Adam Lerner directs The Lab at Belmar, one of several exciting new spaces that have distinguished the urban shopping center as a creative hub as well as a shopping destination; in its first year, Belmar has hosted everything from filmmaking workshops to gallery exhibitions and cutting-edge public art. The Lab's "Appreciating Contemporary Art & Things You Learn From Aunt Miriam" program has been the center's runaway hit: The lecture series -- held from October through May on the first Thursday of every month -- considers art from cultural, political and spiritual perspectives, exploring its power to shape and change societies as well as the human psyche. Photographers, video artists, writers and historians are among the speakers who christened the series' inaugural run. The talks are so popular that reservations are recommended. Capacity crowds turning up to talk art in the middle of the suburbs? There's something happening here.
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