About the Gallery
The Gourgaud Gallery, located on the first floor of the Cranbury Town Hall, has become a center for the Arts in Cranbury. The Gourgaud Gallery Committee strives to bring new, exciting exhibits to the Gallery each month. The Gallery features a new exhibit each month, open to all, beginning each exhibit with an Artist's Reception on the first Sunday of each month from 1:00 -3:00 p.m., unless otherwise posted. The Gallery also offers musical soirees, poetic and dramatic readings, film screenings, lectures and classes.
The Gourgaud Gallery is run by volunteers interested in the arts. The Gallery is always looking for additional volunteers to staff the committee, whose purpose is to oversee the operation and running of the Gallery. A member of the committee does not need an art background - merely an interest in art, the ability to give some time to the operation, and a desire to see the Gallery and the Arts continue to thrive in Cranbury. The Gourgaud Gallery Committee meets once a month, in the Gourgaud Gallery.
As part of the non-profit Cranbury Arts Council, the Gourgaud Gallery donates 20% of any art sales back to the Cranbury Arts Council and its programs that support and promote the Arts in our community.
Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
New exhibit receptions:
First Sunday of the month from
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Some receptions subject to change and will be announced.
The French-influenced Eva Gebhart-Gourgaud Foundation was begun by the Baroness Gourgaud in 1947 in honor of her descendant, The Baron Gaspard Gourgaud. The foundation contributed to more than 700 historic preservation projects throughout New Jersey, New York and New England. Landmarks Preservation, Inc., the Cranbury non-profit organization responsible for saving the Old School (now the Town Hall) from demolition, petitioned the Foundation for a grant in 1972.
After eleven months, research found that there were numerous descendants of original French Huguenot settlers in Cranbury (i.e., a "French influence"), and in 1973, the Foundation awarded an $11,000 grant to Cranbury Landmarks to provide a room in the Old School dedicated to the Arts, in perpetuity. [Ed. Note: it should not be overlooked that the amount of this grant was the approximate annual income of an average middle class family in 1973, making it a reasonably large donation.]
Through the '70's a dedicated staff of volunteers, the names of whom are still known today, rehabilitated the Old School, with emphasis on the Gourgaud Gallery. Among them, and by no means a complete list, are Amend, Armstrong, Barclay, Bunting, Burns, Cook, Morgan, Perrine, Stave, Stults, and Thomsen.
In December 1976, the Gourgaud Gallery opened its first Exhibit, featuring the works of the renowned artist and Cranbury resident, George Stave. Mr. Stave's works were professionally lit due to the generous donation of the gallery art lighting by Mr. Marvin Gelman, owner of Lighting Services Inc. in New York.
The Gourgaud Gallery soon became the focal point of the Old School due to its capacity to accommodate a broad view of the Arts. Over the years the Gallery hosted local, national and internationally known artists, presenting exhibits in paint mediums, photography, memorabilia, and mixed media. The Gallery was also used for art classes, lectures, poetry readings, the performing arts, and, was the site of an ABC-TV news interview about the Gallery and the Old School.
Although it fell into disuse through the 1990's, many Cranbury residents felt that its use as a Community Center for the Arts should be revived with the 2000-2001 renovation of the building when the "Old School" was re-dedicated as the new Town Hall. Gourgaud Gallery re-opened its doors to the Public, concurrent with the building's rededication, on October 14, 2001, as New Jersey's only municipally operated gallery. The Inaugural Exhibit, "Reflections of the Old School", was a mixed media presentation of images of the building, past and present, by over twenty local artists
Since January 2003, the Gourgaud Gallery has featured a new exhibit every month; each exhibit opens with a First Sunday Artist's Reception. There are no charges for either application or entry, and a 20% donation will be taken from any art sales for Cranbury Arts Council programs, classes and events. Artists are encouraged to apply for an exhibit by completing an application, which can be obtained in the gallery.
In 2006, the Township leased the Gourgaud Gallery to the Cranbury Arts Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts. The Gallery continues to offer the availability for artists to exhibit their visual, musical, and spoken works in a professional environment, with the opportunity for the public to view and hear artistic works in what has, indeed, become Cranbury's Center for the Arts.