Kadie Dempsey hangs up her pumpkin at Morris Arts; next stop: MPAC

Kadie Dempsey, founder of the event, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Kadie Dempsey, founder of the event, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
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Kadie Dempsey has illuminated her last pumpkin for Morris Arts.

“There’s a time for everything,” she said at Monday’s Pumpkin Illumination, the Halloween-themed event she started at Morristown’s Vail Mansion eight years ago.

Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Dempsey is leaving Morris Arts, where she has worked for 16 years, to become a consultant to the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

She starts her new gig on Dec. 1, 2017. Her specialty is “creative placemaking,” which she defines as designing arts programs that reflect the community and enhance the local economy.

“I’m really excited. The staff is awesome at Mayo,” Dempsey said.

Kadie Dempsey marches in Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination parade, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kadie Dempsey marches in Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination parade, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

MPAC President Allison Larena said one of Dempsey’s roles will be expanding the theater’s involvement in the fledgling Morristown Cultural District.

The South Street district was established in the spring to combine cultural and charitable endeavors.

Member organizations include the Morristown & Township Library, the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen and MPAC.

“We’re so excited to have Kadie join our team,” Larena said. “One great thing about Kadie is she has a stellar reputation in Morristown. She’s a seasoned veteran who will help create a more cohesive bond between MPAC and other arts organizations.”

 

Slideshow photos by Bill Lescohier and Kevin Coughlin

Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Artist Dan Fenelon at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kadie Dempsey at her 8th, and final, Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
The Lintet performs at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
The Vail Mansion hosts the 8th annual Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kids at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kids get a jump on their Trick-or-Treating, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts team: Tom Werder, Gina Moran, Dr. Lynn Siebert,  Kaity DeLaura and Barbara Reuther, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Star Wars motif at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kadie Dempsey marches in Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Dan Fenelon and Morristown First Lady Mary Dougherty, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Costume parade at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Costumes at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Kadie Dempsey, founder of the event, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
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The Lintet quartet performs at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
The Lintet quartet performs at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier

In addition to the annual pumpkin event, Dempsey’s Morris Arts ventures included the summertime sidewalk fair Meet Me in Morristown; an arts mentoring program at Morristown High School; and the National Endowment for the Arts-backed Gateway Totem Project, sculptures that celebrate the town’s immigration history.

“I’ve had a wonderful experience–great opportunities, great staff, great programs,” said Dempsey, a Morristown native. 

She started Core Creative Placemaking on the side two years ago with her husband, artist Dan Fenelon. 

Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“This is the direction I wanted to go in,” Dempsey said.

“Our loss is MPAC’s gain,” said Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder, citing Dempsey’s “very exciting and productive years” with the nonprofit arts council.

Kids get a jump on their Trick-or-Treating, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kids get a jump on their Trick-or-Treating, at Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“She’s gotten to the stage in her career where she can work as a consultant and do the work she loves, and do it at an organization that’s also committed to our community. It’s a great win for her and for MPAC.”

Dempsey’s legacy will be felt every October: Werder said the pumpkin illuminations should  continue for “as long as there is Halloween.”

 

COMMENCE ILLUMINATING! Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
COMMENCE ILLUMINATING! Pumpkins line up for the annual Illumination, moved back one night because of weather, to Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Bill Lescohier
The Vail Mansion hosts the 8th annual Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
The Vail Mansion hosts the 8th annual Morris Arts Pumpkin Illumination, Oct. 30, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
 

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