Providing opportunities for emerging artists was a passion of The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery’s benefactor, Milly Iris. Coupling those opportunities with arts education is at the core of SOPAC’s mission.

INSPIRED MINDS is a celebration of young artists in the region. The program 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.

This program is managed by Linda Beard, SOPAC Director of Community Engagement & Education. Submitted works are juried by a panel of distinguished artists, photographers and curators. The artwork on display is for sale, unless otherwise noted. If interested in making a purchase, contact Linda Beard at (973) 382-1035 or

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

Visit to register and apply for the 2019 INSPIRED MINDS juried exhibit.

Register & Apply

“Threshold” by David Fernandez.

View the Flickr Gallery for the 2018 INSPIRED MINDS.

Thank you to all 2018 INSPIRED MINDS participating high schools: Cicely Tyson School of the Performing and Fine Arts, Columbia, East Orange Campus, East Orange STEM Academy, Lacordaire Academy, Livingston, Millburn, Montclair, Nutley, Orange, Seton Hall Preparatory School, West Orange, Bloomfield, West Side, Newark Academy, University High School and Arts High School.

“Hanging Out Columbia” by Leonele Soares.

View the Flickr Gallery for the 2017 INSPIRED MINDS.

“Color in Motion” by Wendy Li.

View the Flickr Gallery for the 2016 INSPIRED MINDS.

Portion of “Crude” by Austin Romanaux.

View the Flickr Gallery for the 2015 INSPIRED MINDS.