After such resounding support of its inaugural project, the oxen Stampede, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council is excited to announce that it has appointed David Miller as its first Executive Director and is thrilled to be taking this important step forward with him.

Miller brings over 35 years of experience to the post and to the tasks of planning the Council’s programmatic advance and building a strong organizational base for future operations as a highly respected arts management professional. A lifelong central NJ resident and the former Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Grounds For Sculpture, Miller began his career in local arts development as administrator of the Burlington Council Cultural & Heritage Commission and later as Community Arts Coordinator for the State Arts Council, where he rose to become Executive Director, a post he later held with Grounds For Sculpture. In every position, he has earned distinction for sound planning and innovative programming.

“We welcome David Miller to this important post at this auspicious moment in our development, when we have successfully launched the Council and captured the energy, recognition, and support of the communities we serve” said Hopewell Valley Arts Council Co-Presidents Betsy Ackerman and Randee Tengi. “His wealth of experience, broad knowledge, and enthusiasm for the value of art to community vitality exactly match the exciting challenges and opportunities in front of us.”

Just two years ago, dedicated residents and art-lovers throughout the Hopewell Valley formed the Arts Council with its initial project, the Stampede, which celebrated talented artists in the area through the colorful and imaginative creation of 69 life-sized ox sculptures. After two months of roaming the Valley as a public art exhibit, the sculptures were sold to supporters both near and far. The final 11 oxen were most recently showcased and auctioned at the Council’s inaugural ‘Year of the Ox” gala held at Grounds For Sculpture in January, 2015.

“The Stampede was the perfect project for a perfect launch — one that not only captured the attention and delight of the entire Hopewell Valley, but fortified regional identity and forged new partnerships in the community to bolster other initiatives the Council has been building,” said Miller.

These other initiatives include a Fall 2014 arts workshop series, the “Winter Windows” displays partnering with MercerMe in which local merchants throughout the region created showed support for the arts through a window decorating content, and February’s Restaurant Week, a celebration of regional culinary arts.

“With such a great start,” Miller continued, “There’s no telling what can be accomplished next.”

Just next month, on April 30, the Arts Counsel is offering a “Wine Showdown – France vs. The World,” which will compare wines from France to similar varietals from other regions, as well as pair the wines with wonderful culinary experiences prepared by The Brothers Moon chef Will Mooney. Bringing more art into valley life, the Council is creating concerts, summer family art workshops, and various arts demonstration and engagement projects at upcoming community events throughout the valley.

Mr. Miller will initially begin on a part-time basis and will work with the board, along with a growing number of volunteers and community stakeholders, to map out the Art Council’s next steps, with the goal of sustaining momentum and building a larger, durable base for future growth.

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council is a private non-profit, charitable organization that looks forward to many future announcements of valuable, exciting programs for the people of the Hopewell Valley and the region. It fills an important role in a unique, talent-rich region of the state, which previously had no organization devoted to promoting all the ways that art, artists, and the larger creative community enrich lives, improve quality of life, and contribute to such vital civic concerns as education, community and economic development, preservation, conservation, and healthcare. The Hopewell Valley Arts Council embraces an open philosophy that recognizes the arts are for everyone, every day, and are alive and worth fostering in all human endeavor throughout the region, as expressed by their mission of “celebrating art in the everyday.”

For further information or to join the growing number of residents who believe the arts matter here, visit our website at

Photographed above: Carol Lipson, Randee Tengi, David Miller, Vanessa Sandom & Susie Henkel

MercerMe was a proud sponsor at the “Year of the Ox” Gala and Founder/Publisher/Editor Mary (and her husband, writer, and webmaster, Ryan) are also the proud owner of Jersey Strong, one of the final 11 oxen.

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