With summer in full swing, one local artist space in Guttenberg is gearing up for a showcase from national and international artists.
From July 28 through Sep. 17, Guttenberg Arts will be holding its “Made Here” opening reception, showcasing work from four artists who won spots in its Space + Time Artist Residency (STAR) earlier this year.
That residency goes to nine artists annually: three at a time, plus an annual keyholder resident who is not advertised as a fellow and does not receive a stipend, but can exhibit throughout the year.
Each artist earns three months of shared 24/7 access to Guttenberg Arts’ space at the Bulls Ferry Studio inside 6903 Jackson St. They also receive a $400 stipend each month for their time working.
“In return, they give a free workshop for the community, and that’s kind of tailored to each resident artist’s specialty,” explained Matt Barteluce, director for Guttenberg Arts, while giving a recent tour of the studio.
He pointed to one piece near the center of the studio, a multi-colored collage of arrows and ovals. Titled “90 Degrees,” Austrian artist Florian Nitsch created it during his residency. He hosted a silk screen printmaking workshop at Arts on July 22.
“One of our goals is to bring a lot of creative thinkers into this neighborhood.” – Mart Barteluce
The artists tailor their workshops to people of all ages, depending on their audience. “We like to have a broad reach in terms of who we’re servicing,” Barteluce said.
Though the residential workshops are free, intro classes such as Introduction to Etching come “at a very low cost compared to other educational places around this area,” according to Barteluce. Guttenberg Arts also offers panel discussions, single night artist talks, and rents space to local artists for their works.
Other artists who won the Space + Time residency this year include:
-Yong Soon Min, a Los Angeles-based artist whose work looks at issues of representation of culture and identity. (One of her previous works, “Springtimes of Castro and Kim, features her portrait of a handshake between polarizing figures Fidel Castro and Kim II Sung).
-Anne Muntges, who hosted a screen printing workshop at Guttenberg Arts July 16. She creates unique images from wallpaper patterns. One of her works in the studio featured a brick-wall backdrop pattern meshing into nearby objects, such as a plant and a painting easel.
-Jeremy Smith, the keyholder resident this year. A Jersey City resident, Smith combines printmaking, sculpture, and furniture in his work.
“It should be a fun event,” Barteluce said. “We’re going to be having a BBQ in the backyard since it is summer, we can have an open backyard a little bit more. It’s always an exciting event because there’s a lot of people who come in from all different walks of life, like the locals as well as the networks between each artist.”
Guttenberg’s artistic side
Beyond the STAR residency, Guttenberg Arts aims to prove that Jersey City and Hoboken galleries aren’t the only art options for Hudson residents.
Barteluce said, “One of our goals is to bring a lot of creative thinkers into this neighborhood because I like to consider Guttenberg like a hidden little gem of a town, in terms of authenticity, quality of life, low rent, access into the city. It’s everything an artist would dream of, in terms of a place to live and work. We’re trying to be a beacon for that.”
Their efforts are bearing fruit. Guttenberg Arts has earned recognition from organizations such as a grant from the National Endowment for The Arts.
Community self portraits
Elizabeth Smolarz, who is the first community-based artist in residence at Guttenberg Arts, will create a series of self-portraits of Guttenberg residents in September to show “what it means to be one of the most densely-populated incorporated towns in America,” according to a flyer for the event. Her eventual goal is to take an entire portrait of the town.
“She’ll interview the locals, and then ask them to bring in objects that are dear to them and irreplaceable,” Barteluce explained. “So she will photograph them in these sort of still life arrangements. You kind of get an idea of the person through these objects.” In 2019, the space will showcase an exhibition of Smolarz’s work.
To help fund their expenses, the space held a casino night this past spring. “We kind of cleared everything out and set-up blackjack tables, and an open bar, and three card poker and Texas Hold ‘Em,” said Barteluce. “We had a lot of local people sponsoring that event. That was solely to raise funds for our programming.”
Arts will hold a T-shirt fundraising drive in fall to raise additional funds. They invited all 36 previous resident artists to donate images to them that can be printed on a shirt.
Matt’s parents, Dan and Sara Barteluce, founded Guttenberg Arts in 2014. Having spent their adolescent years in North Hudson, they decided to return their focus to the area after Dan retired from architecture in 2011.
At the time, Matt and a business partner, Russ Spitkovsky, had been publishing an art and literature journal, titled “Carrier Pigeon,” cultivating a large community of artists. However, contributing artists often lamented the lack of space and time for their work.
Dan and Sara recognized this, and they purchased an industrial building in Guttenberg in 2013 and began renovating it.
Along with Matt and two artist consultants, they founded the space. To date, it has hosted numerous artist talks and partnered with over 12 art non-profits and community groups.
They also began hosting summer workshops and the annual Braddock Park Art Festival at nearby James J. Braddock North Hudson Park.
Last year, one of the videos of the art festival went viral and received over a million views. One of those viewers was a museum group in Denmark that loved Gutenberg Arts’ use of steamroller printing and large scale prints.
“They reached out to us,” Barteluce said. “We gave them a budget on what it would take to get some of our artists out there to teach their people how to do the printmaking, and then follow through with this big event there.”
Two artists from Guttenberg Arts have already been sent overseas for the August event.
For additional information on upcoming programs, visit http://www.guttenbergarts.org/savethedate/.
Hannington Dia can be reached at email@example.com