"SummerHouse for the Arts" 2012

The Borough Improvement League (BIL) was proud to host the first “SummerHouse for the Arts” series at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse at 491 Middlesex Avenue in Metuchen, New Jersey during July and August, 2012.

In keeping with our founding mission to “arouse and to develop among the residents of the Borough of Metuchen a deeper and more active interest in the general growth and material welfare of the Borough,” the BIL partnered with the Metuchen Market Day and Metuchen Arts Council to support our community this summer by providing a “summer home” for the cultural, visual, musical, creative, and culinary arts.

Each Saturday during the months of July and August, the Old Franklin Schoolhouse was be open to the public between the hours of 11am and 2pm, free of charge. A summer-long exhibit by more than a dozen local artists was on display, free self guided tours of the ca. 1807 one-room schoolhouse and walking tours of the area were provided, local art & historical items was available for sale, and information about Metuchen’s summer events was posted. The highlight of the Saturday open hours was a series of culinary workshops offered by the Metuchen Market Day, starting at 11:00am. All were free of charge and topics include French pastry, simple Indian vegetarian recipes, “How to Pack a Japanese-Style Bento Box Lunch,” gluten-free cooking, and more.

On Saturday evenings the schoolhouse welcomed a series of musical, theatrical, and historical productions; the hosts of these events included the Metuchen Arts Council, Raconteur Ventures, the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society, and even special evenings organized by local musicians themselves. From an evening in tribute to Levon Helm to a staged radio play of the Great Gatsby and a "Vinyl Night," there was something for everyone.

During the weekdays, the space was used for workshops and camps offering a wide range of instruction; art, writing, improvisation, dance, cupcake decorating, fire safety for children, scrapbooking, and music.

A special Wine & Cheese Reception served as the kickoff for the “SummerHouse” series on Friday, July 6, 2012 starting at 7:00pm, to celebrate the collaboration between the Metuchen Market Day, the Metuchen Arts Council, & the Borough Improvement League. In addition to the newly installed visual art exhibit, a special installation of an iconic historic artifact at the schoolhouse was unveiled. The featured vintner for the evening was Unionville Vineyards, a New Jersey winery set in the hills of Hunterdon County.