coLAB Arts - In the News


coLAB Arts Gives Storytellers a Stage with "The Vom"

By Maddie Orton
Arts Correspondent

If you’re a regular listener of podcasts like The MothRisk! or This American Life, you know how engaging storytelling in its purest form can be. For those who’ve always wanted to try their turn at the mic, New Brunswick’s coLAB Arts has a new monthly event: The Vom.

Dustin Ballard co-hosted the event’s kickoff at the New Brunswick restaurant/bar World of Beer in late January. “Stories are the things that connect everyone because everyone has a story,” he says. “Even if you tell a story about an experience that I’ve never heard before, I’m going to somehow find myself in that experience.” ...

Recycled Raritan exhibit and other coLAB happenings

10:58 a.m. EDT April 24, 2015

New Brunwick-based coLAB Arts incubator kicks off another flurry of activity with an art exhibit made of Raritan River trash that is part of a partner project to be discussed soon in Washington, D.C.

NEW BRUNSWICK – The city-based coLAB Arts incubator will open an exhibit made from recycled materials pulled out the Raritan River on Saturday at New Brunswick Health and Wellness Plaza that it will then will demonstrate and discuss the project partners in June in Washington, D.C.

The arts group will join with environmental advocates and community representatives to bring their eco-themed community art project to the American Architectural Foundation's 2015 Sustainable Cities Design Academy in Washington, D.C., the city announced in a news release. "Rail > Arts > River: Championing the Arts as Economic Driver for New Brunswick, NJ" intends to use visual art and sustainable design as a way to connect the city's riverfront and railways, the news release said. ...


Musicals Composed in Just 48 Hours Showcased at Hub City Music Festival

Four Teams Furiously Working to Produce 15-Minute Musicals in Just Two Days

Article | April 19, 2015 - 11:39am | By Jad Kaado

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—coLAB Arts, a local non-profit arts organization, is working to put on a series of "48-hour Musicals" event, the first in the area, in conjunction with the Hub City Music Festival. The non-profit has paired theater professionals with New Brunswick DIY-scene bands, and tasked the groups with creating new and original 15-minute musicals within a 48-hour time frame. ...

High school theater impact to expand for coLAB Arts

Bob Makin, @reporterbmakin 7:03 A.M. EDT April 5, 2015

Having impacted several New Brunswick High School students with a theater residency for seven years, the coLAB Arts incubator’s education department is looking to expand into surrounding districts. 


While attending an annual class trip with coLAB to the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in West Virginia two years ago, Ashley Simmons, then a New Brunswick High School student, turned to co-founding coLAB Director of Education John Keller, and said, “I’m going to be a stage manager.”

Keller recently gave Simmons, now a college freshman, a recommendation ...

New Brunswick's coLAB Arts nonprofit expands mission

Bob Makin, @reporterbmakin 4:14 P.M. EST January 24, 2015

New Brunswick's coLAB Arts is evolving how art meets community by expanding opportunities to present emerging artists and offering the city arts education, especially its youth.

NEW BRUNSWICK – For seven years, coLAB Arts has served, taught and presented emerging artists from the city, mainly along the avenues of theater, music, and dance. After taking a few months off last year, the collaborative nonprofit organization has regrouped with a new board and expanded into literature, film and more visual arts and community programs.

Earlier this month, coLIT and coFILM gatherings were well received ...

The river that runs through Central Jersey

Mike Deak, @MikeDeakMyCJ 11:58 a.m. EDT April 19, 2015


CENTRAL JERSEY – It's only a short walk from Jim Rokosny's house to New Jersey's forgotten treasure.

In the heart of New Jersey, where the population and landscape are strikingly diverse, there is one natural element that ties together the region — the Raritan River....

...The Found in Watershed Sculpture, a joint venture of the watershed and Colab Arts' Rail-Arts-River project, will be presented 6 to 8 p.m. April 25 on the second floor of the New Brunswick Wellness Center, 100 Kirkpatrick St. ...

coLAB Arts offers March programs

coLAB Arts 2:05 P.M. EDT March 12, 2015

NEW BRUNSWICK – coLAB Arts’ 2015 arts programming works to holistically engage and discuss current social issues, and strengthen its presence and impact in the local New Brunswick community.

All of the coLAB Arts monthly programs in creative writing, film, story telling, and community conversations are returning to enhance its new social commitment.

March’s programs will focus on the topic of Surveillance. How does the “surveillance state” play out in contemporary culture? How have social media platforms both expanded and restricted our freedom of speech? How has the red light camera controversy in NJ added to our understanding of public surveillance? ...

Town Clock head shares passion for coLAB Arts

4:02 P.M. EST January 24, 2015

Rev. Susan Kramer-Mills of the Town Clock Community Development Corp. of New Brunswick’s historic First Reformed Church shares about her impactful partnership with the coLAB Arts nonprofit.

Heritage Commission with assistance through a grant provided by New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The church also co-sponsors a traditional Dutch Dancing Group with the Meadows Foundation.

The church has provided space to various arts and culture groups (coLAB Arts, Raices Cultural Center, Yue Yue Ensemble) to hold events and exhibitions. Thus, the church views culture — music and the arts — as a mission, allowing their space to be used so that people can enjoy and learn about culture who might not otherwise walk through the doors of a church. ...

City Residents Tell Stories

Article | April 26, 2014 - 1:05am | By Molly O'Brien

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Tonight, eight local residents will compete for title of Grand Slam Champion at the Crossroads Theatre, on the corner of George Street and Livingston Avenue. 

Free for those who attend, the show starts at 7pm tonight on Saturday, April 26.

Residents Carla Ulbrich, Pedro Serrano, Dean Rogers, David Harris, Dusty Ballard, JUDY, and artist Sam Romero have all been selected to tell their own New Brunswick story.

Audience members will also have a chance to participate. ...

Artist Collaborative Hosting Writing Workshop, Film Screening, and Story Slam in January

coLAB Arts Non-profit Delivers Arts Experiences That Educate, Motivate, and Inspire

Article | January 16, 2015 - 5:16pm | By Molly O'Brien

NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ—coLAB Arts, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to funding emerging artists in New Brunswick, is starting 2015 off strong with a series of programs for students, families, writers, and other interested community members.

The organization says the goal of its 2015 programs are "to holistically engage and discuss current social issues, and strengthen its presence and impact in the New Brunswick community." 

At noon on January 17, there will be a free writer's workshop known as "thePEN," part of a brand new literary club series called litLAB ...

Dina’s Dwellings provides affordable housing for battered women

By Kelsey Weidmann | 10/23/14 10:50pm

A man lit the sanctuary of the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick on fire in 1971 because he was angry it was housing his girlfriend, who he had been abusing. 

Dina’s Dwellings, a battered women’s housing center currently being built in that very space, aims to aid victims of domestic violence. The project, which is meant to offer victims long-term housing, is set to be completed next year, said Susan Kramer-Mills, a pastor at the church and executive director of the Town Clock Community Development Corporation. ...

CoLAB Arts, an art center in New Brunswick, will receive theatre and gallery space, and there will be a bigger area for the church’s popular free lunchtime recitals, Kramer-Mills said.   

These programs, as well as other trips and events planned specifically for Dina’s Dwellings’ residents, would be a great way for the women to get involved with others, Kramer-Mills said. ...

Hub City's Newest Dance Collaboration: Works and Process

New Brunswick Non-Profits Lustig Dance Theatre and coLAB Arts Team Up For First Time

Article | December 27, 2013 - 6:40pm | By Molly O'Brien

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Coming this weekend, there will be two special dance performances at the George Street Playhouse (9 Livingston Ave). Featured resident choreographers, Kyle G. Marsh, Nicholas Ruiz, Meagan Woods, and Elizabeth Rose Zwierzynski will be showcasing their latest works. New Brunswick’s own Collaborative Arts (coLab) provided the professionals with free practice space for the past three months.

"Being a member of the emerging artist community, I found it extremely exciting to be part of the Colab/Lustig Choreographers' residency," said dance curator Lauren Connolly. ...

Moby Dick Radio Play Tonight at Crossroads Theatre

Staged Radio Play Based on Classic Tale Saturday Night at 8pm

Article | March 21, 2014 - 5:10pm | By Molly O'Brien

Moby Dick, a classic 700-page book, has been adapted into a 55-minute radio play being performed at the Crossroads Theatre. Brizzi

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—For one night only, a radio play adaptation of "Moby Dick" will be peformed on stage by Raconteur Radio, a theater group formed out of a former bookstore in Metuchen.

The performance starts at 8pm on Saturday March 22 at Crossroads Theatre, located at 7 Livingston Ave.

Made possible by the arts and culture non-profit coLAB, this 55-minute staged radio drama is an adaptation of the original 700-page book written by Herman Melville. ...

Dodge Foundation awards $3.5 million, including $2.2 million to arts

By Peggy McGlone | NJ Advance Media for
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on April 25, 2013 at 2:34 PM, updated April 25, 2013 at 5:13 PM

MORRISTOWN — The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation has announced $3.5 million in grants, including more than $2.2 million to arts and arts education programs, in its first round of awards for 2013. ...

The grants go to established organizations, including American Repertory Ballet ($25,000), the New Jersey Performing Arts Center ($70,000), the Montclair Art Museum ($70,000) and Appel Farm Arts & Music Center ($80,000). But several upstart groups are also funded, including coLAB Arts, Valley Arts ($25,000) and Lustig Dance Theatre ($25,000).

coLAB’s received its first grant from Dodge, a $5,000 award to support a current project in New Brunswick High School. For the spring semester, coLAB recruits actors, designers and other theater professionals from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts to explore the creative process of theater and to assist in a student-created project.

"We’re not a typical organization that the Dodge Foundation supports," coLAB leader John Keller said. "But this project has been going on for three-plus years and the board felt we were serious enough." ...

Rutgers arts grads bring expertise to local high school theater class

By Peggy McGlone | NJ Advance Media for
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on June 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM, updated June 14, 2013 at 11:36 AM

NEW BRUNSWICK — Standing in the center of the high-tech theater classroom at New Brunswick High School, John Keller looks up to the lighting grid where a dozen crouching students are focused on him.

"We’re going to start with the top of show," Keller yells up to them. "Whatever goes wrong, goes wrong. Keep going. Fix it, but keep going."

A minute later, the lights go dark and then a spotlight shines on the floor, where a blanket-covered body lies prone and motionless. From the rafters, a deep male voice starts the story.

"It has been two months since the accident," he says in a mournful tone. Another student begins to talk, then another, until male and female voices cascade down from the ceiling. And from that cacophony, Jasmin Rivera, who had been lying under the blanket, rises from the floor, her a capella rendition of Leonard Cohen’s familiar "Hallelujah" searing through the noise. ...

Collaborative Arts Organization: Spring Intern Show

Event Dates: February 17, 2011 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm

NEW BRUNSICK, NJ – Collaborative Arts is pleased to present The Progression, a one-month exhibition of new visual art from the New Brunswick area, which features the interns at Collaborative Arts Organization; Morgan Kazanjian, Rita DeAngelo, Rory Rosenberg, as well as curator Corinne Cuozzo. The reception will be Thursday February 17th from 7-10 PM at coLAB Arts (49 Bayard Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901). The opening will feature music by Rashon Sharp, wine and food, and is FREE and open to the public. ...

Still Segues

Event Dates: April 22, 2011 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Collaborative Arts is pleased to present Still Segues, a two-month exhibition that features the emerging artists of the Rutgers Photography Club, which is curated by Skyla Pojednic and Theresa Francisco. Our Opening and Second-Look Reception will take place on Friday April 22nd and Friday April 29th from 7-10 PM at coLAB Arts (49 Bayard Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901). The open receptions will feature wine and food and music by Alex Denman-Brice, Jeff Deppa and Damian Kulikowski. ...

Bilingual 'Romeo y Julieta' is a street-smart sensation

By Peter Filichia/For The Star-Ledger
on August 24, 2010 at 7:00 AM

That’s not a typo above in the title of William Shakespeare’s most famous play. “Romeo y Julieta” — note the “A” — is what director Daniel Swern and his Collaborative Arts are staging at the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick. The additional vowel is there because Julieta and her family, although still called the Capulets, are Latinos. Swern takes his cue from the Broadway revival of “West Side Story” — which just happens to be the great-grandson of “Romeo and Juliet.” That production, launched in 2009, had the Sharks and the other Puerto-Rican characters speak and sing in Spanish. ...