The Jersey Shore Arts Center
The Mission of the Ocean Grove Historic Preservation Society, Inc. is twofold: to save and restore the beautiful and historic building, the “old” Neptune High School, currently home to the Jersey Shore Arts Center, and operate the Arts Center in support of local artists and arts educators and provide professional opportunities and significantly affordable work space to artists, educators, arts-related educators, and community groups who develop opportunities for the broader Jersey Shore community to experience and engage with the Arts.
The Ocean Grove Historic Preservation Society is a registered 501 c(3) non-profit organization
About The Jersey Shore Arts Center
The HIstory of the Jersey Shore Arts Center.
The restoration of the "old" Neptune High School, and its subsequent transformation into the Jersey Shore Arts Center, is a remarkable story that began with the shared vision of Herbert Herbst and some very determined and far-sighted individuals.
Built in 1896,the building was celebrated at the 1906 World's Fair as an "Architectural Splendor", had fallen into ruin in the 1980's and, after weather and neglect, came close to destroying it entirely.
In 1996, the Ocean Grove Historic Preservation Society, led by Herbert Herbst, stepped in, took title to the building and began the quest to not only save the badly damaged historic building, but to realize a dream: turning it into what it is today, a beautiful Historic building and a home for the cultural arts at the New Jersey shore.
When the Historic Preservation Society began their labor of love, they faced a task many called impossible. They were greeted by fallen ceilings, ruined floors and walls and the need to upgrade virtually every aspect of the building from plumbing and electrical to sprinkler systems.
With their dream of opening an Arts Center for the Monmouth County community firmly in mind, they began the gargantuan task of restoring the building step by careful, caring step. Contractors were hired for major structural, plumbing and electrical work.
The first phase, completed in 2000, saw the opening of the first floor with five newly renovated classrooms, restrooms, lobby, office space, and a magnificent 400 seat theater. Subsequent phases saw the construction of dressing rooms, costume and workshop rooms and kitchen area in the lower level of the building (completed in 2001). Since then, the entire second floor has also been restored and renovated, including classrooms, the theater's Loge (balcony) with a seating area of 200, two dance studios and a third beautiful extensive ballroom studio.
In the summer of 2014 we officially opened up our third floor facilities. This includes our 3rd Floor Cafe Space, two studios, a beautiful lobby, and the Herbst Theater. The Herbst Theater is a small theater which seats 75 people. This theater will host a variety of theatre productions and musical acts which are too small for our main theater.
Today, the former High School and current Jersey Shore Arts Center (JSAC) still provides an "education" to Monmouth County. In addition to providing a venue for arts-related activities, the JSAC also is a home to creative professionals who offer instruction and participation in the arts, dance, music, theater, pottery and ceramics. The JSAC serves the Writers Association, a violin academy, civic associations and is also home to two in-house theater groups which host first class dramatic and musical productions.
JSAC Board of Directors
Melinda Herbst-Kelley, Board President
Rebecca Cavanaugh, Board Secretary
Mary Ann Conway, Board Member
Frank Danieli, Treasurer
Janet Rothstein, Vice President
Edward Santoro, Board Member
Nichole Nappi, Executive Director
Christian Bacchia, Operations Manager
Robert "Lil Bobby" Duncan, Building Monitor
• Given an award in 1999 by the Monmouth County Planning Board as "One of The Most Significant Projects in Monmouth County."
• The 1906 World's Fair recognized the building as an "Architectural Splendor."
• General Colin Powell, USA (Ret), former United States Secretary of State, learning of the Jersey Shore Arts Center activities, wrote "My congratulations to all the wonderful volunteers of Ocean Grove for what you are doing for your community."
• The Chief Judge for Monmouth County Superior Court, the Honorable Lawrence Lawson, has taken an interest in the arts center efforts and is having Monmouth County judges assign selected individuals to perform community service at the Center.
• The use of volunteers is a way of life at the Jersey Shore Arts Center. A former New Jersey State Senator Joseph Palaia, a graduate of the school, has provided continuous support, advice, and assistance with legislative grants.
• The Alumni of the "old" Neptune High School has provided gifts and financial support.
UPCOMING PROJECTS & PROGRAMS
JSAC IS ALWAYS GROWING