The newest art gallery in town will be hosting the newest festival in town. The Bridge Arts Festival, named for the eponymous Bridge Art Gallery, will take place at the newly renovated Dennis P. Collins Park on First Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 9.
Creative activities will be on the agenda throughout the weekend, including a kids’ craft corner, artist vendor market, and two stages for live entertainment. The Bridge Art Gallery will be hosting a Kick-Off Reception at its art space on 199 Broadway on Thursday, September 7. On Friday, September 8, more than 25 venues throughout the city will participate in Bayonne Nights, where live musicians will accompany patrons and pedestrians. The Hudson Reporter Assoc. is among the sponsors.
Performing on the music stage will be the New York City-based surf-rock band, Beninghove’s Hangman, Son 3 y Mas featuring the Grammy-award winning percussionist, Ralph Irizarry, and Dave Watson, a jazz-funk artist.
Performing on the dance stage will be Diana Castore, a local choreographer who runs the Dance With Me Academy in Bergen Point (down the street from the Bridge Art Gallery), the Jersey City Ballroom Dancers, and the Surati Dance Company.
“We started seeing what was happening here, and we started coming out. Just look at it now.” – Tiffany Patrice
An arts explosion
Cheryl and Christopher Mack, both Brooklyn transplants, moved to Bayonne in 2010 and opened their gallery on Broadway last year. Since moving, they unexpectedly found a community of artists on the peninsula that was ripe for celebration.
“We just love it here,” said Cheryl. “We could not have predicted how vibrant the arts community here is. It’s grown over the years into something truly special.”
“We want the festival to be a phenomenal family experience for everyone,” said Christopher. “For the attendees, we want them to enjoy great music, food and dance performances. For the participating visual artists, we want to create a platform for the community to view their artwork that will be on display.”
The Macks are not just talking up their own friends and neighbors. Artists have slowly trickled into Bayonne, while artists already here have seemed to find one another to create a new artistic flavor.
Painters like Anthony Siekowicz, who has used history and veterans as inspiration for his oil painting, have been on display at the Bayonne Community Museum. Newcomers like Tiffany Patrice have found their way in Bayonne, partly thanks to the older generation.
“Anthony has been here forever, and he’s so knowledgeable,” said Patrice.“He’s the one who gave me the history of the town.”
To engage with the art community, Patrice, like the Macks, once traveled into Jersey City, Manhattan, and Brooklyn for all things creative. “Then we started seeing what was happening here, and we started coming out,” said Patrice. “Just look at it now.”
RWJBarnabas Health, Bayonne Community Bank, PSEG, and Target are also sponsors of the festival.
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.