The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) celebrates the success of its 2023 year-end appeal “Transforming Lives Through the Arts.”  Thanks to the increased generosity of longtime supporters and new donors, SOPAC raised more than $64,000!  This incredible outpouring of community support unlocked a matching gift of $50,000 from the SOPAC Board of Governors.

The funds raised through this appeal will play a vital role in helping SOPAC advance its goal to build community through cultural exploration and creative expression.  SOPAC prides itself on the world-class artists it brings into the greater South Orange-Maplewood (SOMA) community, from Rock & Roll legends like John Oates and Joan Osborne to Jazz greats such as Oleta Adams and the Roy Hargrove Big Band.  The robust community support inspires SOPAC to seek out innovative and groundbreaking new artists such as the Pedrito Martínez Group and guitarist Kaki King.

Additionally, SOPAC is proud of the community support that allows it to bring life-changing arts education programs. The INSPIRED MINDS: Young Artist Exhibition in the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery gives high schools students the opportunity to showcase their paintings and sculptures in a professional gallery for the first time.  SOPAC’s Arts Residency programs bring instrumental and dance instruction to public schools throughout Union and Essex counties.  The School Performances series, in addition to the Kids + Family series performances, provides a fun, age-appropriate gateway for children to experience live performance for the first time.

Along with these initiatives, the Paul Bartick Emerging Artist Award celebrates emerging local talent in all art forms, recognizing a local high school student for their fervent commitment to and talent in the all art forms including painting, sculpting, music, poetry, dance, acting, and more.

None of these programs would be possible without the generous and continued support of all SOPAC patrons.

If you were not able to donate to the appeal, or if you would like to further your support to SOPAC, we invite you to:

  1. Attend an Upcoming Show – Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of the performing arts through an array of programs, from Broadway to Singer-Songwriter, to Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, and even Stand-Up Comedy.
  2. Become a SOPAC Member – Join SOPAC’s community of arts enthusiast who enjoy exclusive benefits like ticket discounts, invitations to special member events, and so much more!
  3. Join Friends of SOPAC – Become part of SOPAC’s major giving society and connect with other likeminded philanthropists dedicated to bringing world-class, life-enriching arts to the community.
  4. Double Your Impact with a Matching Gift – Many companies offer matching gift programs through their human resources departments. With these programs, employees can ask their companies to match donations they make to charitable organizations.  This is an easy, no cost way to increase your impact!
  5. Leave a Gift in Your Will – By mentioning SOPAC in your will, you can leave a lasting legacy that ensures the arts continue to enrich lives in our community now and for years to come.

“On behalf of the entire SOPAC community, I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude for the immense support of our “Transforming Lives Through the Arts” year-end appeal.  The resources raised during this campaign will have a direct impact on SOPAC’s ability to bring life changing arts experiences to our community,” says SOPAC Director of Development Jonathan Kitt.  “Together we can continue to support SOPAC and the arts in our community for years to come.”

If you have any questions about making donations, becoming a SOPAC Member or part of Friends of SOPAC, please reach out to the SOPAC Development Department at or via phone at (973) 712-4101.