The Borough Improvement League (BIL) is proud to announce the new “SummerHouse for the Arts” series to be held at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse at 491 Middlesex Avenue in Metuchen, New Jersey.

In keeping with our founding mission to “arouse and to develop among the residents of the Borough of Metuchen a deeper and more active interest in the general growth and material welfare of the Borough,” the BIL is partnering with the Metuchen Market Day and Metuchen Arts Council to support our community this summer by providing a “summer home” for the cultural, visual, musical, creative, dramatic, and culinary arts.

Each Saturday during the months of July and August, the Old Franklin Schoolhouse will be open to the public between the hours of 11am and 2pm, free of charge. A summer-long exhibit by more than a dozen local artists will be on display, free self guided tours of the ca. 1807 one-room schoolhouse and walking tours of the area will be provided, local art & historical items will be available for sale, and information about Metuchen’s summer events will be on hand. The highlight of the Saturday open hours will be a series of culinary workshops offered by the Metuchen Market Day, starting at 11:00am. All are free of charge and topics include French pastry, simple Indian vegetarian recipes, “How to Pack a Japanese-Style Bento Box Lunch,” gluten-free cooking, and more.

On Saturday evenings the schoolhouse will welcome a series of musical, theatrical, and historical productions; the hosts of these events include the Metuchen Arts Council, Raconteur Ventures, the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society, and even special evenings organized by local musicians themselves. From an evening in tribute to Levon Helm to a staged radio play of the Great Gatsby and a display of Civil War memorabilia, there will be something for everyone.

During the weekdays, the space will be used for workshops and camps offering a wide range of instruction; art, writing, improvisation, dance, cupcake decorating, fire safety for children, scrapbooking, and music.

A special Wine & Cheese Reception will serve as the kickoff for the “SummerHouse” series on Friday, July 6, 2012 starting at 7:00pm, and will celebrate the collaboration between the Metuchen Market Day, the Metuchen Arts Council, & the Borough Improvement League. In addition to the newly installed visual art exhibit, a special installation of an iconic historic artifact at the schoolhouse will be unveiled. The featured vintner for the evening will be Unionville Vineyards, a New Jersey winery set in the hills of Hunterdon County. There is no fee to attend, and wine by the glass will be available for purchase. The following day, July 7, 2012, Unionville will have their fine wines available for sale at the Farmer’s Market.


Old Franklin Schoolhouse, 491 Middlesex Avenue ~ Metuchen
Every SATURDAY, JULY and AUGUST 11:00Am – 2:00Pm

  • Metuchen Market Day Workshops @ 11am
  • Summer-long exhibit by more than a dozen local artists
  • History displays of the ca. 1807 one-room schoolhouse
  • Self-guided walking tours of Metuchen
  • Information about other local summer events.
  • Out for a walk? There’s lemonade for you, water for Fido.

Saturdays 11-2 are FREE & open to the public, and parking is available along Middlesex Avenue or at Metuchen Borough Hall. For many more workshops & evening events,visit: ???

Market Day Workshops Saturdays @ 11:00 Am

July 14th – The Stress Effect
This workshop by Jamie Checket explores the effects of stress on our body and mind. Come and learn the ways various foods and behaviors can either create or lessen stress in your life. You will begin to understand that you have the power to make simple positive changes that result in greater peace and happiness. Learn about Jamie at

July 21st – Let’s Cook Indian: Simple Indian Vegetarian Recipes
This workshop by Hema Devarajan is an introduction to the basics of Indian cooking. We will use simple spices and fresh produce from the Metuchen Farmers Market to put together simple and healthy Indian Vegetarian recipes that you can try out at home. Read Hema’s blog at

July 28th – Say Cheese! Say Cashew Cheese!!
Dairy allergy or lactose intolerance got you down? Making nut cheese is fun and simple to learn! Join us for a cashew cheese making demo with Health Coach Evelyn Fuertes of from Sprouts To Supper. For more information on Evelyn and her Health Coaching approach, visit

August 4th – Fresh Fruit & French Pastry: a Match Made in Heaven
Learn how to take a handful of fresh, local ingredients and transform them into a scrumptious and elegant dessert. In this workshop, Kir Rodriguez, a pastry chef instructor and local foodie, will teach how to make Farmers Market Berry Shortcakes. Edison resident Kir Rodriguez is a Pastry Chef Instructor at The International Culinary Center in New York City, and was formerly Executive Pastry Chef at Orso, Pastry Chef at Le Cirque 2000, Cafe Boulud & Union Square Cafe.

August 18th – Cooking Gluten Free & More!
Whether you have celiac disease, food allergies, or have decided to make lifestyle choices, going gluten free and vegan doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. Karen McNamara and Allison Inserro, both BIL members, will show how you to make healthy and delicious morning treats: applesauce muffins with gluten-free oats and fruit smoothies.

August 25th – How to Pack a Japanese-Style Bento Box Lunch
Forget PB&J – how would you like a multi-course meal complete with vegetables, broiled meat or fish, and fruit? In this workshop, you’ll learn not only how to prepare a Japanese-style bento box lunch, you’ll also get tips on how to whip up a healthy, gourmet lunch fast from Janna Morishima, a local foodie, who has learned how to cook many traditional Japanese dishes by reading cookbooks and learning from her husband’s family and friends in Japan.

These free workshops are organized & sponsored by the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Metuchen Market Day,” which hosts a farmers market at Pearl & New Street in Metuchen each Saturday from 9:00am to 2:00pm, June to October. For information on featured vendors, weekly specials, and more, visit their website

Cultural EVENTS – music, theatre, history

Friday, July 6th – Wine & Cheese Reception – 7pm
Join us as we kick off the “SummerHouse” series with a special wine & cheese reception featuring Unionville Vineyards, an awarding-winning New Jersey winery set in the hills of Hunterdon County. The evening will serve as the debut for our summer-long art exhibit and the unveiling of a special installation of an iconic historic artifact at the schoolhouse (it’s a surprise!), and will include acoustic guitar by musician Steve Kaplan. There is no fee to attend, and wine by the glass will be available for purchase. (ABC License Pending)

Saturday, July 7th – “Remembering Levon Helm” – 7:30pm
A special evening of music in tribute to the songs and musical genius of the late, legendary Levon Helm. Featured performers include Evan Watson, Jeremy Benson & friends, Karyn Oliver, & Sharon Goldman. $10 adults, $5 seniors, free up to 12 years old.

Saturday, July 14th – “The Great Gatsby” – 8:30pm
“The Great Gatsby,” a staged radio play presented by Raconteur Radio ($10, to confirm details and make advance reservations, visit

Saturday, July 21st – “The Clayhole Brothers” – 8pm
The Clayhole Brothers use acoustic guitars, washboards, fiddles, mandolins, ukuleles, cowbells, electric violins, drum kits, and (little) amplifiers to present beautiful and unexpected familiar songs from a repertoire that spans 700 years, from medieval folk music to rock n’ roll; some presented traditionally, others with a modern approach. $10 adults, $5 seniors, free up to 12 years old.

Saturday, August 4th – “Play Like A Girl: Simon & Garfunkel Re-Imagined”–8pm
The “Chicks With Dip,” a NYC-based singer-songwriter collective will perform a one-time-only show based on and inspired by the work of Simon & Garfunkel. Hosted by Metuchen-ite singer/songwriter Sharon Goldman, performers also include Meg Braun, Anna Dagmar, Honor Finnegan, Victoria Lavington, Catherine Miles, Elisa Peimer, Allison Scola, Carolann Solebello, Allison Tartalia, and Kirsten Williams. $10 at the door.

Sunday, August 26th– Civil War Display & Presentation – 4pm
Free display & presentation by Civil War Historian Jack Ensel. Additional days & hours for the collection’s display to be announced. Presented by the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society.

More ‘Raconteur Ventures’ Events…
Saturdays at 8:30pm; July 28th, August 11th, & August 18th
Staged radio plays and productions by Alex Dawson. Titles include “Batman,” the “Hobbit,” and more. For more information, visit

WEEK-long WORKSHOPS and camps

“Cupcake Wars” &“Belly Dance Bootcamp” – July 9th to July 13th
Afternoons: Jr. B.I.L. CupCake wars for tweens and teens. Learn filling and decorating techniques for anoutstandinganduniquestatementinbitesizedcakes. Evening:Bellydancing,ages18to80,learn basic techniques and a simple choreography. Contact Diana at

“The Artist’s Eye: Art Into Writing and Back Again” – Two Sessions
July 16th through July 20thth and July 23rd through July 27th
A lively Writing + Visual Arts Camp for kids ages 10- 14 designed to encourage creative participation in writing and visual art, taught by writer Jana Siciliano and glass artist Amy Brooks. Weeks begin with a foundation of art & writing, then diverge into a wide range of topics, including poetry, memoir, film writing, cartooning, illustration, food art, & more. Contact Amy at

“Firefighter DanTM Fire Safety Camp” -July 30th through August 3rd
Firefighter DanTM Fire Safety Camp will teach your child (ages 4 to 7) to recognize, reduce, and escape hazards using interactive animations, hands-on activities, crafts, games and more! Taught by a retired Newark Battalion Chief, a volunteer Metuchen firefighter, and a certified elementary school teacher. To register, call 732-709-3551 or visit

Scrapbooking “Crop Fest” – August 13th through August 17th
Open Crops, Parent/Child Crops, and a special workshop on Tuesday, August 14 from 7pm to 9pm, “How To Design a Gorgeous Photo Book” demo by Janna Morishima. For more information about this special week of cropping for scrappy enthusiasts, contact Terry at

THEATREPROV – August 27th through September 1st
THEATREPROV is an improvisation/theatre ensemble based in Metuchen featuring students from Metuchen High School and Edgar Middle School. Using suggestions from the audience – the ensemble creates characters and scenes in a variety of different styles of theater, movies and television. For more information, contact Cheryl at
????????The Borough Improvement League sincerely thanks the Metuchen Savings Bank for their sponsorship of the “SummerHouse” series, and for their generous support of our community year-round.

The Borough Improvement League sincerely thanks the Metuchen Savings Bank for their sponsorship of the “SummerHouse” series, and for their generous support of our community year-round.