SHARKS FOR THE ARTS FUNDRAISER The Mid-State Arts Resource Team (mART) hosted a gala fundraiser for Sharks for the Arts, its multi-year community arts project to establish a new arts center in Monmouth County.

The gala was highlighted by an auction of 10 decorated shark sculptures from mART’s “Shark Tank” exhibit and also featured the unveiling of the first life-sized shark sculpture, which launched Phase II of the Sharks for the Arts project.

mART president Marina Alexander said the organization honored four women at the gala as Monmouth Arts Advocates for their work supporting the arts in their communities. Honorees are Sylvia Allen, president of Allen Consulting, Holmdel; Rosemary Peters, former mayor of Middletown; Mary Eileen Fouratt, executive director of the Red Bank-based Monmouth County Arts Council, and Lillian Burry, mayor of Colts Neck.

“All of the honorees have contributed to expanding the reach and influence of the arts locally, through promoting concerts, exhibits and other special events, developing resources and arts programs, and by supporting building efforts in their communities,” said Alexander.

The “Shark Tank,” a juried exhibit of decorated 18-inch shark forms and the first phase of the Sharks for the Arts project, has been touring the state since it was launched two years ago.

“In addition to recognizing the community leaders, the gala is an opportunity to honor our ‘shark artists,’ too,” said Alexander.

Proceeds from the gala benefited MART’s long-range goal of establishing a new local arts center with facilities for rehearsal and performance space for dance, music, and theater, as well as studio and gallery space for the visual arts. “The center will also offer space for instruction in various artistic disciplines, and offices for local non-profit arts groups,” Alexander said.