Middletown, N.J. (July 9, 2014) – On May 1, 2014, the Middletown Arts Center's Executive Director Maggie O'Brien of Middletown, N.J. was awarded the John J. Pappas Recognition Award at The 34th New Jersey Governor's Awards in Arts Education at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton. She was honored for her outstanding achievement in the arts at the ceremony and reception presented by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership and produced by Art Pride NJ.
Maggie O'Brien has been Executive Director of the Middletown Arts Center since the 23,000-square-foot facility opened in 2007. O’Brien was hired as the Director of the Middletown Arts Center in 2004 and worked on the renovation of the facility. She has been a steadfast supporter of community arts programming and has utilized her talents and expertise as a fine artist, instructor and former business owner to attract an audience of all ages and abilities to the Arts Center's award-winning classes, camps and events. In 2013 alone, the Arts Center welcomed more than 60,000 thousand visitors through its doors located next to the Middletown Train Station on 36 Church Street in Middletown, NJ.
In addition to her role as Executive Director, O'Brien participates on the Middletown Township Planning Committees for events like the widely-anticipated Middletown Day and upcoming 350th Anniversary Gala, Parade and Time Capsule Ceremony. She continues to also work with the Middletown Township Cultural & Arts Council, the non-profit 501c3 that operates the Arts Center, to develop new programming that engages and entertains visitors from across New Jersey.
O'Brien has been instrumental in developing partnerships at the Arts Center. A few include the JINKA Foundation, The Shore Consortium for the Gifted and Talented, 180 Turning Lives Around, Amanda’s Easel, High Tech High, Middletown Board of Education, American Sewing Guild, New Jersey Creativity in Counseling, JMJ Home School Association, Colts Neck Swing Band, Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, Plein Air Painters of the Jersey Coast, New Jersey State Youth Orchestra, Art Educators of New Jersey, and more.
Maggie O’Brien has also previously received the Customer Service Excellence Award from the State of New Jersey and has been named a Community Champion of the Arts by the Monmouth County Arts Council.
About The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education
The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.
The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Forensic League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; VSA New Jersey; and Young Audiences/New Jersey.
The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan the special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony is a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.
About the Middletown Arts Center
The Middletown Arts Center (MAC) is an award-winning, state-of-the-art facility run by the nonprofit Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council and is dedicated to bringing quality arts programming and events to Middletown and surrounding communities. The MAC offers enrichment programs and entertainment for all ages and abilities. Visit www.middletownarts.org for more information. The MAC can also be found on Facebook at Middletown Arts Center and Twitter @MiddletownArts.