Blood Center Exhibit Honors Black History Month

Forefathers by Sahdir Ellis

SCOTCH PLAINS—The works of local artists, both African Americans and those who pay tribute to the talents of African Americans, will open in an exhibit honoring Black History Month at the NJ Blood Services blood center and South Avenue Gallery on Feb. 22, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Scotch Plains blood center was opened last fall because Union County boasted the highest concentration of platelet and whole blood donors in the state. However, the center was designed to be much more than a facility to donate blood.


“We’re trying to make the center a go-to destination for area residents,” said Marie Forrestal, manager of Donor Recruitment & Retention at NJBS. “This is new, trying to make it a destination and community hub, and not just a blood center.”

She said that the South Avenue Gallery located within the center, will feature the works of local artists, with the exhibits rotating every two months.

In honor of Black History Month, African American artists Sahdir Ellis, a Summit High School graduate who resides in Plainfield, and Justin Countee of Bridgewater, will exhibit their work with Scotch Plains resident Cheri Rogowsky whose photography features black jazz musicians.

“We are inviting local blood and platelet donors to stop by the center at 2279 South Avenue in Scotch Plains between 5 and 8 p.m., to view the exhibit, enjoy the refreshments, and to take time to donate blood during a time when there is such a critical need.”

According to Forrestal, the recent blizzard and additional bad weather combined with regular blood donors experiencing colds and flu, has left the region in a deficit of 2,000 unit of blood.

“There is a special need for O negative blood, which is the universal type and can be transfused into other blood types, as well as an on-going need for platelets,” she noted.

To donate blood, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit

Image courtesy of NJBS

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