, paintings and pastels by Kelly Conley, Kelly McWatters, Chelsea Moore, Andrea Squassi and Hong Yang (all of Shrewsbury), as well as  Jessica Cresanti-Daknis (Oceanport) and Anthony Lee (Neptune City). Then on April 15, it’s an opening reception for an exhibit of artworks by students from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, a display that continues at the Guild through April 27.

There’s much more where that came from, of course, and it’s on view with just a step past the virtual velvet rope.

bellero-flared-vase1-copyRed Bank mudslinger Lauren Bellero handcrafted this flared ceramic vessel, just one of many objects of beauty spotlighted during the 41st annual Monmouth Festival of the Arts, an April tradition in Tinton Falls.

SATURDAY: Clay Rice at River Road Books. The Fair Haven book emporium (and cultural cornerstone) hosts an award-winning illustrator who carries on a family tradition established by his grandfather, Carew Rice — an artist described by premier poet Carl Sandburg as “America’s greatest silhouettist.” Crafting cut-paper profile portraits of children in “about one minute,” Rice displays his rarely encountered craft in person between the hours of 10a and 3p. Reservations are required for one of the artist’s PDQ portrait sittings, and can be made by calling (732) 747-9455 or emailing.

SATURDAY: Opening Reception at the Art Alliance. The first weekend of a new month means a change of scenery at the Art Alliance of Monmouth County — and here in April, the all-volunteer co-op gallery in downtown Red Bank rolls out a dual-themed show centering on SURREALISM NOW and the UN-OBVIOUS abstraction of a common object. An opening reception will be presented between 6 and 9p on April 2 — with this month’s featured window artist and judge being Long Island-based Jo-ellen Trilling, an intriguing fantasist (with a cold and cutting “glint of danger”) whose “haunting fairytale landscapes, densely inhabited by costumed animals, manufactured toys and assorted magical beings, invite us into a world humming with a meaning tantalizingly just out of reach.” The guest artist will be presenting a demo titled “Un-Real Estate of Mind” at Saturday night’s event, and refreshments will be served.

SATURDAY: The ART OF JAZZ Gala at Butterfly Fine Arts. April, as you may or may not have known, is traditionally National Jazz Month — and for the past several years, Red Bank’s own globe-trotting jazz scholar, conductor, arranger and producer Joe Muccioli has marked the occasion here in the Basie-birthing borough with such special offerings as a Talkin’ Jazz lecture series. Here, the Man Called Mooch and his fellow founders of the Jazz Arts Project present a month-long marriage of sublime sounds and images hosted at Natalia Belaya‘s Butterfly gallery at 116 Broad Street. Presented under the banner The Art of Jazz, it’s an exhibit of original jazz-themed artworks by visionaries both local and national (including clarinetist Pee Wee Russell and Red Bank’s own Bobbie Kingsley), along with a display of memorabilia on loan from the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers — a fantastic collection that includes such treasures as a trumpet owned and played by no less than Miles Davis. This Saturday night from 7 to 10p, it’s a gala benefit for the Jazz Arts Project’s Educational Workshops and Programs for Youth — a recently inaugurated set of workshops, master classes and special showcase concerts for middle and high school age jazz musicians from around the region. Admission to Saturday’s gala ($50) includes a selection of fine wines and hors d’oeuvres, as well as what you can be assured is some truly tremendous live jazz music.

TUESDAY, April 5: Ruth Crown Memorial Art Show at Middletown Main Library. The big branch of the MTPL hosts the Art Society of Monmouth County‘s annual group show (sponsored by Jack Crown as a memorial to his late wife Ruth), on display between April 5 and May 1 inside the library’s Community Room. An opening reception will be held Saturday, April 9, between 1 and 3p — and the Art Society meets the third Wednesday of each month (except for June, July and August) at the historic Monmouth Beach Cultural Center on Ocean Avenue.

mandalasRobyn Ellenbogen offers some digitally crafted MANDALAS FOR AN UNCERTAIN WORLD, as the April exhibit at Joel McFadden Designs on White Street.

SATURDAY, April 9: Second Saturdays at Joel McFadden Designs. The concept of Second Saturdays continues to crystallize at the award-winning custom jewelry studio Joel McFadden Designs on 32 White Street, with the monthly salon showcase of work by local artists centering in April around the crystalline creations of Robyn Ellenbogen. An engaging abstract painter and sculptor known for her tireless efforts on behalf of local arts orgs (as well as for her art-therapy work with the developmentally disabled), the Long Branch-based Ellenbogen has opened up the digital toolbox for a display of “Mandalas for an Uncertain World,” a vivid collection of archival inkjet prints that “convey a spirit of unity and wholeness…they require no adherence to a specific belief system but suggest an antidote for these difficult times using contemplative images, rich in reference, form and pattern.” Attendees are invited to enjoy complimentary wine and meet the artist at a reception between 7 and 9p, and a portion of all sales from the show (displayed through May 11) will be donated to the Art Group at The ARC of Monmouth’s Work Opportunity Center in Long Branch.

SATURDAY, April 9 through April 13: MONMOUTH FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS. Its organizers characterize it as “arguably the most popular and professional juried art show in the area supporting artists as well as art education” — but one point that can’t be argued is that the Monmouth Festival of the Arts has turned the whole format of the indoor art fair, expo and symposium into something of an art form in itself. The 41st annual edition of the MFA returns to Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, beginning with a gala reception on April 9 and continuing during daytime hours through Wednesday, April 13 — an event in which “over 215 artists from all over the Northeast will display their art in a variety of mediums including jewelry, ceramics, sculptured art, oils, watercolor, pastels, mixed media and fine crafts.”  

Just a few of the talented folks involved with this year’s MFA are sought-after exhibition consultant Daniel Reiser (returning for a second year as the show designer), plus writer, producer and NPR personality Julie Burstein, appearing on Tuesday evening, April 12 to discuss her new nonfiction book SPARK. A Family Day slate of activities on April 10 offers performances by Middletown’s Jim Racioppi and his quietly awesome Paper Moon Puppet Theatre, as well as music from The Monmouth Symphony Orchestra‘s Monmouth Winds ensemble. Check the event website for full schedule, hours and details; daily ticket prices are $8 for adults (series tickets available for $18) and admission to the April 9 gala is $65 at the door.

SATURDAY, April 16: SINNERS AND SAINTS at RBCC. The Sistine Chapel had a ceiling painter by the name of Michelangelo — and the Red Bank Community Church (the “storefront” house of worship in the Prown’s building on Monmouth Street) has its own resident visionary in the person of Swiss-born artist and co-pastor Gerda Liebmann. An experienced designer and a worker in paint, photos and large-scale multimedia installations, Liebmann has assembled two major art exhibits each year at the church she founded with husband “Pastor Lenny” Liebmann — and beginning at 3p on April 16, the artist invites the public to a free reception for a display of “works that explore the theme of spiritual duality: good and evil, light and darkness, order and disorder.” There’s live music as well, from New York-based singer and songwriter Brooke Campbell; call (732) 872-0056 for more info.