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Monmouth Arts provides programs and services that support the practice, presence, and influence of the arts and of artists throughout Monmouth County.


Monmouth Arts is a leading, independent, 501c(3) arts advocacy organization that delivers needed programs and services to artists, member organizations, and art affiliates to ensure the arts thrive in every corner of Monmouth County. Assistance and support from Monmouth Arts is accessible in the form of advocacy, programming, policy development, leadership, funding, outreach, promotion, information, and knowledge-based expertise.  Guided by our mission and goals, and with help from our arts partners, we collectively undertake actions that reflect our core values as we seek to elevate the visibility of the arts in the community, increase and diversify membership, and expand our influence on behalf of the arts. We are committed to having a staff and Board of Trustees that are dedicated, responsive, and representative of the people and interests of the community we serve. Our work supports local art programs, the pursuit of personal expression, and community development through creative placemaking, resulting in positive economic, social, and cultural outcomes.  What we do is dynamic and transformative for individuals as well as the community; requiring us to respond and adapt to the changing needs of those we serve. Because of our efforts, we are viewed by those we assist, and by the public, as one of the foremost arts and cultural agencies in the State of New Jersey. Monmouth Arts is Monmouth County’s official arts agency dedicated to improving the quality-of-life for all those who live, work, and visit here by connecting the arts, artists, and the community.


Monmouth Arts recognizes the discord, suffering, and injustice faced by BIPOC and other marginalized people fostered by generations of racism, prejudice, and privilege.  Led by our mission, we must do better to challenge institutional and cultural systems that permit this paradigm to continue, starting with our own organization. As a community based arts organization, we are obligated to serve and represent all who comprise our community.  In order to be successful, we must actively resist and confront racism in all its abhorrent forms that undermine social justice. We shall accomplish this through purposeful programming, expanding access to arts, allocating resources where they are most needed, and diversifying representation on the Board of Trustees and staff.  As an agent of change, we hold ourselves accountable to these efforts as we join others in dismantling barriers that threaten progress toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive society.​


Monmouth Arts believes in and supports...

Equity | Providing outreach and access to the arts where it is needed the most.

Diversity | Having a broad array of people in positions of leadership, governance, influence, and programming from various racial, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds, as well as ages,  genders, abilities, lifestyles and experiences is essential to the long-term relevancy and success of our organization.

Inclusion | The removal of barriers that restrict a person’s access to and participation in the arts. 

Community | A shared sense of belonging, cultural understanding, and social cohesion can be achieved wherever the creation, expression, and celebration of the arts occur.

Connection | Taking an active role in bringing together those who enjoy the arts with those who create and provide them.

Service | Offering valuable programming and resources for artists and the arts community.

Inspiration | Using the transformative power of the arts to change thought and motivate action within each of us.

Advocacy | Being an agent of positive change for the arts, artists, and arts education.


Monmouth Arts was founded in 1971 after the Junior League of Monmouth County surveyed the community and identified the need for a central agency to coordinate and assist all county artists and arts organizations. With seed money from the Junior League and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Monmouth Arts was designated as the official county arts agency, made up of arts groups, artists, and supporters of the arts. At that point, the organization began providing assistance and services to strengthen the arts and the quality of life in Monmouth County.


In 1973, an anonymous donor provided Monmouth Arts with funds to purchase Walter Reade’s Carlton Theatre in Red Bank. The theater was renamed the Count Basie Theatre in 1984 following the death of Red Bank native William James “Count” Basie. In 1999, Monmouth Arts and the Count Basie Theatre separated into two nonprofit organizations so that each organization could better focus on its individual mission.


Today, through a variety of programs and services, Monmouth Arts continues to enrich the community by inspiring and fostering the arts throughout Monmouth County.




Luke Breslin, Esq., President

Michelle Williams, Vice-President

Kelly Barratt, Secretary
Melanie Penney, CPA, Treasurer 

Perry Beneduce, President-Elect

Debra (Panzarella) Countey, CMD

Chris Curcia

Jim Geise 

Peder Hagberg

Michelle Knox

Jackeline D. Mejias-Fuertes, Dr.

Rich Murphy

Lori Palmer 

Lynn Reich

Victoria Reis

Loly Tor, Esq. 

Gina Torello

Karen Zabarsky

Kristine Zulewski

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