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Return to Art: The Montgomery Art Council’s Annual Pop-Up Exhibit

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted October 17, 2023

Montgomery Arts Council is hosting its annual Return to Art, a three-day visual arts exhibition and sale, from October 27 through October 29. It will feature 25-plus local and regional artists. “Being in our third year for this event is truly exciting,” says Belle Mead resident Karen Tuveson, chairperson of the Montgomery Arts Council.

“We’ve been receiving terrific feedback from artists, attendees, and community leaders at each of our events. It’s great to see progress towards reaching our goal of supporting local artists while bringing tourism, culture, and creative collaboration to Montgomery.”

Sentinel Sycamores, 21x17, Acrylic on stretched canvas by Wayne R. Mathisen

Township Committee Member Dennis Ahn adds, “The Montgomery Arts Council (MAC) helps foster a local art scene and creates opportunities for area residents to engage through the arts. MAC events give our residents access to local artists to learn and develop a greater appreciation for the arts.”

Return to Art will be held at 1060 State Road, Montgomery Township, just south of the Princeton Airport entrance. The event kicks off with a ticketed reception to meet the artists on Friday, October 27 from 6 to 9 pm, with live jazz, light hors d’oeuvres, and wine. Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29, the free exhibit will be open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm. Tickets for the reception can be purchased at or at the door. Proceeds from Return to Art will be directed towards future community-based Arts Council programs.

Featured Artists

Joseph Petrovics is a sculptor who mainly works with wood and stone for his medium. He grew up in Jaszfenyszaru, Hungary before moving to Princeton with his family in 1988. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest where he received his MFA in Sculpture. After moving to the U.S. he has worked as a Studio Director in New York City for over 30 years, while also continuing his own artistic work.

Joseph Petrovics is known for his sculptures, but his recent work involves oil painting on hand-carved wood.

From 2003 to 2006, as the lead sculptor of the team, Petrovics worked on the official 9/11 Firefighters Memorial Wall at Ground Zero, New York City. The bas-relief is 6-feet high by 56-feet long. Joseph sculpted the Memorial Wall from the clay model through to the bronze finishing of the monument. Joseph continues his work as a sculptor at his home in Skillman. He is also a studio instructor with the Newington-Cropsey Foundation & Academy of Art in Hastings-On-Hudson, NY.

More info at

Clem Fiori is a freelance photographer, artist, woodworker, writer and environmentalist. With a degree in English Literature from Rutgers University, he has worked for many years as the principal photographer for Princeton University’s Art Museum.

Vase made from osage wood by Clem Fiori.

Fiori’s recent photography is abstract in nature, focusing on minute details of landscape and isolating forms and patterns of movement that imitate the greater patterns of earth’s surface observed by satellite and space telescope imagery. “My quest for the abstract in the real explores the spiritual effects of water and wood.” His artistic work has close parallels to his conservation efforts. He has been chairman of the Montgomery Township Open Space Committee since it was formed in 1989. In addition, he serves as a trustee of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, an advisor to the Montgomery Friends of Open Space and works regularly on special landscape restoration projects with the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

More info at

Hunterdon County resident Sandy Ross is a fine art photographer with a passion for capturing the beauty of local people, animals, plant life, and bucolic scenery. Ross says she is “interested in making images that contribute to stewardship of the earth.”

She scopes out what makes the world interesting, remarkable, and appealing. She says she is inspired by a desire to better understand human evolution and land use. Toward this goal, she earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in landscape design and land management “Landscape does not always mean terra-firma,” she adds. “It can be terra-incognita or terra-infirma, which draws from our complex interior spaces and fantastical places where imagined feelings and experiences are uncovered as we live them.” Ross’s photography includes: Private portraiture commissions for preserving a personal legacy, in which she documents and interprets a client’s cherished property, family, pet, or special events. Ross also creates family heirlooms for her clients in the form of elegant prints, albums, and artist’s books.

More info at

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For Nicholas Mistretta, it’s about being creative. He says he is heavily influenced by classic pin-up of the 1950s and 60s. “I’ve long been inspired by photographers such as Bunny Yeager, Celeste Guiliano, Annie Liebovitz, and Helmut Newton.

A senior portrait of a MHS graduate Jai Narula. Photograph by Nicholas Mistretta.

I tend to like edgy black-and-white Noir style imagery. His work is geared primarily the commercial market, including high school seniors, engagement, maternity, glamour, and boudoir.

Wayne R. Mathisen has said, “It is my belief that God has created an awesome universe that we can appreciate and enjoy. I can only scratch the surface to re-create a small vision of that. He has given me a talent to put it on canvas, and I hope you can receive a small amount of joy from these paintings and artwork.”

Bridge Over the Delaware River, Acrylic. By Wayne R. Mathisen.

Mathisen has been a Montgomery- area resident since 1961. (His father owned the now closed Country Carpet store on Route 206 in Belle Mead.) After a 43-year career with Sears, Mathisen is now free to focus full-time on his art. Much of his work depicts local scenes and scenery.

Learn more at his Facebook page.

Don Campbell is an artist specializing in portrait and figurative sculptures. His medium of choice is water-based clay. “A storyteller in clay” is how he describes himself, with each sculpture telling as many stories as there are people who cast their gaze.

Three sculptures by Don Campbell.

Campbell’s artistic and creative influences include Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, a sculptor who was instrumental in introducing the Baroque period in the 1600s; Otto Scharmer, MIT professor and co-creator of the Theory U process for developing creativity through deep listening; and “presencing.” His studio is located at Foxbrook Farm, 106 Aunt Molly Road in Hopewell.

List of Artists

Jean Best:

Richard Campanale:

Inna Dzhanibekova:

Hyewon Gahng (No website)

Susan Gilli:

Emily Gilman-Beezley:

Donna Grande:

Spriha Gupta:

Michael Knesevitch:

Modupe Odusote:

Sophie Orloff (No website)

Erika Rachel:

Alice Sims-Guzenhauer:

Bernadette Suski-Harding:

Karen Tuveson:


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