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     SUMMER - FALL 2016            SANDY HOOK, NEW JERSEY
Sept 17-18, 2016


At the Parade Grounds on Sandy Hook, NJ, located in the open green field just passed the white missile entering Fort Hancock.  Check out the Venue tab up top for the exact map location.

Be a part of Monmouth Arts' engaging and exciting community arts project!


Monmouth Arts is collaborating with the U.S. National Park Service, Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit, NJ on

Gateway to the Arts to engage the public in their local national park through the visual and performing arts. We aim to create four summer installations of temporary public art pairing artists with environmental groups at several park locations, leading up to a two-day

Zero Waste Arts Fest in partnership with artists and arts, environmental and community groups. The fest will welcome and involve diverse communities through an array of participatory visual and performing arts and family activities to highlight the environment, history and beauty of Fort Hancock; a unique seven-mile long barrier beach with marshes, wildlife sanctuaries and a Historic Landmark site.

Our goal for this project is to intersect the worlds of art and local environmental science to find common grounds to engage the public through educational activities, in order to inspire and increase arts and environmental awareness and stewardship.  

Bilingual signage and marketing for the public art and the festival will be available in English and Spanish.

Public Art

This summer, starting in June, three environmental artists will be creating three large public art installations on Sandy Hook, located in the plazas at Area D, Area E and Gunnison Beach.

Our artists have been paired with local environmental organizations--with headquarters on Sandy Hook--to deepen the conversation around local environmental issues that affect our region.  Garbage left behind from park visitors and non-point source pollution are constant battles in our local national park; this project will seek to educate visitors and our communities about the damaging effects of this waste.

The temporary summer sculptures will be created from at least 50% pollution debris collected during Clean Ocean Action biannual beach sweeps in 2015 and 2016, natural materials, and limited raw materials.

Come check out our progress this summer as the artists install each sculpture in phases from July through August!  Shuttles will be available during the Zero Waste Arts Fest to take people to the public art sites from the Parade Grounds as well!


The installations will remain in place until the next Clean Ocean Action beach sweep in October 2016.  

Bilingual information stations will be posted at each site for the duration of the project.

Artist and Environmental Pairings


Laura Petrovich-Cheney with 

Clean Ocean Action

Angeles Cossio with 

American Littoral Society

Manda Gorsegner with 

James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service


Lisa Bagwell with 

New Jersey

Sea Grant Consortium

Angeles Cossio is a multi-media artist who draws on urban experiences of the natural
world in densely populated areas, examining the intersection of nature and our daily lives.
She curates with her artist husband, exhibits nationally, has been awarded several
residencies and teaches interdisciplinary courses at various institutions in the NYC area.
Angeles holds a MFA from Montclair State University and a BFA from the State University of
New York.
Project Statement:

This work is the result of walks, readings and conversations that took place on Sandy Hook. In talking with the American Littoral Society, I was struck by their primary mission to both educate and empower the public to make change. It is not the environment, but our environment.

Sandy Hook is a place of great natural beauty, but our human presence has left a strong imprint. In coming up for a concept for this piece I started taking walks along the shorelines of Sandy Hook. As I walked I noticed bits of plastic that were being washed up on the shore leaving what looked like a benign rainbow of colors in the sand. I knew that these pieces would break down further, inserting themselves into the ecosystem. I decided to pick up any plastic that I saw, my own small personal intervention in diverting the flow of plastics from our beaches.

Collecting served as a meditation. I kept my focus soft, grabbing any bits of color that fell into my field of vision. As I collected I began to notice the rhythm of this particular place unfolding around me. There were the natural rhythms; horseshoe crabs mating, the play of light on the water, how the bay smelled at low tide. There were the human rhythms; children squealing as they played in the waves, young couples sleeping, turning to bronze in the sun.


As I walked I accumulated a significant amount of plastic. A walk of an hour could bring up a bucket’s worth of debris. To display the plastic I divided the plastics up by color and placed each color in its own tube. The tubes act as both a testament to what one person can collect and also as stand-alone sculptural objects. The way the waves and sun worked on the plastics, the randomness of what I picked up worked together to create a unique combination of objects. 


My gesture was small. I walked for several weeks and picked up bits of plastic. This small act, however, served as a way to connect with a place. By caring for it I began to know it -- by knowing it – I began to feel a sense of wonder, love and a fierce desire to protect it.

Manda Gorsegner is an artist and activist, interested in the intersection of
art, science and community engagement through material investigation, research
and environmental/biological content.  She makes her own encaustics and
incorporates materials such as soil, honey, bone, shell, wood, coffee and pollution
debris into her paintings and installations.  Manda holds a MS in Arts
Administration from Drexel University, a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts
and a BS in Ecology from Rutgers University.
Project Statement:
As an artist and environmentalist, I relish the opportunity to collaborate with an environmental organization to use the arts as a catalyst to engage the community more deeply in pressing environmental problems.  I was eager to partner with the federal arm of ocean science and conservation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to further my understanding of the role of government in ocean conservancy.  When I met with their leaders and scientists to discuss this project, it became clear that this branch of NOAA was involved in many important regional projects from climate change to habitat assessment, ocean acidification, federal water regulations, commercial fishing and ecology, industrial pollutant impacts on aquatic organisms, and more.   
I was inspired by so many things as an artist, but there was one line in a brochure that particularly drew my attention.  NOAA had created and deployed New Jersey’s first artificial reef off our coasts many years ago.  I hadn’t been aware of an artificial reef system off of NJ, and I found out we currently have 15 artificial reefs—a program that now falls under the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife. The rabbit hole that had opened up because of my conversations with NOAA led me down new tunnels of research and understanding on what’s happening in our local waters. 
I became very interested in the idea of creating an artificial reef on land using marine/coastal pollution from recent Clean Ocean Action beach sweeps combined with an oyster concrete blend I had been researching.  The debris reflects on the massive amount of pollution that ends up on our shores and in the oceans, while also reflecting on the artificial reef building materials themselves—retired ships, military vessels or tanks, construction debris and subway cars have all been used as artificial reef structures, purposefully sunk to offer new, complex substrates and habitats for marine organisms. 
I also began collaborating with the American Littoral Society through this rabbit hole of possibilities.  They helped me obtain large quantities of oyster shells recycled from local seafood restaurants—a project they already have in place through their Oyster Reef Restoration program.  I am in discussions to recycle the oyster concrete portions of my art at its de-installation into a real reef restoration project.  Artwork twice recycled.

a closer look at the public artists...

Laura Petrovich-Cheney discovers ideas on walks when she happens upon debris.
Debris art mirrors the human experience, full of transformation, resilience and second
chances. She received a residency to Vermont Studio Center and crowdfunded for a
residency to The Arctic Circle in 2013. Her work is in many public collections. Laura holds a
MFA in Studio Art from Moore College of Art & Design, MS in Fashion Design from Drexel
University and BA in Fine Arts/English Literature at Dickinson College.
Project Statement:  

The aesthetic promise of a plastic top, a string, a fallen tree limb, or a washed up boat are the most intriguing materials for me to explore. These are things that are in a state of transition, which have been exposed to time, weather and water. The material has been and is a new celebration of the materials’ imperfections and possibilities – it’s second chance.


My goal in my artworks is to create an environmentally literate citizenry who understand the importance of such environmental issues as climate change and consumerism. I hope to inspire a new understanding and respect for the planet, to imagine solutions for our most pressing challenges of climate change and to work together to make a difference. Working with Clean Ocean Action (COA) is a perfect partnership for me in this project. COA’s mission is to “reduce plastics and litter that pollute waterways, spoil beautiful beaches, and harm or kill marine life including turtles, whales, seals, birds, and fish.”


My project will use the materials most commonly found during the COA beach sweeps and incorporate them into a site specific, ephemeral work intended to emphasize the belief that there is one universal energy which runs through everything. This work gives me the opportunity to be re-enchanted and awed by nature and to realize how much debris and waste is in our ocean. This work emphasizes the need to understand our collective responsibility to preserve the beauty and bounties of the natural world and to be mindful that we are guests and stewards of a planet worth saving for current and future generations to experience.

Lisa Bagwell has been working with found objects for over ten years creating
recycled art sculptures and exhibiting in galleries throughout NJ, NY and regularly
with local environmental groups. She has taught workshops to children and adults
and is a proponent of public art, organic gardening, environmental activism and
inspired work. She is a professional gardener and lifetime naturalist. 
Project Statement:

During the Zero Waste Arts fest I will be creating a growing sculpture created from garbage

amassed during the two day event.  It is my intention to draw attention to our almost unconscious use of what is known as single use plastics, which help drive our consumption of food and beverages prevalent at such happenings as well as highlight Sandy Hook's "carry-in/carry-out" policy regarding trash.  As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts, it is my hope to entertain and engage the public and highlight the importance of individual responsibility to benefit the health of and respect to the environment. 


This summer it will be my pleasure to work with the NJ Sea Grant Consortium's six week summer camp, engaging their students in sculpting with recycled materials while discussing the impacts of trash in our environment. Artwork made by the students will be on display at the festival and all will be welcomed to work with me at the festival in the construction of the BIG sculpture. As we enter a new geological era for the planet, our roles within the ecosystem take on an even greater importance.  A focus on education, solutions and individual action cannot be overstated. It is my hope to demonstrate the power of creativity and the valuable role it plays in making positive change. 


Zero Waste Arts Fest (ZWAF) will engage diverse communities through an array of arts, environmental and historical education activities, public art and battery tours, games, arts and food vendors, and overall free family fun! Shuttles will be available to take people to the three public art locations on Sandy Hook and to Battery Gunnison for historical tours provided by the Army Ground Forces Association. 


The Fest will be zero-waste as one artist will create a growing sculpture from recycled refuse amassed during the two days—making a statement piece on waste and individual responsibility.

We hope festival goers will be conscious of the single-use materials they bring to the festival.  We are proponents of reduce, reuse and recycle and are asking the vendors and the public to be conscious of their business and individual waste streams during the fest.  We don't expect to see no waste over the two days, but we do hope to engage the public in a growing dialogue (and sculpture!) that opens up this conversation on an individual's consumption, waste and response actions.

Festival Features

Saturday, September 17

Sunday, September 18


Parade Grounds, Fort Hancock

Sandy Hook, New Jersey

   Festival Features:

  • Zero Waste Art Installation 

  • Swing Dance Instruction, Dancers & Jazz Trio provided by the Army Ground Forces Association (Saturday only)

  • Battery Gunnison/New Peck Historical Tours provided by the Army Ground Forces Association

  • Naturehood Watch:  Avian Observation, Drawing, Posters and Live Art Gallery 

  • Plein Air Painting (painting in the open air)

  • Photo Walks

  • Community Painting Project for Adults and Kids

  • Kite-making

  • Coffee Sack Racing

  • Face Painting

  • Papermaking with Combat Paper NJ (Sunday only)

  • Art Education Activities

  • Environmental Tables and Activities with:  

    • American Littoral Society​

    • Clean Ocean Action (COA)

    • New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC)

    • National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Live Musical Performances

  • Artist & Arts Group Vendors 

  • Food Trucks

  • Shuttles to all three Public Art Installations (Area D, Area E, Gunnison Beach) and to Historical Tours

 More about our ZWAF PARTNERS

Naturehood Watch is art as community conversation.  We are creating work that can live in civic space and provide a connection to the environment around us.  Naturehood Watch seeks to create beautiful, educational, and fun interpretive signage and engaging opportunities that involve people along their everyday paths and not-so-everyday detours.


At the Zero Waste Arts Fest, artists and founders Kate Okeson and Michael-Paul Raspanti, will be extending their Birds of the Navesink project (their inaugural avian project in a series of collaborations between the two artists) to focus on birds of Sandy Hook, the bay and littoral zone.  

Through avian observation, drawing and playful printed and published illustrations that share the vibrant characteristics of our avian neighbors, the artists look to broaden the Two-River Region's awareness and joy in observing these creatures.

Combat Paper NJ (CPNJ) is a unique participatory art project that offers artistic tools and professional instruction to veterans, providing a space to use art and writing to explore their experiences, and ultimately share them publicly, all through papermaking.  Our specialty is the transformative process of making handmade paper from military uniforms—Combat Paper. Through public workshops, this handmade paper creates a platform for veterans and non-veterans to come together and share stories, providing a “new language,” and much needed discourse between veterans and society. 


Based at the Jersey Shore, the Plein Air Painters of the Jersey Coast is a group of artists who want to explore the beauty around them by painting “en plein air,” a term that is used to describe painting that is done outdoors. Plein air painting lets artists capture the unique colors and atmospheric effects that are too often lost when painting from photographs. Whether a study or a full-fledged painting, work that is done en plein air often has a fresh, spontaneous look that is missing from studio works.

Our organizational mission is to:

•   Promote recognition of plein air painting and plein air artists

•   Promote artistic excellence by mentoring artists in plein air painting methods

•   Use plein air painting to benefit New Jersey’s coastal communities


Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused


on national policies to address climate change.



Comprised almost entirely of volunteers, 330+ chapters around the world (including eight


chapters in New Jersey) meet monthly to take specific actions on climate change solutions.


CCL will be at ZWAF exhibiting solar toys and helping kids create CLIMATE ART to help raise


awareness of climate change-related issues and solutions. We will be using small, used


disposable plastic items such as plastic bottle caps to create climate art.

Founded in 1998, and incorporated in 2007, the non-profit Army Ground Forces Association (AGFA) has been a Gateway park partner organization since 2002. AGFA is restoring, preserving and interpreting the Coast Artillery and other Army organizations and units of the World War II period at Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark (Sandy Hook peninsula).


AGFA members perform maintenance and restoration work, and public interpretation, in WWII-era uniforms. AGFA in partnership with the National Park Service, has substantially restored Battery Gunnison/New Peck. Restoration projects continue. Members come from all walks of life and have a shared interest in and appreciation of Fort Hancock and its depth of history and national significance.

More About Our Project Partners

The American Littoral Society

Founded in 1961, the American Littoral Society promotes the study and conservation of marine life and habitat, protects the coast, and empowers people to care for the coast through advocacy, conservation, and education.  When habitat is restored, our objective is not only to rebuild a dune or oyster reef, but to motivate people to invest “sweat equity” into a piece of the coast and take ownership.  We don’t merely provide handouts; we lead students into the water to get their feet wet and hands muddy.

Clean Ocean Action (COA)

COA is the NY/NJ region’s only fulltime ocean advocacy non-profit—a coalition of over 120 organizations—using research, education and citizen action. COA protects the marine environment, improves water, closed all eight dumpsites, implements policy, and creates awareness for ocean pollution.


The Beach Sweeps program is the largest environmental volunteer event in NJ with thousands of volunteers removing and documenting debris at over 70 locations.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Fisheries Service Northeast Fisheries Science Center

The James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, located on the New Jersey shore at Sandy Hook, is a state-of-the-art marine research facility. The primary mission of the Howard Laboratory is to conduct research in ecology towards a better understanding of coastal and marine organisms and habitats and to study the impacts of natural and human-induced environmental variability in relation to fish and shellfish sustainability.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC)

The NJSGC is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups committed to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment through research, education and outreach.

NJSGC funds competitive research and through its outreach specialists, applies it to practical purposes. The Consortium’s education programs encourage marine literacy and environmental stewardship by offering opportunities for groups and individuals to learn about New Jersey’s marine, coastal and estuarine environments.  The Consortium is part of a national network, the National Sea Grant College Program, which is celebrating its 50th this year.

National Park Service

Gateway National Recreation Area embraces an area known for over a century as the "Gateway to America." Covering over 26,000 acres, the park extends from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, along the south side of Staten Island to Jamaica Bay and Breezy Point in New York. Assembled from city parks, military sites, and undeveloped land, Gateway weaves together history, nature, and recreation areas to create an extraordinary national park. Congress designated Gateway National Recreation Area in 1972 as one of the first urban parks in the National Park System. Today the park showcases the importance of open space, adds to the quality of life for city residents, and preserves habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals. This connection between ecological and urban systems is a hallmark of Gateway.


Sandy Hook is a barrier beach at the northern end of the New Jerey Shore. Its location at the entrance of New York Harbor assured Sandy Hook's importance for coastal and harbor defense. For more than 200 years most of the peninsula has been a federal reserve. This military presence shaped Sandy Hook's history and assured its preservation as open space. During the summer, visitors enjoy swimming and strolling the beach. Any time of year there are opportunities for birding, fishing, hiking or discovering the park's natural resources and historic sites, including America's oldest lighthouse. 

A big Thank You to Friendship Train Foundation for translating our public art and Fest signs into Spanish.
Friendship Train Foundation (FTF) was founded in 2007 with the goal of bringing together groups united by a common and worthy need.  We look for partnerships with individuals, organizations, and communities who are working hard to facilitate change within their own worlds—dedicated people who believe that a strong community can make a difference in the lives of many.

sponsors and funders

Monmouth Arts is proud to present Gateway to the Arts in partnership with the National Park Service Gateway National Recreation Area Sandy Hook Unit.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the OceanFirst Foundation, and the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  The Zero Waste Arts Fest is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.


A big Thank You to Del Ponte's Bakery in Bradley Beach for recycling their plastic buckets and donating them to one of our artists--Laura Petrovich-Cheney--for her public art piece!  Check them out!
Booskerdoo Coffee and Baking Company was started in 2011 by James and Amelia Caverly.  Originally a small coffee roastery and cafe, Booskerdoo soon expanded to a second location in Fair Haven when the bakery was added in 2013.  Booskerdoo now has six locations in Monmouth Beach, Fair Haven, Matawan, Holmdel in Bell Works, Long Branch in Pier Village and in Asbury Park, at their new flagship roastery, bakery, cafe and production facility.  Booskerdoo offers a wide array of coffees from around the world at each of our cafes, including Fair Trade and Organic varieties, and a full espresso bar.  The bakery creates a variety of delicious treats daily, and provides catering, and special orders to the general public. Booskerdoo Coffee and Bakery wholesale services are also available on request.
Thanks to Budget Dumpster for their support!
Budget Dumpster is a national waste disposal company with a community-oriented mission. While providing affordable dumpster rentals for short-term projects like home renovations, we offer support to groups making a difference in the communities we service—especially in the areas of sustainability and community revitalization.


For questions and comments, email

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