How Jeanne Has Made A Difference

The "Art by Jeanne" Benefit Trust was created to keep the spirit of Jeanne Vanderbeek Downey, the beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend to so many alive. Jeanne had a passion for art, she spent the later part of her life sharing that passion with children through art classes taught in her home and volunteering in the Clinton Township School Districts Gallery Time art program. It was a goal of Jeanne's to teach children the cathartic benefits of art. Hopefully this trust will enable school districts to help make Jeanne's goal a reality.  

June 11, 2021

Congratulations to Kimberly Madera, as the 2021 recipient of the "Art By Jeanne" Scholarship!  To learn more about Kimberly and her accomplishments at North Bergen High School, please read this letter written by Kimberly's art teacher, Piera DiGiulio.

I first met Kimberly when she began sitting in on my Basic Drawing class during her free time from the school year of 2017 to 2018. She enrolled in my Advanced Drawing class from 2018-2019, my art Honors class from 2019-2020 and finally my Advanced Painting class senior year. During this time I witnessed her growth and development.

Kimberly manages her time well and has a strong work ethic. She is always sketching and applies the elements and principles of design to form many creative ideas. She is not afraid to ask questions and she utilizes constructive criticism to improve on her work. North Bergen High school was virtual from March 2020 until mid April; yet during these difficult times, Kimberly continued to motivate herself. She took initiative by buying her own supplies and regularly sent photos of her artwork for critique. She is now coming back to school with a sketchbook always in hand.

During her high school career, Kimberly participated in the Art Club, Drama Club and Math Club. She won several art awards which include The NASA Langley Student Art Contest-3rd place two times for the 10th grade and 12th grade category, the AAA Traffic Safety Poster Contest-2nd place grades 9-12 category, and The North Bergen Fire Prevention Poster contest held by the NBFD. In her spare time, Kimberly enjoys drawing, writing, reading, and playing guitar.

I am very proud of her.

Piera DiGiulio

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Featured from left to right: Piera DiGiulio, Kimberly Madera and Mr. Steven Defendini.

May 28, 2020

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The recipient of this years "Art by Jeanne" Scholarship, is the very talented Jaylin Duchesne of North Bergen High School. Jaylin has received accolades from her art teacher, Mr. Steven Defendini, who shared his admiration of Jaylin's journey with the school's production of Alien:The Play, where she was the lead designer of the amazing costumes, creator of the elaborate backdrops, and even a puppeteer performer in the show.  Please check out Mr. Defendini's Scholarship recommendation letter of Jaylin Duchesne.

Congratulations Jaylin!

 

But wait...there's more!

Due to the enormous popularity of this production and the 3 million hits from the viral video of opening night, North Bergen held an Encore performance on Friday, April 26th, 2020, and there was a VERY special member in the audience.  Can you guess who?

Read more about the critical acclaim of North Bergen's Alien:The Play  and the Encore performance experience on NorthJersey.com.

What an incredible accomplishment Jaylin!  We wish you all the best as you continue your journey at Montclair University in their filmmaking program.  

Featured from left to right: Jaylin Duchesne and Mr. Steven Defendini.

May 29, 2019

Congratulations to Jesse Angel, as the 2019 recipient of the "Art by Jeanne" scholarship!  Jesse is attending New Jersey City University and is majoring in Art. During her time at North Bergen High School, Jesse has has achieved the following accomplishments:

  • Completed Pre summer Program at Montserrat School of Art in Massachusetts (Animation and Illustration)

  • Designed NBHS Yearbook Cover

  • Teen Arts Award 2019 for 3 drawings

  • Honorable Mention for Drawing for Go Green Campaign

  • Donated drawings to two local community organizations

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Jesse Angel pictured with Art teacher, Steven Defendini. 

May 31, 2018

This year’s recipient of the "Art by Jeanne" scholarship is Desiree Chavez.  Desiree is a student at North Bergen High School. She will be attending The School of Visual Arts in NYC in September, studying computer animation.  Her art teachers say she is extremely talented with a bright future ahead of her.  She will be using the scholarship to help her with supplies.  Congratulations Desiree!

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Pictured from left to right:  Michelle Mortoral and Desiree Chavez.  Picture courtesy of Tracie Bruno.

May 14, 2018

After presenting our first "Art by Jeanne" grant to the Clinton Township School District, the Art Educators of Clinton Township School District wanted to create a work of art with their students that would be an educational and lasting legacy. They decided to create four mosaic panels featuring trees in four seasons, representing growth through learning and the seasons of life. Students in each of the four district schools worked with their art teachers to design and create the 4' high mosaics. Spruce Run School created "Spring" under the direction of Laura Evans, Patrick McGaheran School created "Summer" under the direction of Kelly DiGioia, Round Valley School created "Fall" under the direction of Patrick Gugliandolo, and Clinton Township Middle School created "Winter" under the direction of Chelsey Lindaberry. The image of a red cardinal appears in each mosaic as a symbol of Jeanne Downey's life. Work on the "Downey Mosaics", as they came to be known, launched the idea of an "Inspiration gARTen," which is currently under construction in the Clinton Township Middle School courtyard. Special thanks and appreciation to Michele Cone, Diane Cormican and Michelle Mayhood for their assistance and support.

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Photo's Courtesy of ASCreations

October 20, 2017

On Wednesday, October 20, 2017, the Vanderbeek and Downey families presented the 3rd Annual "Art by Jeanne" Benefit Trust grant to the Annandale, NJ Immaculate Conception High School Art Department. Accepting the grant was Principal David Stone. The grant was awarded with the stipulation that it would be used to enhance art programs.

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Pictured from left to right:  Ray Korbobo, Caitlyn Downey, Jack Downey, Judy Vanderbeek, Olivia Bruno, Tracie Bruno, Sammi Downey, David Stone, John Downey.  Photo Courtesy of ASCreations.

June 1, 2017

The "Art by Jeanne" benefit trust will be awarding an annual scholarship to a North Bergen HS senior who will be pursuing a post-secondary education in the arts.  The first Annual Art by Jeanne scholarship has been awarded to Ashley Then Ovalle.  Ashley is a student at North Bergen High School (Jeanne’s alma mater).  Ashely will be attending Parsons, majoring in Art.  Congratulations Ashely!

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Pictured from left to right: Michelle Martoral and Ashley Than Ovalle.

November 1, 2016

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The family of Jeanne Vanderbeek Downey would like to thank the Union County Magnet High School faculty for their donation to the "Art by Jeanne" Benefit Trust.  The faculty at the Magnet High School in Scotch Plains, NJ donated their October proceeds from their monthly Jeans Day collection.  We appreciate their kindness and appreciate their support.

October 19, 2016

On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, the Vanderbeek and Downey familes presented the 2nd Annual "Art by Jeanne" Benefit Trust grant to the North Bergen High School Art Department. Accepting the grant were Mayor Nick Sacco and Board of Education President Luis Rabelo. The grant was awarded with the stipulation that it would be used to enhance art programs in the district.

Pictured from left to right: Mayor Nick Sacco, Board of Education President Luis Rabelo, Judi Vanderbeek, Tracie Bruno, Coleen Vanderbeek, Olivia Bruno, Marie Feeney, Sammi Downey, John Downey, Jack Downey and Caitlyn Downey. 

October 26, 2015

On Monday, October 26, 2015, the "Art by Jeanne" Benefit Trust presented its first annual grant to the Clinton Township School District's board of education. The grant was presented by the Downey family; John, Caitlyn, Samantha and Jack, to Board President Maria Grant and Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Drucilla W. Clark.  The grant was awarded with the stipulation that it would be used to enhance art programs in the district.

Pictured from left to right: Sammi Downey, Jack Downey, Board President Maria Grant, John Downey, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Drucilla W. Clark, and Caitlyn Downey. Picture Courtesy of ASCreations.