Annual Report

Friends of the Kennedy-Martin-Stelle Farmstead

Annual Report For 2014


On behalf of the Friends of the Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead, we thank our members, volunteers, the musicians, actors and artists who have shared their talents with the Farmstead, the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission, the NJ Historic Trust, our historic architect, Michael Calafati,  our contractors, and the members of the Township Committee; and the following departments, Administration, Public Works, Engineering, Police and Fire, Systems, Recreation and the Community Service Team for their support of the Farmstead.  The Kennedy Martin Stelle Farmstead has truly been a collaborative effort.   We appreciate all your efforts and confidence in us, and look forward to working with you in the future. The grants and activities described below have been made possible in large part as a result of the successful collaboration between the Farmstead and the Township.



Farmstead Arts Grant Awards and Historic Preservation/Adaptive Re-Use


The Friends of the Farmstead are very grateful that State, County and private program funding continues through tough economic times.  This crucial support enables us to continue the Farmstead’s mission of enhancing cultural and historic education opportunities within our community and beyond.


In 2014, Somerset County awarded the Friends a $140,424 Historic Preservation Grant of for the following:


English Barn:  ADA compliant use, north entrance store front, create walkway from south side emergency exit, finish ADA walk from north side, basic lighting fixtures and exterior lights, a platform over the drop stalls, a rat slab and removal of the partitions in the drop stalls, preservation of the drop stall flapper doors and drop stall and view panel lighting.


Farm House:  Replace the basement steps for safety, plaster the ceiling in the dining room and kitchen and install sheet rock in the closet under the second floor staircase.


Ice House:  install a cedar shake roof.

The specification and bidding process are currently in process. Bids from contractors will be solicited in the next 6 weeks with work anticipated to be completed by July 2015.



In 2014 we completed the following work using funds received through the 2013 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant:


Farmhouse — stabilized the fireplace;


English Barn — installed electricity, basic lighting, a security system and an entrance platform and an ADA ramp;


Cow Shed –replaced the badly deteriorated roof tarp.  This spring, we will install an historic marker.


In 2014 completed staining the English Barn, replacing rotted trim and doors and replaced barn door hardware using funds received from the 1772 Foundation grant of $11,500.  This is the first time in many years that a New Jersey nonprofit has received money from this national foundation. The Friends matched this amount from funds we raised from dues and donations.



In 2011, the Friends were awarded a $176,483 Garden State Preservation Trust grant for work on the English Barn.


In 2014, the Friends received permission from the Historic Trust to use the remaining $11,694.49 to provide general lighting in the English Barn.   In 2013 the Friends completed use of all but $11,694.49 of the funds for the elevation of two transverse beams that limited use of the west end of the barn, installation of a concrete slab and partial wood floor (re-using original wood from the barn); and a weather-tight emergency-egress door on the south side of the barn.  A final report will be submitted on this grant together with the final report on the 2013 Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant, which we anticipate filing in the spring after installation of the historic marker.   Upon receipt of the final payment from the Trust, the Friends will repay Bernards Township $11,649.50 that was advanced to the Friends pursuant to the agreement to provide bridge funding under the State Grant.


Wagon House – The roof tarp and some siding were badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy. In 2014, the Township’s insurer confirmed that their property insurance would not be available to cover the repairs.  The Friends are exploring alternative ways to repair, restore or replace the wagon house, including possible Federal funds that may be available through the NJ Historic Trust to repair historic buildings damaged in Superstorm Sandy, or petitioning the Historic Trust to allow the Friends to dismantle the wagon house and replace it with a historically accurate replica. The Friends envision use of the Wagon House for active crafts and a classroom. Very little original sound fabric remains for re-use so preservation using in-kind materials and construction techniques would be prohibitively costly.  We want to use modern materials and techniques to replicate the Wagon House’s external appearance as it existed during the Farmstead’s period of historic significance.


Cow Shed — The Friends plan to use the Cow Shed for a welcome center and history room. The badly deteriorated tarp covering the roof was replaced in 2014 using the 2014 Somerset County Historic Preservation grant.  We plan to seek a future grant to preserve the Cow Shed through replacement of deteriorated fabric in-kind using original construction techniques.   In the mean time we will continue to monitor the structure’s condition regularly to assure that temporary shoring and protection remain sound and in place to minimize deterioration.


Driveway Paving, Exterior Painting — In 2014, Bernards Township paved the driveway at the Farmstead, and Community Service painted the exterior of the porch and the message board at the Farmstead.  These improvements greatly enhanced the aesthetics, safety and accessibility of the Farmstead.


Somerset County Historic Preservation Award – In 2014, the Friends were honored to receive the Somerset County Historic Preservation Award.



Arts Programming and General Operating Support – In 2015, The Friends received a general operating grant of $7000 from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts through the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission LAP Grant.  This is the highest award given to any Somerset County organization under this grant program.  The Friends were awarded $4000 from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts through the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission LAP Grant for arts programming and general operating support in 2014.





Activities Furthering the Public Purpose for Which the Leasehold Was Granted


Farm House public use:  The house is in constant use as an arts center.  As of this date, all five of the upstairs studios are licensed to artists, and the main floor is being used as art galleries, teaching studios and for small concerts and theatrical events.


English Barn public use: In October, 2014 the Friends realized a long time vision of officially opening the English Barn to the General Public. We celebrated the opening with tours of the English Barn, featuring colonial crafts and music during Somerset County’s NJ  ”Weekend Journey Through the Past”.  Next up was our first dance in the Barn. The month’s activities concluded with 4 sold out performances of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in the Barn



The following is a calendar of events that lists what was accomplished by the Friends of the KMS Farmstead in 2014.  All events were held in the Farmhouse at the Farmstead (450 King George Road, Basking Ridge, NJ  07920), except as otherwise noted below:



Calendar of Events at Farmstead Arts – January – December 2014


  • 8 Theater performance including 4 fully staged productions of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow October 17,18,24 and 25 in the English Barn and 4 productions of What Price Freedom in the Farmhouse October 11 and 12.  Both productions were done by the Farmstead Players under the direction of William Ward.  All the performers were volunteers.  Volunteer ticket takers and ushers included Girl Scouts and various members of the community.   Approximately 500 people attended the Sleepy Hollow performances and 100 attended the What Price Freedom performances, both drawing all ages.
  • One Barn Dance featuring Rumpus, a trio of professional musicians, in the English Barn on October 11. The Rotary Club of Bernardsville provided bar-b-que. Approximately 100 people participated of all ages.
  • 19 classes for homeschool children and after school classes for grades K – 8 with Anita McKenna Murphy were held on in the Farmhouse Wednesdays throughout the year.  12 students participated in the various classes with several taking more than one class.
  • 12 Clay Classes on Thursdays throughout the year in the Farmhouse taught by Debbie Limoli. 15 students, ages HS – adult, participated in the various classes, with several taking more than one class.
  • 6 Beginning Drawing Classes on Wednesdays throughout the year in the Farmhouse taught by Douglas Schiller. 5 students, ages HS – Adult, took the classes.
  • 6 Origami Workshops on various days throughout the year in the Farmhouse and the Barn taught by Joy Ann Cabanos. 50 students, ages 5 through adult, participated in the various workshops.
  • 9 Free Dramatic Play Readings under the direction of William Ward were held on Monday evenings in the Farmhouse from 7 – 9:30 PM. All were open to the public.   Approximately 300 people of all ages participated as actors, playwrights, and audience members.
  • 4 Concerts, including the Dolce Trio on Feb. 9 which had to be moved to the Brick Academy due to snow blocking the driveway at the Farmstead, attended by 35 audience members of all ages, Brazilian artist Xande Cruz performed at the Farmstead on April 22 to a crowd of 45 people in the Farmhouse, open to the public as a collaboration with the Rotary Club of Bernardsville, Gordon Thomas Ward, folk singer, performed at the Farmhouse on May 18 to an audience of 25, and the Arioso Consort, a quartet of early music players, performed at the Farmhouse on November 2, to an audience of 24 people of all ages.
  • 5 receptions featuring professional musicians coinciding with the art show openings featuring pianist Chris Aggabao, Guitarist Arturo, Pianist Nicki Denner, Saxophonist/Flutist Anton Denner,  and  violinist David Rimelis.
  • 6 art shows featuring works by over 150 artists including the Ridge High School Advanced Placement Art Student show in January featuring 40 young artists,  the first Farmstead Arts Member Show in March, with 20 artists ages HS – adult, the ArtSee Studio Tour, done in collaboration with the ArtSee Artists in October with four artists showing their work at the Farmhouse,  the Exhibitors’ Co-op Art Show in May – June featuring 20 artists from New Jersey, and the Equine Artists National Juried Show from October – November featuring over 30 artists from across the US and Europe.
  • Collaboration with the newly formed Basking Ridge Business Alliance, of which the Farmstead is a charter member, in a town-wide exhibit/sale of art by local artist displayed in businesses throughout the township in August and September. The opening reception was held at the Brick Academy in downtown Basking Ridge in September.
  • Holiday Boutique on December 6 featuring gifts made by local artists.
  • Creation of a video promoting the Farmstead distributed through Wells Fargo on their facebook page as part of an awareness campaign for nonprofits. This was shot by Tim  Gaziano, who is a film major at Lafayette University,  on a probono basis.  Professional actor William Ward supplied voice overs on a pro bono basis, and all other interviews done were by board members and volunteers.


  • Participation at Charter Day in Basking Ridge Center with art demonstrations. Booth was staffed in collaboration with the ArtSee Artists.  Over 500 people visited the booth, where free art demonstrations and crafts for children were provided.


  • The public was invited to create holiday cards for the troops during ArtSee Weekend and Weekend Journey Through the Past in October. Over 100 cards were created by people of all ages at the Farmstead, and sent to the troops through the New Jersey Chapter of the American Red Cross.


  • Participation in Weekend Journey Through the Past Oct. 11 and 12, where art activities included free tours of the historic Farmhouse and English Barn, four performances of What Price Freedom (mentioned above) plus origami workshops, performances by William Ward as a traveling troubadour singing songs of the 1800’s, country line dancing lessons, and an art show, as well as colonial games and crafts.





Human Resources


The Friends of the KMS Farmstead have no salaried employees.



Ann Rosenblum – President

Carolyn Kelly – First Vice President

Peter Carhart – Second Vice President

John Campbell – Board Secretary

Michael Kelly – Trustee

Leslie Stevens – Second Vice President

Rick Carlson – Trustee

Tammy DeVoe – Trustee


Recording Secretary:  Kim Hiscano.

2014 Township Committee Liaison:  Carolyn Gaziano

Pro bono legal support:  Nicholas San Filippo — Attorney, Lowenstein Sandler

Pro bono book keeper:  Dennis Dinsmore


A sad note for 2014 was the loss of our dear friend and fellow Farmstead Trustee, Peter Hall.  Pete touched many lives as a coach, teacher, father, carpenter and friend, and we are grateful for all the contributions he made to help the Farmstead succeed. Everywhere you look at the Farmstead, there is something that Pete built – the kitchen and baths, the gallery hanging system, benches, coat racks, ADA ramps and even the barn doors. His family requested that contributions in his honor be made to the Farmstead.  We are using those funds to restore the Farm House porch and will honor his memory with a plaque in “Pete’s Hall”


Operating Revenues, Members’ Dues and Donations – In 2014 the Friends received $147,424 in government grants, $10,089 in membership dues and donations, and $22,480 in program revenue and other earned income, including fund raising.



Tax Exempt Status


The Friends of the KMS Farmstead have maintained tax exempt status under both state and federal law.


Respectfully submitted,


Ann Rosenblum, – Board of Trustees President

Friends of the Kennedy-Martin-Stelle Farmstead