The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC showcases emerging artists and brings contemporary art to a broader audience. The Gallery was the initiative of beloved SOPAC Board Member, Milly Iris, and borne out of her love of art and young people. Milly and her husband Herb were avid collectors, devoted arts advocates, and longtime champions of SOPAC. The Iris family continues to generously support the Gallery in memory of Milly and Herb.

In addition to professional exhibits of art, the Gallery also hosts an annual celebration of young artists in the region. INSPIRED MINDS is a program that provides an opportunity for Essex County high school students to undergo a full professional gallery experience; from application through exhibition, and possible sale of their art.

The Gallery is located on the second and third floors of SOPAC. It hosts 3-4 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


Gallery Curator
Jeremy Moss

Advisory Committee
Tricia Laughlin Bloom
Nigel Freeman
Maureen Gammon
Mary Sue Sweeney Price
Roreé Iris-Williams

Barbara Bickart and Colleen Lineberry

Curated by Jeremy Moss
On Display September 12 – November 3, 2019

Opening Reception: THU, SEP 12, 5-8PM

Pictured: Petrichor, 2019 by Colleen Lineberry 

View the Flickr Gallery

Barbara Bickart and Colleen Lineberry are exceptionally talented artists who excel in many creative disciplines. They are also sisters. While their lives have taken different paths, there became conscious, subconscious and non-conscious crossing points throughout their adulthood.

The ‘convergence’ of these very different paths is at the core of this exhibition. The exhibit also hi-lights their considerable talent and allows you to submerge yourself in their journey. Bickart and Lineberry show mastery of abstraction to convey a narrative about the world around them.

Bickart’s love of maps and handwriting are worked with textures from paper, ink and paint additives, such as salt, to create one-of-a-kind abstract navigations.

“I love that handwriting is specific and unique to an individual, like a thumbprint. I love the intimacy that handwriting represents; I love receiving a handwritten letter or note, knowing that there was a real person on the other end of the communication, who paused to collect a thought or two and to write it down with the intention of communicating something, conveying an idea, exchanging information. I think of maps and analogue photographs in the same way.” -Barbara Bickart.

Lineberry’s journey of abstraction is a passionate path of energy and spirit, capturing a particular moment or place.

“I create many thin layers of paint, building texture and depth. I love the way this reflects the texture and layers of ancestry and personal history we bring to each moment. As I paint, my imagination meets the freedom and solace I gather during the process, and color, shape, line, and texture converge in a new work. I have learned to trust and love this mystery.” -Colleen Lineberry.

The sisters are both are arriving at new destinations with each new piece.

“As the curator of the Herb & Milly Iris Gallery, I am thrilled to be bringing ‘CONVERGENCE’ to our gallery. I love that we have our first sibling show and that it features two amazing artists. Their story is beautiful, engaging and thought provoking. Do not miss the chance to see this show and certainly, make a point of meeting the artists at the opening reception.” -Jeremy Moss.


Steve Vaccariello

Curated by Jeremy Moss
On Display November 14 – January 19, 2020

Opening Reception: THU, NOV 14, 5-8PM

Pictured:  Brit with Netting, 2019 

View the Flickr Gallery

In JUST DANCE…, Vaccariello’s vivid and sensual portraits capture an unbridled creativity; a guileless exchange of artistic expression between two masters, each on either side of the camera lens. Vaccariello’s direction is simple and straightforward, “Just dance…” Then, on film, he immortalized their liberated collaboration; a visual and a performance artist breaking free to bestow an inspired vision of beauty.

“Photography isn’t what I do,” says Vaccariello, “It’s what I am.”

INSPIRED MINDS: Young Artist Exhibition

May 15 – August 16, 2019

INSPIRED MINDS is sponsored by the Iris Family.
Framing is generously donated by the South Orange Frame Shop.
Cover art by Dania Altayeb.

Thank you to all the participating Essex County High Schools: Belleville, Bloomfield, Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, Columbia, East Orange Campus, East Orange STEM Academy, KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy, Lacordaire Academy, Livingston, Millburn, Montclair, Nutley, Orange, Rae Kushner Yeshiva, Seton Hall Preparatory School, West Orange, West Side, Newark Academy, University High School and Arts High School.

View the Flickr Gallery for the 2019 INSPIRED MINDS.

The Visual Passion Duo: The Doors
Mikel Frank and Gerard Amsellem
March 4 – April 28, 2019

View the Flickr Gallery.

This exhibition is the culmination of works created by Gerard Amsellem and Mikel Frank since their collaboration began in 2010. The large-scale paintings are done on door panels ranging in size from 18” inches wide to 120” wide and all are the standard height of 80”. Gerard and Mikel enjoy sharing their collaboration with the community and have created many of the works in the exhibition in front of an audience. They both feel that by working together to create a collaborative piece a “third artist” is present, signifying the real magic of collaboration.

The Price of Sugar by Jenny Reinhardt
December 10, 2018 – February 22, 2019

View the Flickr Gallery.

In The Price of Sugar, Reinhardt has woven the theme of the bright and seductive appeal of sugar and confectionary, along with its dark side; the addiction, the excess and the disease. Sugar is both sweet and dangerous.

Decades of Dance by Pat Hutchinson
September 10 – November 23, 2018

View the Flickr Gallery.

Decades of Dance, from New Jersey artist Patricia Hutchinson is a collection of paintings that capture the grace and beauty of dancers’ bodies in motion. Ms. Hutchinson’s paintings serve as an artist’s observation of the human form suspended in a crystalized moment of action.

Kwalité Paintings by Joe Waks
March 5 – April 27, 2018

View the Flickr Gallery.

Joe Waks’ mixed-media paintings underscore his passion for politics and popular culture. Seen through the lens of past icons and emblems of our society, his paintings become an audacious commentary on our consumerist ethos and modern society. Enter Joe’s world for an upside down view of how our culture embraces the marketing messages that infiltrate our minds at every turn.

FORM by Maeva Fouché 
December 11, 2017 – February 16, 2018

View the Flickr Gallery.

A New Jersey native, born in Newark, Maeva Fouché has always embraced her Haitian-American heritage. It is evident in her work as you view the colors and cultural references. She fell in love with all things art at an early age, leading her on her journey into the art world. Fouché graduated from Kean University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. She has since perfected marrying the design aspect to her influences; geometry, cubism, pop art and music. The effect is a visual stimulation that speaks both emotionally and spiritually.

reflect: NYC by Michael Steinbrick
September 11 – November 24, 2017 

View the Flickr Gallery.

Steinbrick’s paintings reflect a spiritual experience, a moment when a higher level of consciousness takes over the logical translation of what your eye is seeing. His images tell a story, both obvious and subversive. They capture the beauty in the randomness of the ever-changing advertisements and street traffic below, while the reflections change that narrative.

Changing Landscapes by Mary Jane Van Zeijts
March 6 – April 30, 2017

View the Flickr Gallery.

As a lover of nature, Mary Jane Van Zeijts is in search of the perfect light. Her pastel images are both luminescent and moody, a juxtaposition she catches in a seemingly effortless manner. Van Zeijts’ drawings, that contain both impressionistic and abstract elements, have a distinct feel of an oil painting. Her use of color transports you to that exact moment in time.

Inside Looking Out by Dorothy Anderson Wasserman
December 15, 2016 – February 23, 2017

View the Flickr Gallery.

The interplay of Wasserman’s inner life and outer reality will take you on a fascinating journey of surrealist visual narratives. Wassermann’s photographs are cut, rearranged and then pieced together in layers of chaos and clarity. She tells a spellbinding story using images from the past, present and an imagined future. Contemporary surrealist collage in its finest form.

POL!TICO: ARTS & The Humanities
September 8 – December 8, 2016 

View the Flickr Gallery.

An exhibit that explored the cultural influence of politics and the humanities through the uses of various mediums of visual art. The intersection of art and politics provides an opportunity for exploration of the ideals of truth and transparency vs. censorship and political correctness as the tug-of-war between these ideological pursuits rages on.

POL!T!CO was part of a collaboration showcasing four arts organizations (SOPAC, Arts Unbound, The Baird Center’s Pierro Gallery and Valley Arts Firehouse Gallery) connected by geography, and the desire to create a richer experience for viewers. This four-venue exhibit gives artists a voice in some of the size-able issues that are informing the 2016 November presidential election.

Spirited by Alberte Bernier & Ritch Gaiti
February 8 – April 30, 2016 

Alberte Bernier Ritch Gaiti

Spirited was a celebration of the energy, enthusiasm and determination of character, outlook and mood beyond the perceived limitations, and often opposing ideals, of Nature vs. Nurture.

For Haitian-born Alberte Bernier, painting represents a profound source of freedom as well as a desire to convey human emotion and fantasy. Like the human experience which is multi-leveled, what appear to be basic colors in her art are superimposed nuances.

Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Ritch Gaiti became visually attracted to the American west and Native American culture by the warm colors and the spiritual nature of the people and the land. He paints of the people, the land and the spirits and recaptures a feeling of a time and a culture long-gone.

An Artful Life – An Exhibition from
the Private Collection of Herb & Milly Iris
September 1, 2015 – January 15, 2016