Visions and Dreams, a Message from Judy
Dream Big…Reach for the sky! These words are such a cliché these days, but my late husband, Lennie Pierro and I, we believed in these words and lived our life reaching out for things important to us. As artists, we laughed and thrived with art being an important part of our daily life. We also believed in having a strong bond to our community and the impact the arts can have with the individual and village we lived in. The Gallery of South Orange (opened in 1994 as part of the Village’s newly appointed Cultural Affairs Department and renamed the Pierro Gallery in 2002), was born with a team of volunteers in two months with 800 people attending the opening for An Artist’s Response to the Holocaust by artist Jo Jochnowitz. The gallery was born based on our dream. I was gallery director as well as Cultural Affairs Director from that original dream…dreams lead to visions.
The Pierro Foundation launched in 2002 to honor Lennie at his passing. Our first initiative was also based on a dream, Lennie’s dream: to bring a sculpture by 3rd generation resident, the late Tony Smith, to his hometown of South Orange. TAU was installed in 2008 in Meadowland Park (go to tonysmithsouthorange.org for details.) The Pierro Foundation has remained committed to bring art programming to the area every year since and making it accessible to all. We continue to believe in the importance of the bond between art and community.
I continue to dream and bring to reality the visions possible. Bringing art to the people, out from the four walls of a gallery and into the park, the downtown plazas, right into the duck pond in the park, also allowed regional sculptors to experience their vision as reality. Drawing on my experiences as an arts administrator and gallery director who encountered the occasional outcry of a protest lead to the commissioning of 3 original plays, a panel discussion with prominent people including Dread Scott, the renowned artist, and an exhibition I co-curated with intergenerational, inter-racial artists, all centered on the theme of public art and the controversy it often faces. I dreamed of bringing world renowned artists, Kiki and Seton Smith, back to their hometown with an exhibition of their work. This tribute can also bring the dream of possibilities to our residents, knowing that their one time neighbors reached great heights in their work.
What programming is in store from the Pierro Foundation in the future? Who knows for sure? The realm of possibilities is endless, the unexplored ideas are open and out there, waiting to be presented. The goal is simple: to bring a deep and vital artistic experience to a broad range of residents, visitors, and participating artists through a diverse and engaging program accessible to everyone.
I thank all the people who jumped on board, donated, volunteered, and made dreams come true for all of us. And I welcome those yet to come and join the vision. Who knows?
With my best wishes and dreams,