From displacement to movement
After the artists' space at 111 First St. in Jersey City closed, many of the art leaders in town met to find a place for the displaced artists and to find a way to build a new audience. Those leaders - Art House Productions, Jersey City Museum, Pro Arts, Victory Hall, Grace Church, Gallery 58, Mana Fine Arts - reached out to the community and found that the city was willing to embrace the artists. With each new JC Friday, the event has gained momentum and spread to new venues. This fall, the event brought over 900 people to the art scene, which is up from the 800 who attended this summer.
Because of the overwhelming response, JC Fridays is being held four times a year, at the change of every season. There is a steering committee that organizes the day that includes: Paul Sullivan (Pro Arts), Ev Stone (Mana Fine Arts), Garth Kobal (Grace Church), and Christine Goodman and Jack Halpin (Art House Productions).
According to Christine Goodman, the event has blossomed into areas outside of the historic district.
"We've had an incredible response," said Goodman. "It's just incredible to see how many people are coming out. Last time we gave out feedback cards and we got to see that there is a real desire to see free art in the community."
What you'll see, some highlights
On Friday, the event starts at 8 a.m. and goes until 2 a.m. In addition to the 35 events, there are family specific performances and discounts on the day from local businesses. (For complete list of times and events, visit: www.jcfridays.com. ) This time around, there are many wine & cheese receptions and cocktail parties that are sure to please guests that want to see great art in a festive environment.
Several of the venues are collaborating on shows like Another's Man Treasure and Residue Gallery. Residue is holding an auction featuring artwork and clothing from Another Man's Treasure.
"There are lots of new participants this time," said Goodman. "I was really excited to see the creative ways that the businesses are getting involved."
Some of the businesses are doing interesting things when reaching out to the community. A new venue, Waldo Lofts, reached out to the local bars (LITM, The Merchant, Bar Majestic), and asked the bartenders to participate in the "First Annual Waldo Lofts Cocktail Classic." The seasoned mixologists will compete to create the best drink.
There are visually stimulating activities as well including film showcases (Kim's Mediatronics), art demonstrations (Gurevich Studio, A Sound Start), and open forums (St. Matthew's Church) where guests can share their own thoughts on art with a poem or a song.
There are even holiday sales for those looking to find a unique gift. Hala Vintage is holding a BillyKirk sample sale and Grace Church presents a holiday arts and crafts show. Goodman suggests that first time attendees should grab a map and go.
"Put on your walking shoes, bundle up and hit as many places as you can," advises Goodman. "It is just going to be the perfect opportunity to experience, new places, new faces and experience the best of what the Jersey City art scene has to offer."
The free events presented throughout the city were made possible by support from the following: Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, The Jersey City Municipal Council and Division of Cultural Affairs, The Jersey City Reporter, The Jersey City Magazine, Historic Downtown SID, The Jersey City Museum, and Art House Productions.
This program was made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, which was administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural Affairs, Thomas A. DeGise and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Local business supporters include: Bar Majestic, LIFE, Mana Fine Arts, World of Style Vintage. Friends include: Kim's Mediatronics, Aspasia Boutique, Sam Pesin (in honor of Liberty State Park's), and Another Man's Treasure.
For more information on the event please visit: www.jcfridays.com.