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Ellen Kane: A Fearless Artist

Nothing Can Stop Her

Today, it seems we live in a culture of “yes.” Skim any lifestyle blog or self-help book, and you’ll find a new list of 15 ways to transform your life with those three little letters. Say “no” at your own peril, they caution, because you’ll certainly miss out on that next best thing. That’s precisely what makes artist Ellen Kane so fearless: she is never afraid to say “no.” If a color, word, or movement doesn’t quite fit, she breaks into a mischievous smile, slowly lifts up her arm, and delivers an emphatic “thumbs down.”

Born in Maryland and raised in Lavallette, NJ, Ellen has been a standout artist of the Matheny Arts Access Program since its inception in 1993. Her discerning, yet playful nature has always been evident in her visual art, and is now manifesting itself as she expands into the realm of choreography. Although she is new to the art form, Ellen has quickly developed a distinctive, highly detailed movement style and an affinity for unexpected staging and musical choices. “I always want to do beautiful paintings and dances,” Ellen said. “I want to do something different every time.” Her first completed dance, a solo set to “Taps,” will be presented as part of Full Circle 2017: Art of Possibility on Saturday, November 4 from 3-6pm. Held at Matheny Medical & Education Center’s Robert Schonhorn Arts Center in Peapack, NJ, Full Circle is an annual showcase presented by the Matheny Arts Access Program that celebrates the creative achievements of talented artists with disabilities. “I’m very happy my dance was chosen for Full Circle,” Ellen said. “It was challenging to choreograph for the first time, but I’m proud of what I created. I hope the audience is moved and inspired by this piece. I finished it on Pearl Harbor Day. I was feeling sad, and remembering the sacrifices our armed forces have made. I want the audience to remember that, too. I have a lot of respect for the men and women in our military and the freedoms they give us.”

An accomplished visual artist, Ellen’s acrylic and digital works have been presented in several prestigious group exhibitions throughout the metropolitan area, including Grounds for Sculpture, The Monmouth Museum, Rutgers, and The Paper Mill Playhouse, plus “Lane and Kane,” an exclusive two-person showcase in Morristown, NJ. Her art also hangs in the permanent collection at Johnson & Johnson’s headquarters in Ohio. In 2016, Ellen was selected as one of ten inaugural artists of the Art Garden CSA, an innovative entrepreneurial venture. Turning passion into a profession for artists with disabilities, Art Garden CSA commissions limited edition work and connects the artists with enthusiastic patrons who purchase shares of fine, functional and wearable art. Arts Access, now in its 24th year, gives people with disabilities the tools necessary to create fine art. Assisted by professional artist-facilitators, the artists use specialized systems and methodologies that have been designed to empower individuals across the full spectrum of disability to bring their visions to life. The fruits of their creativity - acrylic paintings, digital art, choreography, poetry, plays, essays and more – are highlighted at Full Circle. The public is invited to enjoy works created by Ellen and all the other artists who are participating in the Full Circle 2017 multimedia gallery exhibit and stage performance. Local vendors and sponsors also offer gourmet food tastings and beverages. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at or (908) 234-0011 ext. 260. All proceeds will benefit the Arts Access Program. Please visit for more information.

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A program that supports local artists with disabilities.



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Ellen Kane: A Fearless Artist

Today, it seems we live in a culture of “yes.” Skim any lifestyle blog or self-help book, and you’ll find a new list of 15 ways to transform