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College of the Arts Introduces Arts and Health Graduate Certificate Program


First of its kind in New Jersey, the innovative program partners with Atlantic Health System, beginning fall 2015.

The College of the Arts, in partnership with the Atlantic Health System, one of the largest health care organizations in New Jersey, is pleased to launch a new Arts and Health Graduate Certificate program, which is designed to merge arts instruction, research, performance and training with the fields of healthcare and the medical humanities. Arts and Health students will be trained to bring the arts experience to patients, health care providers, and the communities they serve.

The first of its kind in New Jersey, the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Health  will prepare a range of professionals to work in the growing field of arts and health. The program came to fruition through the Arts and Health Partnership, which launched in 2013, a collaboration between the College of the Arts’ Office of Education and Community Outreach and Atlantic Health System. It will be co-administered through the School of Communication and Media with Dr. Christine Lemesianou serving as graduate program coordinator.

“The partnership between Atlantic Health System and Montclair State University has led to its first certificate program, which responds to an increasing demand among arts professionals searching for career development within the health care field,” said College of the Arts Dean Daniel Gurskis,” as well as medical professionals interested in exploring ways that the arts can be used in comprehensive health care and community wellness.”

“As the arts and health care continue to complement one another in new ways, there will be a growing demand for career education that reflects both of these aspects,” said Maria Lupo, manager of Healing Arts at Atlantic Health System. “Montclair State University’s College of the Arts has truly embraced this growing field, and we are proud to partner with them.”

Students will explore special topics in arts and health such as advocacy, cultural diversity and communities, arts marketing, health literacy and ethical issues in arts and health. Instructors will guide students in best practices for arts-based programs in community and healthcare settings in addition to the application of evidence-based methodologies to assess them.

The academic program for the certificate consists of five three-credit graduate-level courses, which can be completed within a 12-month period. Students may also register for individual courses for continuing education credits without pursuing the completion of the certificate program..

Courses for the certificate program will be held on Montclair State’s campus with instruction by College of the Arts faculty in conjunction with Atlantic Health System leadership and medical professionals. Coursework will also include online instruction as well as observation and fieldwork that will take place at Atlantic Health System facilities or other university-approved sites.

Although this certificate program is not intended for those who require full professional training for licensure or certification in any of the Expressive Arts Therapies or related disciplines, current data shows that there is demand for professionals with experience in arts and health initiatives, and an understanding of how current health or community practices can be elevated through the arts.

For more information please visit the Arts and Health Certificate Program page.

To learn more about the Atlantic Health System partnership please click here.

2nd Annual Healing Voices Literary Readings Presented at L. Howard Fox Theatre

The second annual Healing Voices Literary Readings, presented by Montclair State University and Atlantic Health System’s Arts and Health Partnership, took place on May 27 in the L. Howard Fox Theatre. The event honored the winners and participants of the 2015 Healing Voices Literary Contest, which was open to university faculty, staff and students as well as Atlantic Health System employees. This year’s contest theme was community.

Award-winning author Sharon Dennis Wyeth of Montclair hosted the program that featured readings of original work written by contest winners and participants including Lynda Ranieri (AHS Diabetes and Endocrine Institute, 1st Place/Poetry – “The Meeting”); Diane Delaney (Newton Medical Center, 1st Place/Prose – “Irish America”); Sandra Manci (Overlook Medical Center, 2nd Place/Poetry – “I Belong”); Lauren Bozzi (Class of 2015 MSU Graduate, 2nd Place/Prose – “My Community”); Susan Durant (Morristown Medical Center, 3rd Place/Poetry – “Imagine the Body of the Operating Room”); Jean Marie Rosone (Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, 3rd Place/Prose – “The Rock Jar”); Gloria Chappelle (Atlantic Rehabilitation, Poetry – “Welcome to Our Community!”); and Karla Tramutola (Morristown Medical Center, Prose – “Secret Bond”).


Participants of the 2015 Healing Voices Literary Readings pose with author and host Sharon Dennis Wyeth


Lauren Medici, Healing Arts, AHS; author Sharon Dennis Wyeth; Dania Ramos, Education & Community Outreach, MSU


Winners Announced for the 2015 Healing Voices Literary Contest

The Atlantic Health and Montclair State Arts & Health Partnership has announced the winners of the 2015 Healing Voices Literary Contest. A total of six winners were selected — first through third place in poetry and prose. Lauren Bozzi, a senior in the School of Communication and Media, won second place in the prose category.

The contest was open to university faculty, staff and students as well as Atlantic Health System employees. This year’s theme was community.


1st Place
“The Meeting” by Lynda Ranieri
Atlantic Health System Diabetes and Endocrine Institute

2nd Place
“I Belong” by Sandra Manci
Overlook Medical Center

3rd Place
“Imagine the Body of the Operating Room” by Susan Durant
Morristown Medical Center


1st Place
“Irish America” by Diane Delaney
Newton Medical Center

2nd Place
“My Community” by Lauren Bozzi
Montclair State University, School of Communication and Media Student

3rd Place
“The Rock Jar” by Jean Marie Rosone
Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center

The other Montclair State participants were Kevin Milton (student), Tracy Novak (student), Amber Lowry (student), Sabrina Mayo (student), and Brett Albert (student).

Read all works submitted to this year’s Healing Voices Literary Contest here.

This year’s winners and participants will be featured in the Healing Voices Literary Readings on Wednesday, May 27 in the L. Howard Fox Theatre at 6:30pm. For more information, please contact Dania Ramos at

Real Beauty: Uncovered Exhibition in Life Hall

Montclair State University is hosting Dani Allen’s photography exhibition Real Beauty: Uncovered in the Life Hall Exhibition Space throughout March.

real-beauty-collage 2015The exhibit promotes the understanding that beauty comes from within a woman. Photographer Dani Allen captures women barefaced, real, and honest without any alterations or touch up.

The project was co-created with Madeline McCann-Thompson and Dr. Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel.

For more information, please visit: or view this news feature: Real Beauty: Uncovered on Fios News.

5th Annual Healing Arts Coalition Conference: “Growing Up Autism” at the Montclair Art Museum

photo 1

Dr. Gerard Costa, Director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health

On November 21, the Atlantic Health System and Montclair State University Arts and Health Partnership sponsored the 5th Annual Healing Arts Coalition Conference: Growing Up Autism at the Montclair Art Museum. The free conference attracted over 150 people including family members of children and young adults on the autism spectrum as well as caregivers, art therapists, teaching artist, and mental health professionals.

Dr. Gerard Costa, founding Director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, spoke about the latest research in the fields of autism and neurodiversity. The other featured speakers were Dr. Chris Lynch (Psychologist, Goryeb Children’s Hospital), Madeleine Goldfarb (Executive Director, Noah’s Ark Institute), Danny Marian (Coordinator of Music Therapy, AHS), and Liz Seaton (Teaching Artist, Montclair Art Museum). Special guest Justin Canha, an accomplished artist who happens to be autistic, answered audience questions about his experiences as an artist and art instructor. You can see samples of Justin’s work here.

For more information about the Arts and Health Partnership please visit our webpage.

MSU/AHS Arts and Health Partnership Movement Workshop for Caregivers

DSCN1055Montclair State University and Atlantic Health System’s Arts and Health Partnership hosted a movement workshop led by award-winning choreographer Liz Lerman. The workshop was held on September 26 at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ. Several MSU student dance majors served as assistants throughout the two-hour program.

The workshop was offered in conjunction with Peak Performances’s production of Healing Wars, which weaves narratives from the Civil War and modern wars, and includes several depictions of historical and present-day caregivers. Ms. Lerman built upon the concept of using movement to convey the caregiver’s story by inviting the twenty-two participants to infuse their own experiences into the guided movement exercises.

Liz Lerman’s biography states that a “key aspect of her artistry is opening her process to various publics […] resulting in both research and outcomes that are participatory, relevant, urgent, and usable by others.” Liz Lerman was awarded a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance, and the 2014 Dance/USA Honor Award. She is the founder of Dance Exchange, an intergenerational dance company.

(Photo by Kathleen Reddington.)

Earl Mosley’s Hearts of Men Opens September 6

Hearts of Men is the culmination of a two-week intergenerational dance intensive for men ages 14 to 80 directed by Fredrick Earl Mosley on the MSU campus. Dances of community and inspiration are the fruits of this collaboration between men, young and not so young. Octogenarian Dudley Williams, a legendary principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will be a featured guest artist.

Hearts of Men runs Saturday, September 6 at 7:30pm and Sunday, September 7 at 2:00pm. For tickets visit the Peak Performances box office website.

Check out this feature on Wired Jersey, Gentrix Shanga, producer – Hearts of Men: Choreographer Fredrick Earl Mosley.

Shanghai Theatre Academy and MSU College of the Arts Film Exchange

shanghaitheater_smallThis past July and August, film students from the Shanghai Theater Academy and Montclair State University’s College of the Arts collaborated on the short film Forever Shakespeare.

The project and the student filmmakers were featured in The Montclair Times (full article here) and Wired Jersey (featured story here).

Follow the link to view the documentary The Making of Forever Shakespeare.

Arts and Health Partnership June Events

The Montclair State University and Atlantic Health System Arts and Partnership finished its inaugural year with two on-campus events last month.

A closing event was held on June 6 in Kasser Theatre during a pre-show reception for the Peak Performances production of Liz Queler’s Still Will Be Heard. Daniel Gurskis (CART Dean), Joseph Trunfio (President/CEO, AHS), and William Neigher (Vice President of System Development, AHS) spoke about partnership accomplishments over the 2013-2014 academic year as well as current projects and future goals.

On June 17, the 2014 Healing Voices Literary Readings were held in the L. Howard Fox Theatre. Joan Cusack Handler (Publisher/Senior Editor, CavanKerry Press) hosted the evening that featured readings of original work written by the winners and participants of the 2014 Healing Voices Literary Contest.

2014 Healing Voices Literary Readings

Left to right: Maryanne Re (2nd Place, tie, AHS), Nancy Mendez-Booth (1st Place, MSU English Department), Joan Cusack Handler (Host, Senior Editor CavanKerry Press), Gina Carro (2nd place, tie, AHS), Lorie McDonald (3rd Place, AHS), Dayra Luz Perez (Participant, MSU Children’s Center), Lauren Medici (Healing Arts, AHS)


Nancy Mendez-Booth Named Winner of 2014 Healing Voices Literary Contest

Atlantic Health System and Montclair State University are proud to announce the winners of the 2014 Healing Voices Literary Contest. Earlier this year, faculty, staff and students of Montclair State University, along with Atlantic Health System employees, were invited to submit short written works centered on this year’s theme of gratitude. The following four winners were selected out of twenty-five entries of poetry and prose:

1st Place
“With Deepest Gratitude” by Nancy Mendez-Booth
Montclair State University, English Department
2nd Place (tie)
“Gratitude: Pass the Torch!” by Maryann Re
Atlantic Health System, Chilton Medical Center
“Thankful for a New Day” by Gina Carro
Atlantic Health System, Morristown Medical Center
3rd Place
“The Lifeline” by Lorie McDonald
Atlantic Health System, Overlook Medical Center

The Office of Education and Community Outreach for the College of the Arts congratulates all contestants, especially the eight MSU participants: Paige Briglia (student), Kristin Kelly (student), Sharon Lewis (English department), Dayra Luz Perez (Children’s Center), Danielle Rose Pino (student), Nicholas Samaras (English department), Alice Wright (Linguistics department), and first place winner Nancy Mendez-Booth (English department).

Ms. Mendez-Booth’s essay poignantly expresses the healing power of gratitude following a difficult personal loss. Her honest, reflective writing demonstrates the significant role the literary arts can play in physical and emotional recovery. Read “With Deepest Gratitude” by Nancy Mendez-Booth and all other contest entries here: Healing Voices Submitted Works

The Healing Voices Literary Readings will offer contest winners and participants an opportunity to share their writing in a public forum on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in the L. Howard Fox Theatre at 6:30pm. For more information, please contact Dania Ramos at