ArtYard is a contemporary art center founded by a group of artists, filmmakers, curators, and writers. Located in Frenchtown, NJ, we are about an hour’s drive from NYC and Philadelphia. Construction of a theater and renovation of our buildings will be our primary focus in the coming year. Interim film, performance and art adventures will take place in a designated space until construction is complete. Here are more details about our campus. Here is the story about how ArtYard was born.
Jill Kearney is a writer, visual artist, and a former journalist and film executive. She is the daughter of artists who founded The Contemporary Art Workshop, an art center housed in a rambling former dairy factory in Chicago, Illinois. As a child, she spent many formative summers in Provincetown, Mass, where local arts institutions anchored a diverse community of artists, writers, and fisherman. She graduated from Harvard with a degree in English and Creative Writing, worked in Hollywood as a creative executive at Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios, served as west coast editor of American Film and Premiere Magazine, and later ran the Tribeca Film Center-based offices of Los Angeles film producer Art Linson. She married Stephen McDonnell, founder of Applegate Farms Organic and Natural Meats, moved to Bucks County PA, worked briefly on the sausage line wearing a white cap, raised three strong and capable daughters, and sat on the board of Applegate Farms. Before launching ArtYard she produced theater, dance, and literary events in a cavernous unheated barn in Bucks County PA, where she developed a deep appreciation for the practice of art as a collaborative enterprise.
Elsa Mora is a Multimedia Artist and a recipient of the UNESCO-Ashberg Bursaries for Artists. Born and raised in Cuba, she moved to Los Angeles, CA, in 2001 where she lived until 2014. Mora currently resides in New York with her husband William Horberg and their two children. Elsa’s art has been exhibited worldwide in art galleries and museums. She taught at the Vocational School of Arts in Camaguey, Cuba, and has been a visiting artist at the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco State University, The Art Institute of Boston, the MoMA Design Store, and the National Gallery of Art, among other places. Her work is in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, and the Long Beach Museum of Art in CA. Mora has collaborated as an illustrator with organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, The New York Review of Books, Penguin Random House, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and teNeues, among others. Mora is passionate about forming and strengthening communities through the transformational power of art, creativity, and collaboration.
Geraldine Dougherty holds a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. She has been a project coordinator for Applegate’s senior leadership team, a fashion designer, and a cancer research nurse with a consistent focus on the intersection of creativity and resilience. Geraldine’s management skills and her remarkable ability to keep our team focused continue to play an important role in the development and growth of our organization.
Guest Chief Curator
Magda is an Independent Curator and advisor based in Toronto. She was a founder of the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center in Havana, Cuba, and a member of the curatorial team for seven editions of the Havana Biennale. A member of the International Association of Contemporary Art Curators (IKT), she is a curator of a permanent collection of contemporary Cuban art at the Art Gallery of Ontario and has curated shows for the Luminato Festival, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the Royal Ontario Museum, Arco Fair, Loop Video Art Barcelona, Pulse Miami, the Cuban section for the 1st Johannesburg Biennale, and the 1st Dakar Art Biennale, among others.
FilmYard Guest Curator
William Horberg is an Independent Film Producer and Chair of the Producers Guild of America on the East Coast. He was born in Chicago where he owned and operated the downtown repertory Sandburg Movie Theatre from 1979 to 1981. Horberg began his career in 1987 as a creative executive at Paramount Pictures and later became Senior Vice President of Production. While at Paramount he oversaw the development and production of such films as Ghost, The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, Dead Again, Regarding Henry, Soapdish, The Addams Family and The Godfather Part III. In 1991, Horberg joined producer/director Sydney Pollack’s company, Mirage, where he produced such films as Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain and The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Quiet American, Heaven, Sliding Doors and Searching for Bobby Fischer. During that time, he also created and produced the critically acclaimed Showtime anthology series Fallen Angels which featured Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Steven Soderbergh and Alfonso Cuaron. He also produced the HBO movie Poodle Springs based on the unfinished novel by Raymond Chandler and adapted by Tom Stoppard. Other films produced by Horberg include Milk, Synecdoche New York, The Quiet American, Lars and the Real Girl, Disconnect, Black Nativity and The Promise, among others. Horberg is passionate about music, comic books, and drawing. He regularly plays the flute and piano with colleagues in Woodstock and NYC.
Founding Board Member
Founder and former CEO of Applegate Farms Organic and Natural Meats. Stephen’s experience as a leader as well as his wisdom and consistent support, have been crucial for ArtYard. He is the finest mentor that we could ask for.