To foster recognition of and improve accessibility to visual, written, musical, and theater arts within the Manville community; invigorate the town by creating arts events that attract visitors and local business involvement, spotlights residential and local talent, and create venues to further develop the arts in Manville, New Jersey.
The MAC is a group of Manville residents who have come together to promote and support the arts within our town. Our goal is simple; Build our town and community up by fostering an interest in, and an appreciation for, the arts.
We hope that the residents of Manville and surrounding towns will use this website as a place to find out about local art programming, as well as a spot to promote their own artistic endeavors. The Council is in the process of planning some great things for 2017 and we look forward to sharing them with you, so check back often for announcements.
Heather Ball | President Heather Ball has worked as a professional scenic artist and set designer in the theatre industry for the past twenty years. She began her career running the paint department as George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. After six years and countless plays Heather took time off to have her daughter Ainsley. It was during this maternity leave that Heather discovered a new career path as an educator. In 2008 she became an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Theatre & Dance at Montclair State University. This allowed her to explore what it meant to be a working artist as well as a mentor and educator. After seven years Heather once again took time off for her family. This time it was to welcome her son Wesley into the world. In addition to several theatre projects Heather is currently working on, she is also creating a visual art library of the lost homes of Manville. Using the mediums of acrylic paint and conversation she is attempting to document the stories of the families who have lost their homes due to overwhelming flood damage.
Karen Mc Dermott | Treasurer & Vice President Karen McDermott is a mom, special education teacher, and a founding member of the Manville Arts Council. The arts have always played a significant role in Karen’s life. She has been drawn to the visual arts since she was old enough to grasp a crayon, was so excited about the magic of the written word she taught herself to read before she was old enough for school, and her childhood home was filled with music and musicians. As a student, she frequently submitted her work to literary magazines and visual arts festivals. As an adult, she continues to seek ways to develop her skills and to support others who are also drawn to create.
Beth Borrus | Secretary Born in NJ, Beth Borrus has spent much of her adult life in other places. She attended Boston University for two years, then moved to New Orleans, and later, San Diego, where she completed her undergraduate degree at the famed writing program at UCSD, where she received the Stewart Prize in Literature, having studied with writers such as Charles Bernstein, Fanny Howe and Rae Armantrout.
Borrus attended “Camp Kerouac,” the Summer Writing Institute at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado in 1987, and returned in 1988 as a member of the school’s fledgling MFA program, where she had the opportunity to work with cultural icons such as Allen Ginsberg, Harry Smith and Marianne Faithfull, as well as the talented members of her cohort.
Borrus later returned to San Diego, completed her postgraduate work, then moved back to New Jersey, where she obtained her teaching credential in Special Education. She worked for the next three years in the Newark Public Schools as a teacher of preschoolers with autism, and frequented the myriad poetry readings that enlivened NJ and NY at the time. A collection of her poetry, Fast Divorce Bankruptcy, was published in 1994 by Incommunicado Press, followed by a cross-country odyssey and reading tour in the summer of 1995. During this period, her poetry was published in a number of literary publications throughout the U.S.
A summer trip to Paris in 1996 inspired Borrus to pursue a position in international education, and in August, 1997, she relocated to Bahia, Brazil, where she taught English as a foreign language for the next nine years while learning to speak Brazilian Portuguese and immersing herself in the local culture. Borrus returned to the US, and New Jersey, in the summer of 2006, with her son Mateus, then six. Since then, she has been working with special education students at the middle school level.
Borrus purchased a home in Manville in 2008, and began exploring the opportunities that Somerset County offers. A longtime closeted songwriter/ guitarist, in June of 2009, Borrus joined New Jersey Acoustic Music in the Park, a Meetup group for local amateur musicians, which ultimately led to the formation of GirlJam. This all-female band with a unique repertoire has played at a variety of venues in Central Jersey for the past several years. Borrus continues to play open mikes as a solo act while enjoying frequent appearances as the lead singer/ guitarist for GirlJam. She continues to travel with her son, exploring the US and returning frequently to Brazil. She is currently working on a memoir of her first year in Bahia, with the working title Eating Water.
Amy Hartmann-Ohlson | Programs & Assistant Secretary Growing up in an artistic family, Amy Hartmann-Ohlson’s earliest memories are filled with exploration of creativity. She has a BFA in ceramics and a masters in art education. Amy is currently an elementary art educator at Weston and Roosevelt Schools. With clay, Amy uses various materials (raku, stoneware, earthenware, and porcelain) and fires her work in electric, raku, and gas kilns. From her first experience with clay, she became fascinated by it and this feeling has never left her. Playing as a child with clay dug up from the backyard set the stage for a lifelong relationship with the material. As an adult, she appreciates its connection as a substance that is both ancient and contemporary, as well as the bond between humans and the earth. Her vessels allude to her early interest in functional ceramics, while providing a vehicle for sculptural exploration. Inspiration is derived from childhood memories, calligraphy of ancient texts, colors, textures, and shapes from the natural world, and contemporary paintings. The longevity of ceramics merits respect. Amy has been with her high school sweetheart for over 20 years whom she married and now has three children.
Sharon Onderko | Media & Technology Sharon Onderko's earliest memory with art was "drawing horses with my Dad on our living room wall just before he put up paneling." After graduating Manville High, Sharon went to art school at Villa Maria College in Buffalo NY, where she studied graphic design and received a degree in commercial art. Her work career began at a photography lab, processing film and working with photographers in the area. Sharon moved on to work 10 years in an advertising agency as a graphic designer then as an art director of an in-house art department in a corporate office. This was all before computer graphics hit the big time. Self-taught in computer graphics, Sharon works with Photoshop and InDesign for a business in Somerville, maintaining the company website and designing all the marketing materials. Sharon has an appreciation for art history. She has been married to her husband Rich for 30+ years.