Open Arts PAC is a non-profit performance and education venue that provides affordable space to independent artists and offers engaging programming. Our services include live performances, classes and workshops, and affordable rental space for artists. Open Arts PAC is committed to eliminating barriers of access to the arts for emerging and established artists as well as audience and community members. We started our work at Open Arts PAC in 2012, guided by our vision of creating a supportive creative community and providing artists with the training they need.
To provide and expand opportunities in the arts and to meet the educational needs of our community through youth development and inter-generational programs while increasing our theatre workshop enrollment, enhancing the creativity and quality of our performances, growing our membership, and fostering volunteerism.
To enrich, educate and entertain our community through exceptional theatrical arts and professional theater workshops.
Executive Board Members:
Juan Carlos, Marketing – President
Emmanuel Acosta, Professional Voice Coach – Treasurer
Krystal Gunning, Investors Bank Branch Manager – Secretary
Kyle Bethea – Student Member
Matt Litt, Attorney
Nancy Musco, Dress for Success Coordinator
Donna Gould, Investors Bank Branch Manager
Joe Giancarli, Professional Advisor
Joe Giancarli has over 25 years of realtor experience in the central New Jersey counties of Mercer, Burlington, Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, and Hunterdon area. Specializing in residential and commercial sales and investment for buyers and sellers, investors and new construction development.
Yearly, Joe represents more than 60 families fulfilling their dreams of home ownership. He is advisor to their housing and financial objectives. Raised in the construction trades, he is a specialist in new home sales. He considers it an obligation to ensure his clients have all the information and assistance they need for their real estate decisions, whether buying, selling, or purchasing a new home.
Joe has essentially taken a forgotten building located on Rt. 130, and brought it back to life—filling it with art, creativity, and fresh ideas for engaging our community. With the help of his leadership team, he has reimagined the space and created a home to showcase the artistic talents of this city, to inspire new artists, to educate, to see our neighbors, and to make new friends.
Open Arts PAC is now a catalyst for the promotion of artistic and cultural opportunities and contributes to improving the quality of life in Bordentown NJ.
Taniel Bennett-Howell, Program Director
Actress, writer, & play director Taniel Bennett has over 20 years of experience in theater. As a business owner of a graphic design company, she presents cutting edge graphics and has a tremendous amount of experience in marketing, branding and promotions. She possess excellent communication and networking skills. Her business connections are continually growing and are found to be very profitable to Open Arts PAC.
Taniel spearheaded OAP’s first acting workshop for school aged students in January 2017. Many more workshops have been launched since then. She is responsible for helping Open Arts PAC become non-profit and made a tremendous contribution in helping to form members of the board of directors. She is also responsible for partnering Open Arts PAC with over a dozen theater companies. One in particular, Breaking Through the Box Theater Company, which are now a resident company at Open Arts PAC.
She is known for her original play ‘Walls” and her one woman show “Woman of Many Faces.” She is the Director and Founder of “Zyon Ministries,” a faith based performing arts group that specializes in stage plays, short skits, and pantomime. She is a certified Sunday School Teacher and a graduate of The Leadership Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts. She is currently a student at CSTI, a 4 year satellite based leadership institute.
Brian Baker, Development Director
Brian comes to Open Arts PAC with a diverse background in communications and interpersonal skills and a lifelong interest in the arts. He has over two decades of experience in education with an extensive skill set in writing, editing, media/public relations, and over 15 years experience in government relations. He also has been active for years in children’s and workers’ rights coalitions and is adept at facilitating organization member relations.
Brian is responsible for OAP getting their very first grant with Investors Bank. He continues to strive to connect with other investors to support student based workshops at OAP. His professional experience includes lobbying state and federal legislators on educational and employee issues for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). His responsibilities focused on organizing members around association agendas, assisting members in interaction with lawmakers and campaigns for endorsed candidates, and presenting workshops for members on advocacy and personal growth. In addition, he coordinated membership activities related to human rights and environmental awareness.
Brian’s experience as a writer is extensive. As a staff member for three different labor unions, he wrote press releases, advisories, letters-to-editor, newsletters, op-ed pieces, advertisements, and organizational brochures. As a freelance writer, he has contributed stories to local, state, and national publications on issues as varied as entertainment, travel, and spirituality.
Brian graduated Magna Cum Laude from Siena College, Loudonville, NY, in 1978, receiving a B.A. in English. He has also taken graduate courses in business economics at State University of New York at Albany.
Dustin Cuoghi, Office Manager
Dustin started his involvement in theater at a very young age. He performed in multiple shows at his local church, school, and other theater groups. He also co-directed and staged managed shows in high school. He studied performing arts through the Mercer County Vocational School program. He is relatively new to Open Arts PAC. He began his career as House Manager and has quickly moved up to Theater Manager. He recently took on the role as Co-Director for Open Arts PAC Student Workshop Production, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and plan to co-direct many more in-house productions. His area of expertise is accounting and office management.
OUR RESIDENT COMPANIES
Sophie Taillefer, Rising Star Voice Studio
Sophie Taillefer is a French Canadian singer, stage director and vocal coach who now resides in Marlton NJ. She came to the United States in 1998 with an invitation to study at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Since then, she has entertained audiences in many venues.
Ms. Taillefer has many roles to her Opera repertoire such as Carmen, Dalila, Maddelena, Tisbe, La Principessa Hata, Katisha and much more. She was featured as a soloist for many American Opera Companies such as Philadelphia Opera, Ash-Lawn Opera, Opera Cleveland, Brooklyn Opera and made her debut at Carnegie Hall with Opera Pacific.
As a pop singer Sophie Taillefer worked with names such as David Foster for his Grand Canadian Concert for Queen Elizabeth II. She was soloist with the Cirque Du Soleil for their Opera Circus and was back up singer soloist with the well renowned French Canadian Singer Diane Dufresne for her tour “Detournement Majeur”. Ms. Taillefer has directed and performed her solo recital called “La Belle Époque” for many French Alliances all around the U.S. including Charlottesville, Cleveland, Buffalo, New Orleans and Philadelphia.
Sophie Taillefer’s latest creative venture is as the founder and director of Rising Stars Voice Studio, where she transmits her love of music to the younger generation. Sophie has directed her Rising Stars in many shows including The Pirates of Penzance, Kiss Me Kate, Les Miserables, Beauty and The Beast, Annie, Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Oz, and The Little Mermaid.
Her students go on to sing on main stages such as the Walnut Street Theatre, McCarter, Kelsey etc.. She also prepares her vocal students to get into prestigious schools such as Westminster College, Mount Clare University, Manhattan School Of Music, etc..
Ms Taillefer has a passion for teaching kids and creating opportunities for them to achieve confidence and experience on Stage.
Alisha Cardenas, Central NJ Ballet Theatre
Alisha Cardenas (Artistic Director) originally hails from Atlanta, GA. Her training includes the Georgia Ballet, The Bravo Dance Centre and The Kennesaw School of Dance. Cardenas was accepted and attended the Cobb County School of Performing Arts majoring in Dance and minoring in Drama/Theatre. After high school, she was accepted to the University of Georgia’s performance company The UGA Ballet Ensemble. While attending The University of GA, she danced the role of Myrtha and Demi-Soloist from the romantic ballet Giselle, was a member of the Corps de Ballet and danced many of the companies repertory pieces. Past mentors include, Marina Levasheva from the Georgia Ballet and Bravo Dance Centre, Janet Robertson and Joan Buttram from the University of Georgia and Mary and Karen Rau from The Kennesaw School of Dance. Cardenas also attended the Second City and The Improv Olympic in Chicago, where she preformed, produced and choreographed numerous shows in the Chicago area. Students that she has trained have gone on to programs such as The American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Joffery Ballet NYC, The Rock School for Dance Education, The Rockettes Summer Intensive and American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). She is excited that her dream of becoming a director and owner of a school that stresses the fundamentals of ballet is coming true, and looks forward to meeting and training all her wonderful students.