The city’s artists on display

Jersey City Art & Studio Tour returns for Columbus Day weekend

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The 28th annual Jersey City Art & Studio Tour will take place from Thursday, Oct. 4 to Sunday, Oct. 7 this year. The kickoff ceremony is scheduled for Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the JCCAST headquarters at 84 Sip Ave.
JCAST, which is sponsored by Jersey City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, is expected to draw thousands of visitors to engage with hundreds of artists on their own turf.
The events will include live art demonstrations and interactive exhibits, live music, art markets, panel discussions, and dance performances as well as curated bus, bike, and walking tours of the arts in every neighborhood. All JCAST events are free and open to the public.
(The city of Hoboken, next door, will also hold its art tour again, but that’s slated for Sunday, Nov. 4 to avoid overlap.)
A roster of the nearly 200 event spaces and an interactive map, including artist’s names, event spaces, bus routes, and an event schedule, will be posted at www.thejcast.com.
The event is one of the most well-organized activities in the arts community and one of the largest every year. Information tables and maps will be available near transportation hubs.
The event started in historic downtown in 1990, but has expanded, offering glimpses into artist’s spaces in every corner of the city. Events and exhibits can be found from Greenville in the south to the Heights in the north, as well as in the traditional Power House Arts District, other Downtown areas, and near Journal Square and Lincoln Park.
Events and exhibits will be featured both indoors and outside. Jersey City boasts more than 100 public murals alone.
A preview of the event with an artist meet-and-greet was held at City Hall on Sept. 12, featuring some of the visual arts that may be seen during the four-day event.
Attendees ranged from legendary artist Peter Bill, who has been a mainstay in the arts community for decades, to up-and-coming talent such as Cecilia Martinez.
“I’ll have a number of works right here in City Hall for the tour,” said Martinez, who has had several local shows recently and has one scheduled for Trenton next month. “I’m doing well with art.”
Bill, who has been working in and around Jersey City since the 1980s, has a number of his classic murals still visible in both cities, and chuckled over the concept of his legendary status. Along with institutions such as Pro Arts, Bill was part of the early wave of artists that helped create an arts scene in Downtown Jersey City in the early 1990s.

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“I’m doing well with art.” – Cecilia Martinez

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History

The tour was started in 1990 by Charles Kessler and Pat Donnelly, and has drawn thousands of aficionados to Jersey City over the ensuing three decades.
From 1994 to 2013, the event was cosponsored by Pro Arts, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, and others. This year, the city has teamed up with Bank of America, CarePoint Health, Art 150, the County of Hudson, The Hudson Reporter, and others.
Sophie Pendrat, producer and manager of JCAST, said the tour was expanded this year to four days, partly to allow various venues to hold their own events on Friday, such as gallery and show openings, and to allow JCAST to hold the kickoff on Thursday instead.
The kickoff will be at JCAST headquarters in the recently acquired Pathside Building, 84 Sip Ave., located adjacent to the Journal Square PATH station. The building is the future arts and culture center for the City of Jersey City. The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency provided this structure to JCAST as a temporary headquarters for the arts festival weekend. It has been converted into a stunning gallery and performance space, and will act as an information center and depot for curated tours.
“This city encourages the arts community and celebrates the incredibly rich culture that makes up the fabric of every single neighborhood,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “By hosting the hub for Jersey City’s largest arts and cultural event at Pathside, we will also give the public an exclusive inside peek at the future of the building and the strides the city is taking to support arts and culture for the community.”
The kickoff will feature local, regional and world class artists, including new forms such as projected art, and will include works that have never been on display in Jersey City before. Some of the artists included have displayed works at venues throughout the world.
“We’re changing the focus a little more on the tour aspect,” Pendrat said. “This is to get visitors from outside Jersey City to the various cultural events, galleries, performance spaces and studios.”
JCAST at Pathside will be a main stop where visitors can get a festival map, grab a self-guided walking tour guide, enjoy a premier temporary gallery, or hop on a curated tour. These are custom-created journeys assembled by art specialists across a variety of themes such as art to collect, murals, and creativity by neighborhood. Curated tours are offered by bus, bike and foot. Curated tours are first-come, first-served, and can be reserved at www.thejcast.com.
This year, the guide, which will be available at www.hudsonreporter.com as well as an insert in the print edition of The Jersey City Reporter, clusters arts in particular areas to make it easier for people to attend. They can go to events nearby, and then seek out another cluster elsewhere in the city.
Pendrat also said there will be more information centers scattered through the city to help people through what is basically a self-guided tour.
The annual tour showcases the work of professional artists who live or work in Jersey City, but who may be unfamiliar to the larger community.
A shuttle bus will be provided to bring visitors around town to various locations.
A closing reception will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Art150, 150 Bay St., from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
For a full schedule of events, a map, or more information, go to www.thejcast.com or check out the insert that has been included with the print addition of The Jersey City Reporter this week or at www.hudsonreporter.com.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.