August 12, 2020

Virtual Festival Celebrates New Brunswick Arts, Culture

CELEBRATING CULTURE: Christina and Andrés of 123 Andrés are among the performers at the upcoming online festival that gives an in-depth look at the arts in New Brunswick. (Photo by David Rugeles)

On Saturday, August 15 from 3-7 p.m. the inaugural, virtual New Brunswick HEART Festival will be presented by State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick Cultural Center, New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC), and Above Art Studios. Hosted by New Jersey Radio Hall of Famer Bert Baron and co-founder of CPR Live, Sharon Gordon, the event was created to celebrate the vibrant arts and history that New Brunswick and the County of Middlesex has to offer.

To watch, go to

The online festivities will include music, dance, and spoken word performances; a behind-the-scenes look inside the local theater and visual arts scene; a close-up of Middlesex County’s history; interviews with artists and arts and community leaders; a craft-making session; yoga; and more.

“We are so proud and honored to bring together so many amazing arts and community partners for the first ever New Brunswick HEART festival,” said festival organizers Tracey O’Reggio-Clark from New Brunswick Cultural Center and the Arts Institute of Middlesex County; Kelly Blithe from State Theatre New Jersey; and Dontae Muse from Above Art Studios. “As many arts institutions are struggling during this global pandemic, it is more important than ever to showcase the arts and the profound impact that they have on our lives and our community.”

Performers include 123 Andrés, the Latin duo Christina and Andrés, presented by the State Theatre; New Brunswick band Sonido Latino, led by Manuel Castaneda,; jazz group Jerry Weldon Quartet, presented by New Brunswick Jazz Project; Silent Knight, local emcee from the Band Called Fuse; spoken word poet Justan Mitchell; classical singer Elise Brancheau; tap dancer Omar Edwards from Crossroads Theatre Company’s FLY; emcee DRKBXT; and the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra.

Other events and activities include a behind-the-scenes look at NBPAC member company George Street Playhouse and an interview with Managing Director Kelly Ryman; a yoga session with Carla Haynes from Garden of Healing; an intro to ballet class led by American Repertory Ballet; a virtual tour of Above Art Studios by Co-Founder Dontae Muse; a butterfly craft-making session with Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University; and poems on social justice, written and performed by New Brunswick Public School students, hosted by the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick. The festival also includes an in-depth look at East Jersey Old Town featuring an interview with Middlesex County, Division Head-Historic Sites and History Services Mark Nonesteid; and a virtual tour of New Brunswick murals, put together by the New Brunswick Community Arts Council.

For more information, visit or call (908) 917-2862.