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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Appel Farm Arts and Music Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Performing Arts, Performing Arts Schools

Mission: Appel Farm has a strong commitment to arts education for people of all ages, which it achieves through outstanding arts classes and professional development for teachers. It also presents music that derives from a foundation of social awareness, as well as multicultural traditions. Indeed, the Center's founders regarded the arts not only as a vehicle for self expression, but as a means and a catalyst to create community, influence social change by teaching young people about the importance of participating in the democratic process, and embracing the right to the free expression of ideas. In conjunction with this core ideology, the goals of Appel Farm are to create a warm, vibrant, supportive environment for creativity, and a place where people are accepted for who they are - a place of tolerance and respect.

Programs: Appel farm's residential summer arts camp transforms the lives of children and professional artists from around the world. With an extensive scholarship program, at-risk youth from inner cities such as newark, camden and the southern new jersey region join with children from all backgrounds to receive high quality arts instruction from arts educators and working artists in a non-competitive and nurturing environment.

conference facility - appel farm arts partners with regional organizations to hold on-site conferences and retreats.

arts education in the schools and community: appel farm partners with south jersey school districts to offer arts education programs, including long-term residencies, curricular partnerships, after-school programs, and professional development for teachers. Appel farm partners with social service and community organizations to provide art making opportunities for the sake of improving heath and well-being. Appel farm also offers its own series of arts classes, workshops, concerts and festivals on-site.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love the music concerts at Appel Farm. Last year I saw Ann Hampton Callaway and actually got to meet her after the concert. I always have a wonderful time - it's such a unique and intimate atmosphere. One of the great things about going there is the drive. Where else in NJ can you get to see beautiful farms, and wide open spaces with horses and cows in the fields? It is surrounded by natural beauty and really de-stresses me every time I go there.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Appel Farm is staffed by some of the area's most recognized arts promoters and leaders, and its take-notice programming is a big draw for music lovers in and out of Jersey. I've met a few kids (vocals, viola, visual art) whose talents were sharpened by the top-caliber instructors and professional musicians teaching during the summer. It's a beautiful setting, conducive for creativity, relaxation and concerts.

7

Client Served

Rating: 1

Well my experience was way back in 73 or 74, maybe both...Highlights were the amazing piano player/songwriter John something who sang a song about "Sweet Dandelion". If anyone knows where to find his work currently, please let me know. The other highlight was watching the swallows fly at dusk in the field next to the barn. And trying to raise three baby swallows which fell out of their nest, keeping them in the attic of the barn till we were caught. And building a sod house with Phillip Zwieg until the rains came. Eating corn fresh off of the stalk and running through thunder and lightening storms. This part of my story I've been wanting to tell: at 13, there were a few 21 year old or older counselors who were hitting on me. Males. One took me into the woods and gave me wine and pot made out with me, all but seduced me. He was married and 26. Ken something.. I remember me getting into trouble for that but not him, although he was married. And there was one male counselor who called my home after camp was over every day and tried to make my his girlfriend, although I was 13. No one at Appel Farm cared to hear about it then, they blamed me. Today these idiots would be on Dateline, NBC and arrested. Then, they were counselors at Appel Farm. Hope it's changed.

8 cfordj

Board Member

Rating: 5

Having served as a Trustee and volunteer for so many years I have many good memories, but one really stands out. About 25 years ago we were having an Autumn afternoon reception for donor organizations and I was asked to stop on my way over and pick up the young scholarship camper who was to play the piano. He came in, sat down at the grand piano and played from memory for 2 1/2 hours -- show tunes, pop, gospel and classical -- with barely a pause between. On the way home the coversation turned to camp, which he had attended that Summer for the first time. I asked "What was the best thing about camp?" His instantaneous response: "They have great pianos, all in tune and I could play as much as I wanted!" Learned later that Anthony had spent up to eight hours every day for four weeks just playing. He didn't have a piano at home and learned to play in church and later in school. This was the chance of a lifetime for him. Unfortunatly, I lost track of Anthony and don't know how his story turned out. This truly illustrates why the Trustees, Staff and Volunteers feel that Appel Farm is worth our investments of time and money.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Appel Farm is an remarkable place to take pottery classes. if it were not for Appel Farm's adult classes, I never would have had the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to make pottery. I have had such an enriching experience that it is difficult to put into words what this experience has meant to me. The atmosphere is relaxed and conducive for learning. Every instructor I have met is very nurturing. The teachers are passionate about art and are very encouraging as growth occurs in the students.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I feel incredibly fortunate to have an organization such as Appel Farm Arts and Music Center a part of my life. They have helped me as an artist be able to do what I love. To allow my art to help my communities through school residencies.Their Art and Music Festival provides a fabulous venue to sell my art.Their musical performances soothes my soul.AppelFarm is a beautiful family to a part of. Thanks.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Appel Farm Arts and Music Center has been an integral part of my artistic life for the last five years. They have provided myself and others with the facilities and staff needed to spark the creativity we all hold inside. After years of taking various arts courses at other learning institutions, I was finally able to find a home at Appel Farm. The campus at Appel Farm is truly inspiring, as are the wonderful people who work there. The collective knowledge and talent of these people are what really make Appel Farm stand out in the arts community. Whether it's the summer camp, a children's class, an adult's class, a musical performance or a theatrical program, Appel Farm knows how to make a difference in all the lives that it has touched. I know that they will continue to be a part of my life and that of my family's for many years to come. Thank You Appel Farm!

7

Former staff

Rating: 5

Appel Farm has been a Cultural Oaisis for me. As a Teaching Artist of both Musical Performance and Visual Arts, Appel Farm deeply embodies my philosophy of Art Education and Community Outreach. Appel Farm reaches across diverse cultures,from senior citizens to students with learning and Physical challenges to transitional shelters. Traveling from my home in Northern Liberties Philadelphia to the Family Success Center in Salem County to make pillows with the residence is probably one of the most rewarding work I have done in my visual arts career. My involvement in creating music with senior citizen population at Matri Dei Nursing home for 22 weeks has allow me to see and experience first hand how art and music transforms and transcends. In short, Appel Farm has become a home away from home. Appel Farm has become a place where I am nourished and as a visual artist and a musical performance artist. Appel Farm has provided venue for my musical project MOKA to perform as well as a gallery to exhibit my paintings. I honestly feel that Appel Farm with it's sustaining Arts in Education Community Outreach and internationally renown music venue,It's many art and music classes embodies my philosophy, "MAKING A LIVING BY MAKING A DIFFERENCE"

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm a current instructor for Appel Farm, where I teach both on the farm and in schools. Through Appel Farm, I've had some of the best teaching experiences of my career. I taught pop-up book arts courses to under served gifted children. I have also had the privileged of working on collaborative projects with high school children and veterans from Appel Farm, which, for the high schoolers, enhanced their understanding of history and provided new insight into current events.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Appel Farm has always been my "country neighbor" and I was pleased when they agreed to service our school with their programs. Not only does this help the school achieve part of the NJ State Standards, but it gives the children opportunities in the arts that otherwise would not happen for many of our children. We have had musical, dance, theatre, and art instruction provided to us both at our school and at the Farm. The program selections and the artists have been grand. I only learned recently that the Farm offers scholarships to local children. What a wonderful gesture to encourage the "locals" when so many of its patrons come from near and far. On a personal note, I have been able to enjoy a pottery class and have been involved with Yoga for a number of years. For working people, it has been nice to have evening classes to pursue outside interests. As a member of our Upper Pittsgrove community, Appel Farm has progressed nicely over the years and continues to do so. We are fortunate to have a facility like this in our community.

3

Former staff

Rating: 5

I barely know where to begin. When I was in high school, I’d been intrigued by radio advertisements for the Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival, but was not able to attend the event until I was in college. When we finally made the journey, as my mother, stepbrother, and I exited Route 55 and began to wind our way back toward Elmer, I immediately sensed the energy that had drawn me to the radio advertisements from years before. We had a fantastic day at the festival and during that experience, I realized why I had been so compelled to visit: this was a place I was meant to be a part of. After college graduation, endeavoring to find employment, I learned that Appel Farm offered internships. I applied and was eventually offered the spring internship position. When I moved in there at the end of December 2000, I immediately felt connected. The very grounds at Appel Farm radiate with artistic inspiration, cultivated by years of collaboration, creativity, and a personal relationship with the community. The internship provided me with the great privilege of contributing to both the events and outreach programming at Appel Farm. I was involved with the planning and operation of musical performances and theatre presentations and I traveled with professional fine artists, dance troupes, and musicians, who were sponsored by Appel Farm, to share their talent and enthusiasm with students across southern New Jersey. I was fortunate to witness, firsthand, the impact that Appel Farm programs have on the audiences and participants they reach and I felt incredibly proud to be a part of these amazing achievements. The cultural enrichment of the programs was really all that I needed to feel a sense of purpose in the work I was doing, but I was rewarded further by a significant leap forward in my self-confidence, not just as a person but as an artist (I am an illustrator and songwriter). My internship experience was so fulfilling that I decided to stay at Appel Farm for the Summer Arts Camp program. The camp sessions were astounding. Artists from all over the world traveled to NJ to become bunk counselors and arts instructors. Between the staff and the kids attending the camp, there was so much talent and creative energy, it was almost literally uplifting. Again, I was so affected by the nature of the artistic atmosphere (which seems completely inherent at Appel Farm) and everything I’d learned that I returned to the camp program for two other summers in the following years. In between summers, I also had the opportunity to work as a Box Office Assistant and as the Conference Center coordinator, two positions that continued to introduce me to Appel Farm’s diversity as an organization. *** I think what I’ve written so far could give readers a sense of how important these experiences have been for me, but I have yet to mention the most amazing aspect of Appel Farm: the people. It was so easy to find success at Appel Farm because I was surrounded by individuals who were smart, dedicated, and supportive. They were smart because they knew when to offer guidance and when to delegate responsibility or trust my own initiative, dedicated because every single person contributed outside of their department, working extra hours whenever necessary, and supportive because they respected each other (not just for their roles in the organization, but personally) and made efforts to understand the needs and concerns of the whole team. While it has been a few years now since I’ve visited, I have been told, not only that I am always welcome, but that I will always be a part of the Appel Farm family, and I absolutely know that this is true. It is a connection I will value my entire life.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Growing up in the area, I knew Appel Farm was summer camp, children's theater productions and the music festival, but it's much more. They offer a variety of classes for both children and adults. They even offer birthday parties for the kids. What better way to let parents know what fun things are available, while encouraging a child's sense of creativity. This may be just the spark it takes to interest a future appreciation of the arts, while celebrating a birthday party to remember. Five years ago, I signed up for a pottery class. One 10 week session and I was hooked. The friendly and talented staff create a atmosphere of encouragement, fun, and great instruction. It's been a rewarding experience. Pottery class has been a mini "therapy session" of sorts! It's relaxing, while being lost in the moment, working on something I really enjoy, and creating something I can also share with others.

11

Former staff

Rating: 5

I was a member of the staff one summer, teaching about radio and learning about the other arts and music from a talented and committed international faculty. Wonderful concerts by students and guest artists contribute to wonderful memories. Also enjoyed the annual summer festival with major names performing in a truly intimate environment. The camp has grown and thrives in these difficult times because of a quality program and a stellar leadership team. Bravo Appel Farm!

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of performing at, and attending many programs at Appel Farm and find the intimate setting to be ideal for enjoyment of the roots music that I love. The annual outdoor festival is one of the highlights of my year and I am always pleased to announce upcoming events at the farm on my radio program. The high quality of presentations is greatly appreciated. Jim Albertson,Down Jersey Radio

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been involved in Appel Farm in two very different ways, as the father of two girls who ADORED the summer arts camp, and as a performer who has visited perhaps a dozen times over the years performing childern's environmental theater. My two girls grew up in the summer camp, majoring in theater and being exposed to a phenomenal staff from around the world, original plays written by that staff, and other very talented kids from many places. My oldest, now a high school senior, is president of her school's acting troupe and just finished directing Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap; her leadership in high school is without question an outgrowth of her time at AF. My performances for children and family groups at AF are always delightful; the audiences are thrilled to have live children's theater, as AF serves a vast swath of southern NJ that otherwise would have very little opportunity for bringing children to live theater. It is a very rural, underserved community that counts on AF for these kinds of experiences. As a performer, these have been some of the nicest, most sincere families I have ever met--coming into the audience after a show to chat with kids and parents is always a joy. In short, AF is a great institution serving a vital need for a large community.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Over the years Appel Farm has been involved with my school (while a principal) and my school districts (as a superintendent) in a number of arts-education joint projects. Appel Farm staff has helped design artist-in-residence programs, has involved my students with artists at Appel Farm, has co-written grants with us, has overseen arts installations and a host of other programs that has made the arts live for literally hundreds of children. Also, our theater program held their senior student directed plays at Appel Farm and enjoyed that venue. AF has been amazingly supportive of many public school programs and has fostered its mission among students in our community. One installation was of student-made tiles that represented the community, another was of deer sculptures. Theater and dance academy students were able to work with a professional mime artist in a residency housed at AF. The list of shared ventures is quite long. In every program, AF has exhibited the highest standards of artistic competence and professionalism.

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter attended Appel Farm Summer Camp for three seasons (summers of 2004, 2005 and 2006). I writing to you to let you know about the positive long-term impact Appel had on her life. Prior to sending her to camp, she was a middle school student who hadn’t found like-minded kids with similar interests as she. My daughter has always been a bright student and a deep thinker. In addition to her thirst for knowledge was her passion of theater arts. She is one who marches to the beat of her own drum and chooses not to submit to peer pressure. While she had plenty of opportunities to attend parties and have friends in school, she chose not to play the typical middle school games, and became a bit of a loner. So, we decided sending her to an overnight camp for the arts just might be the ticket. At Appel Farm, not only was she able to enjoy her love of theater and perform in a theatrical production each summer, but she found a group of kids that became her forever friends. It was truly a life-changing experience for her. She bonded instantly with this group. Often they would have philosophical discussions about life, debate about important social issues, and support each other in their quest for the lead roles or having their photos exhibited in the photography shows. Because she found this group of friends, she developed self-confidence, and realized that she indeed is not a loner, but someone who requires friendships that support her, not try to tear her down. We are fortunate to live in the cell phone and computer age, so these girls still are “best friends”, even though they have not been campers together for a few years. They have a daily Facebook chat thread going and talk to each other about their relationship triumphs and tragedies, their acceptances or rejections from college, and in general, their day to day well being. They turn to each other in the good times and bad. Often I will catch Jolie watching a “Skype” video from one of her friends that wants to discuss her wonderful day or engrossed in a phone conversation with them, trying to counsel them on the “crisis du jour”. While most don’t live nearby, each year they set aside at least three specific weekends to get together as a group. They also get together when they can one on one or in smaller groups. They have been quite disappointed that this year has been tougher to get the gang together because of the time commitment they have had with college visits. But regardless of the distance between them, they are always there for each other. The chat thread on the computer lives on. We are truly grateful to Appel Farm for not only providing a warm environment that promotes self expression, but for the lasting friendships that have come from the summers spent there.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a camper for several years at the Appel Farm Arts and Music summer camp, and it was honestly one of the most enriching experiences of my adolescence. The farm has a warm, welcoming, tight-knit community, with inspiring and talented counselors and directors. There was such a variety of areas to explore: I remember learning multiple musical instruments, experimenting with video software I would never have otherwise had access to, getting lessons in stage fighting (of all things!), blowing glass and making glass beads, and learning how to fire my own pottery in a wood-fired noborigama kiln. As a young artist, Appel Farm provided me with the opportunity to learn and experiment with things I would never have been able to do otherwise. And it was such a creative, nonthreatening environment. I still get homesick for it!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Appel Farm is an amazing organization. I have volunteered for the annual music festival a number of times. The organization has a knack for bringing in some truly talented musicians - I've yet to see an act at this festival that I didn't walk away loving. I have also donated to Appel Farm's programs in the past. As an educator, I wish there were more organizations out there that worked to help young students realize their artistic and creative skills in the way that Appel Farm does.

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Appel Farm is the oasis in the cultural desert that is southwestern New Jersey. They are the primary stronghold for arts experiences in their corner of the state. The creative and expansive programs provide opportunities for arts education, arts appreciation, and creative self-exploration to thousands of children, adults, and families who participate annually as students, artists, teachers and audience members. The Community Outreach programs serve elementary, middle and high schools in Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem Counties. Indeed, the exceptional arts programs presented by Appel Farm are often the only arts programming offered in any of these schools. The concert series, family matinees and annual Arts & Music Festival bring nearly 10,000 people to this remote rural location to revel in hearing and seeing the finest musicians and theatres for young audiences in a bucolic and peaceful setting. The Appel Farm staff is seasoned and superb. They operate like a well-oiled machine but are never willing to rest on their laurels; programs are constantly being developed in response to the needs of their underserved community. Expansion and innovation are woven into Appel Farm’s way of thinking and there are always new and exciting elements to their programming. The usual hue and cry about the lack of funding in southern New Jersey is not heard from the Appel Farm staff. They have effectively attracted funding from corporations, foundations, and individuals throughout the region and beyond. Thanks to their nationally-renowned summer camp, the earned to unearned revenue ratio at Appel Farm is enviable, and their financial position is strong. Appel Farm is an outstansing arts organization and incredibly worthy of winning this distinction as a Great Nonprofit!