LINWOOD - After 35 years as a professional photographer, Bill Horin receives as much pleasure giving other artists more exposure and a helping hand as he does working on his own projects.
Earlier this year, Horin, a resident here, founded an organization called ArtC, which is dedicated to promoting the arts in southern New Jersey.
"When I did the magazine (Envision), I was in Philadelphia all the time because we covered Philadelphia too. When I would mention someone from south Jersey, or something in south Jersey, their eyes would glaze over. They looked at me like, 'What? You want me to go where?' I said, 'Seriously, there is some good stuff right here,'" Horin said. "It was such a tough sell to get people to come here because they go on a website and see a terrible website with no photos of anything, and they couldn't find anything. The Internet is obviously the way people look for things nowadays. It's a communication tool."
Horin, 59, founded two magazines ArtBeat and Envision Arts Magazine.
ArtC grew out of Horin's experiences with Envision. The ArtC Website - www.artcnow.com - allows for the flexibility of adding something everyday versus the permanence of a magazine.
On the ArtC website, the arts directory showcases some of the best artists in the area and various arts centers with a focus on Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties and links to the artists and the institutions' websites. A featured artist is profiled. The current artist spotlighted is metal sculptor Bill Clark of Hammonton. Color pictures show what he and his artwork looks like. A video also shows the artist at work and allows the curious to hear artists talk about their craft in their own words. Horin also writes a blog on the site.
An arts calendar details attractions covering the visual and performing arts and events for artists with links to the appropriate websites.
William Ris Gallery in Stone Harbor has its current one-man show by painter Stan Sperlak, of the Goshen section of Middle Township, titled "Nighttime/Daytime At the Jersey Shore," listed on the ArtC Website.
Mary S. Cantone, the William Ris Gallery director, said she was immediately interested in the ArtC project when she heard about it.
"Partnering and networking is an essential component to promoting the arts. The William Ris Gallery is recognized as a destination for fine art, but as there are constantly changing shows and events, the Web is a perfect way to share the news," said Cantone, who is a member of the ArtC advisory board.
It is helpful for the public to know more about the artists who create the artistic work they experience, Cantone said.
"Knowing the face behind the painting, sculpture, photograph, music or book is one step closer to understanding the thought behind the creation. One reason for receptions is to introduce the artists to the guests, forming a bond, which can only enhance interest," Cantone said.
ArtC isn't just a Web initiative.
For instance, ArtC artists met earlier this year with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to discuss the Atlantic City's planned arts district. When the CRDA held a meeting on June 28 at Dante Hall to discuss the results of an artist survey, ArtC was asked to provide artwork as a backdrop, so that it was not a sterile environment when people walked into the room, said Horin, who worked as a photographer at The Press during the 1970s.
"We surrounded them with local art. We did it in a week," Horin said. "That's just a small thing we're doing. We're doing whatever we can. I was planning on doing this (ArtC) anyhow, but when I heard there was going to be an arts district in Atlantic City, it moved up the pace a little bit."
Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, Galloway Township, decided to make ArtC one of its programs because it matches the Noyes' mission, both geographically and artistically, of promoting southern New Jersey artists, said Michael Cagno, the executive director. Also, because of the economic times, it's a win-win for everybody whenever the Noyes can do a joint project, collaboration or partnership, Cagno said.
"It's really a dualistic thing, professional development for the artist and connecting the artwork to the public. There's nothing like that available in south Jersey," Cagno said.
Promoting to artists, or people who appreciate art, is not the same as marketing a mall or outlet stores, Horin said.
"For art, it's a little bit different marketing. It's a little more sophisticated marketing, not only serious, but sometimes, it has to be a little creative and off the wall," Horin said. "We know what the image of Atlantic City is. You can't avoid it. To change people's perception of Atlantic City, you have to recognize what it is to begin with, and I think it's important for the arts to do that. We're never going to be right off the bat considered a serious arts destination. It's going to take a lot of time. Hopefully, that will happen."
Part of ArtC's mission is encouraging, promoting and marketing the best of southern New Jersey's visual and performing arts and providing the tools, programs, support and education to illustrate the distinction between great art and mediocrity. Educational programs targeting both artists and consumers of the arts are a part of this initiative, Horin said.
Sculptor Katherine Stanek, of West Deptford Township, Gloucester County, is a respected artist in her field.
Stanek has had solo exhibitions in Philadelphia. Stanek won the Perez and Mary Epstein Prize in Figurative Sculpture and the Fellowship Trust Prize for Outstanding Achievement, both in 2006. Stanek is on ArtC advisory board and artist list, which links to her Website. Horin also created a 2-minute video of Stanek at work that can be seen through her Website.
ArtC has been a big help to Stanek by making it easier for her to network with other artists.
"I have become aware of, been introduced to and spoken to a number of artists I never even knew existed in south Jersey. That was good," Stanek said. "Through this collaboration, I've gotten to know folks at the William Ris Gallery in south Jersey that I wasn't familiar with before, and I will probably be exhibiting there, and that's something that might not have happened outside of the ArtC program."
Contact Vincent Jackson:
C it, an exhibition of works by artists Greg Bennett, Frank Hyder, Victor Grasso, Frank Kallop, Margaret McCann, Jacqueline Sandro and Lennox Warner, through Aug. 31 at the Noyes Gallery at Hammonton, 5 Second St., Hammonton.
For more information, call 609-561-8006, or www.noyesmuseum.org or
www.artcnow.com. The opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.