A FALL BOUNTY OF GALLERY SHOWS

The Red Bank Holiday Art Walk takes to the streets once more on November 24. Norman Rockwell protege Peter Caras, right, joins some formidable colleagues this Saturday at Middletown Arts Center.

When Hurricane Sandy threw the entire Jersey Shore into a Dark Ages interlude of blackouts, curfews, detours, closings and major transportation issues, nearly every scheduled event this side of Thanksgiving was forced to take a step back.

But according to gallery curator Robert Langdon, rumors of the postponement of this month’s Red Bank Art Walk have been greatly exaggerated. In fact the November 24 re-appearance of the pavement-pounding promenade represents a resource that can help the borough “recapture its vibrance, especially after the recent devastation Monmouth County suffered from Hurricane Sandy,” he said in an email to redbankgreen.

Taking place on from 5 to 9 pm onNational Small Business Day, the holiday edition of the recently revived art walk brings together some 20 borough-based galleries, upscale retailers, restaurants and places of worship for a four hour, self-guided walking tour organized under the theme “A Gift of Art is a Gift of the Heart.” Langdon’s Gallery U (where the group show Cornucopia opens with a 6 to 9 pm reception on Friday, November 23) joins with such traditional (and non-traditional) artspaces as the Art Alliance of Monmouth County, Beacon Fine Arts Gallery, Frame to Please, Studio 25, Gallery 135 at the Red Bank Community Church (the second-story “storefront” house of worship in the Prown’s building on Monmouth Street), Jamian’s Food and Drink, as well as Garmany, Amy Manor Interior Design and several other art-friendly venues. Street maps (featuring the participating Art Walk locations plus recommended places to dine) will be made available to those who stroll and/or roll — and there’s even a trolley shuttle service running between the various locations.

The virtual art walk continues in and around the greater Red Bank Green this weekend, with a special event in Middletown (rescheduled from the bleak beginning days of November), as well as ongoing exhibits in Shrewsbury, Lincroft, Little Silver and downtown Red Bank…

Shrewsbury-based photographer Arthur Petrosemolo presents his images of ‘Afghan Children: The Next Generation‘ in an exhibit at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library.

SATURDAY: CARAS AND COLLEAGUES: An Exhibition and Sale Celebrating the 85th Anniversary of the duCret School of Art.  Although the Middletown Cultural & Arts Center (adjacent to the train station on Church Street) weathered the wrath of Sandy like the solidly constructed storage warehouse it once was, the subsequent regional state of emergency pushed back the opening of this eagerly awaited event for two weeks. A salute to New Jersey’s oldest not-for-profit art education facility (the Plainfield-based duCret School of Art), the “semi-formal and free admission public event” brings together a formidable collection of artworks that include some rare originals and signed items by no less a figure than Norman Rockwell.

The master illustrator is represented in the art sale by autographed posters, collectible press packets, pencil studies and an exceedingly rare WWII era poster (commissioned and printed, but rejected and destroyed by the military) that may be the sole copy in existence. This last is from the collection of Peter Caras, a Rockwell protegee as a young man and a veteran duCret faculty member who’s lectured extensively on the life and work of his legendary mentor.

Longtime locals may be interested in several original paintings by the late James Avati — the internationally renowned illustrator who employed many of his Red Bank friends and neighbors as models for a slew of classic book covers produced at his old Broad Street studio (redbankgreen looked back at the King of the Paperbacks in a 2011 feature you’ll find here). Also featured during the 6pm to 9 pm reception will be live music, refreshments, and silent auction offering up limited edition signed prints, pen and pencil roughs, and an Apple iPad (engraved “Imagine Peace – Love Yoko”) accompanied by a signed photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Several November lectures keyed to the duCret event have been postponed or rescheduled, with the Middletown Arts & Cultural Center serving as host venue for two of them on Saturday, December 1: a demonstration of Comic and Fantasy Illustration by Mark Romanoski (11 am) and a presentation on “Rockwell and the Art of Illustration” by Caras (2 pm). Previously announced presentations by animal art specialist Leslie Delgyer and Renaissance painting expert Michael Donato have been postponed indefinitely.

Photos by Arthur Petrosemolo in Shrewsbury. A resident of Shrewsbury, Arthur Petrosemolo didn’t have to travel far to find a friendly venue for his work in the borough-based Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library — but for the installation entitled Afghan Children: The Next Generation, the veteran lensman (and member of the administrative staff at Fairleigh Dickinson U) accompanied National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry on a 2006 assignment to Kabul and Bamiyan, and the resulting portraits of children in the war zone (and the photojournalist at work in a strange and often hostile land) are as haunting as they are illuminating. Exhibit remains on display through November in the library’s lobby, during regular hours of operation.

Bad Ass Photography at Beasty Burgers. The inaugural installation in a new artist of the month series at Beasty Burgers (inside No Joe’s Cafe on Broad Street), the exhibit of work from Chris and Suzanne LoBue of CLB Photography (“the creative force behind ‘Bad Ass’ Engagement Photos”) remains on display throughout November as a way for Beasty Chef Mike Ross and Colleen Finnegan to “engage the restaurant’s customers with fun and creative opportunities that connect them as a community.” Plans are for future artist of the month offerings to open on the second Wednesday of each month, with a reception that features food discounts for artists and their supporters.

A Blend of Art, at Middletown Main Library. The big branch of the MTPL hosts an opening reception for the November exhibit in the Community Room; a group show of works by members of A Blend of Art Society, with the exhibit remaining on display during regular library hours, through November 25.

Holiday Express in Pictures, at Monmouth Museum. Ready or not, we’re just days away from the annual Town Lighting event that keynotes the holiday season in Red Bank — an event for which the switch is thrown by a free outdoor concert starring the magnificent music machine that is Holiday Express. The Wall of Sound (and force of goodwill) founded and fronted by Tim McLoone enters the 2012 season having shared many of the same losses and challenges experienced by the hardest-hit members of our Sandy-savaged community — and on display now at the Monmouth Museum  (on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) is a collection of images by award winning photographer Scott Longfield, documenting the homegrown phenomenon in action on its ongoing mission. Exhibit remains on display during regular Museum hours through December 2.

Luhrs Art Exhibit in Little Silver. Little Silver Borough Hall (at 480 Prospect Avenue) is once again the setting for the H. & E. Luhrs Annual Art Exhibit, the multi-media how of local artworks presented by the nonprofit Art Society of Monmouth County, and recognizing artists in the local area through the awarding of monetary gifts through the Luhrs Endowment Fund. Exhibit remains on display through December 27 during regular hours of operation (8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday); call (732)842-2400 or check here for more info.