The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC showcases a wide range of artists bringing contemporary art to a broader audience. The Gallery was the initiative of beloved SOPAC Board Member, Milly Iris, a South Orange resident and arts advocate, and inspired by her love of art and young people. Both Milly and her husband, Herb, were longtime supporters of SOPAC, avid collectors and devoted arts advocates. The family legacy continues through the generous support of Herb and Milly’s daughters, Roreé and Kerry and The Iris Family Foundation.

Exhibition themes, artist selection, even placement of artwork is meant to lead visitors through the Gallery exhibition while telling a story, instigating questions and provoking conversations.

In addition to professional exhibits of art, the Gallery also hosts two annual exhibitions; the first, INSPIRED MINDS, celebrates young artists in the region, and the second, INSPIRING MINDS, highlights the other side of art education, the educator as an artist.

INSPIRED MINDS is part of SOPAC’s Art Education mission to provide arts and cultural experiences and enhance local school districts’ efforts to strengthen the impact of arts and arts education. The program provides the opportunity for Essex County high school students to undergo a full professional artist’s experience; from application and adjudication through gallery exhibition, and possible sale of their art.

INSPIRING MINDS, presented in tandem to the student exhibition, is an opportunity for Art Educators to share their individual talents beyond their teaching credentials. Every teacher spends hours demonstrating art techniques, cultivating and displaying the artwork of budding student artists, but this show focuses on current art educators who continue to cherish their own inspirational journey and creative development.  For these unique and talented artists, the exhibition stresses the importance of continuing to create art and not just teach it.

The Gallery is located on the second and third floors of SOPAC. It hosts 4-5 art exhibits a year. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, Noon-6PM and two hours prior to SOPAC performances. The Gallery is closed on Sundays.

Please sign-up for the weekly SOPAC E-News to receive announcements about gallery exhibitions and receptions.

The artwork on display is for sale, unless otherwise noted. If you are interested in making a purchase, please contact Linda Beard at (973) 382-1035 or

Advisory Committee

Tricia Laughlin Bloom
Nigel Freeman
Maureen Gammon
Roreé Iris-Williams