School of the Arts

SOTA: School of the Arts

JCC MetroWest School of the Arts

The JCC MetroWest School of the Arts is a perfect place for children and adults to begin their own artistic journey. SOTA celebrates the process, performance and enjoyment of art, dance, and music, enriching the lives of people throughout the MetroWest area.


SOTA offers studio art classes and workshops for all ages, taught by a dedicated faculty of experienced artists and art educators. In the studios, students are encouraged to experiment with materials and explore a variety of ways to interpret their ideas in art.

Early Childhood

  • Creative Construction
  • Creative Clay
  • Fun with Clay
  • Art Explorer
  • Children's Art Therapy Groups at JCC MetroWest

Grade School

  • Draw, Paint, Create!
  • Ceramics I
  • Collossal Creations


  • Adult Ceramics • Handbuilding
  • Art Lovers Odyssey
  • Painting Workshop


Kids, teens and adults at all levels of training can take classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, and more. Our professional faculty are committed to a positive, supportive approach to ensure that our students develop into strong, injury-free dancers and confident individuals.

Early Childhood

  • Pre-Ballet
  • Ballet 1
  • Ballet and Tap
  • Big Kids on Broadway Musical Theater
  • Hip Hop
  • Happy Nappers - Pre-Ballet

Grade School

  • Ballet & Tap
  • Hip Hop I
  • Big Kids Sing Sing Sing



Fischell Jazz Dance Fellowship

For more information about any of the dance classes listed above please contact Melissa Brody (School of the Arts Assistant Manager) at


We offer a variety of experiences for our students to enjoy - from voice and piano lessons, to specialty classes, to our film series. SOTA provides a well-rounded artistic experience to the culturally inclined individual.

All Ages

  • Percussion Lessons
  • Piano Lessons
  • Voice Lessons


  • Explore Your Groove
  • Adult Improvisation
  • NJJFF Reel Film Series

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SOTA Teachers


Meet the School of the Arts

T  E  A  C  H  E  R  S


Janet Boltax 





Janet Boltax is a figurative and portrait artist who has had solo exhibits in New Jersey, New York and VIrginia; and her work is in private collections throughout the United States.  She received a B.F.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and continued her studies at the Art Student's League of NYC.  In addition to teaching at the JCC, she is also an oil painting instructor at the Montclair Museum and the Montclair Adult School.

Catherine Black 




A graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a minor in Dance, Catherine has appeared nationally in tours of Camelot with Robert Goulet, My Fair Lady, and Brigadoon with John Schneider.  During Brigadoon, she worked with Rob Marshall, director of the films Nine and Chicago.

Catherine has also performed internationally singing and dancing her way through Asia and the South Pacific.  Favorite rolls include, Amy in Company and Johanna in Sweeny Todd.  Other regional credits include Joseph, Evita, Phantom, Guys and Dolls, Annie, Gentlemen prefer Blondes and Mame.  She feels lucky to have worked with such stars as Andrea McArdle, Loretta Switt, Debbie Boone, Vic Damone, Barbara Eden, and Gary Sandy. 

Catherine currently teaches Zumba and the Dance series at the JCC and is proud to be a new member of the Arts department.  She is married to musical instrument mouthpiece designer Greg Black. Together, they have a wonderful little boy Tyler and a golden retriever named Catcher.



Vivian Olshen




Vivian Olshen, long time resident of Livingston, teaches oil and acrylic painting and is leader/instructor of the popular Art Lover's Odyssey, a museum & Gallery course, at the JCC.

Born in Brooklyn, Vivian began her professional art studies at Pratt Institute where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree.  Further study at Montclair State College resulted in a Master of Arts degree. She has also studied at the prestigious Art Students League. Her teachers have included Jonathon Silver, Carmen Cicero, Jacob Lawrence, Philip Pearlstein & George McNeil.  She has received numerous awards for her work (paintings, prints, drawings).  Her work can be found in private collections in the U.S. and Canada.

In the painting studio, Vivian encourages each student to find his/her means of expression, be it representation or abstraction, and she works with each student on a one to one, at his/her level of ability, to find his/her particular style.

The Art Lover's Odyssey provides an opportunity for interested persons to learn about the New York art scene and then actually visit the exhibitions discussed in class. Emphasis is on understanding the artist's motives as well as biographical material and placing work in an historical context.

Michaelle Weinger





Michaelle Weinger lives in Montclair, NJ and has been a member of the JCC staff for the past year, teaching clay and multimedia as well as fabric and sewing to youngsters. Prior to joining the JCC, Michaelle was an outreach teacher at the Montclair Art Museum for three seasons, helping to make art come alive for grade- and middle-school students across Essex County. Michaelle is a former PTA President in the Montclair school system. While there she established new "rites of passage" traditions for the students at Rand Elementary.

Michaelle has been working with clay for the last seven years. Her latest mode of expression is the animal world. Her art has been displayed at Montclair Public Library and the JCC in West Orange. Michaelle, who has been sewing all her life, is also an accomplished professional gardener.


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SOTA Celebration

School of the Arts Celebration!

Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM 

Come see all fine & performing arts students celebrate their developing talents from months of class instruction. 

Dance students will perform show-stopping productions in jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop.

Art students will exhibit works from mediums including ceramics, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media.

Tickets are currently on sale at

$5 Members/Students/Seniors
$8 General Admission



For more information and to purchase tickets: or call 1-800-494-TIXS.

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School of the Arts - Interest Form

Have questions? Interested in a specific class? Don't see what you're looking for? Please fill out the form below and we'll get back to you.

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    Adler Aphasia Center
  • Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC

    Ross Family Campus

    760 Northfield Avenue

    West Orange