More than 150 people attended the second annual Hoboken Waterfront Arts Gala last week. The gala, held under tents along the northern waterfront on Sinatra Drive, raised money for programming done by the city’s Cultural Affairs Division.
Cultural Affairs is funded both by taxpayers and by fees and sponsorships from arts events it organizes, such as the Arts and Music Festival. It uses these funds to host free community events such as the annual Harvest Festival each fall and Movies Under the Stars every summer.
The three-hour event, with a $100 admission, included exhibits from local artists and food primarily from area restaurants.
Artists from Barsky Gallery, Field Colony, hob’art Cooperative Gallery, Issyra Gallery, Proto Gallery, and the Roig Collection displayed their art on white wooden walls. Mobiles created by Sky Jewelry hung from the tent supports.
Various sponsors also provided food and beer, wine, and liquor tastings.
They include Anthony Davids, Court Street, Cucharamama, Halifax, Karma Kafe, Leo’s Grandevous, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Grill, The Chart House, The Madison, Zafra, Cabot cheese, Giannone Wine & Liquor, Hoboken Beer and Co, Asbury Park Distilling, Vodka 6100, and others.
An artful funding idea
During last year’s inaugural gala, Mayor Ravi Bhalla signed a surprise executive order which mandated that 1 percent of all city bond ordinance funds go toward art installations in the city.
This 1 percent goes toward public art installations, such as sculptures, murals, and other visual arts. Bond ordinances are passed by the city council so that the city can borrow money for various capital improvement projects.
Since the executive order was signed, the city has raised more than $500,000 to support the arts.
Most recently these funds were used for a new mural over the Columbus Park tennis courts painted by local artist Ricardo Roig.
The mural honors 1989 French Open winner Michael Chang, a native of the Mile Square City, and is officially named “Michael Chang, Hoboken Hero.”
It was hand-cut and stencil spray-painted by Roig.
“Michael Chang exemplifies Hoboken, the spirit of firsts, as the first Asian American to win a Grand Slam tournament,” said Mayor Bhalla. “His grit and determination on the tennis court is artfully depicted by Ricardo, whose work is a source of pride and inspiration for our city. I thank Ricardo for initiating this mural, and his contributions which reflect the diversity of our community.”
“Murals are big but not necessarily for their size, it’s in their spirit,” Roig said. “Murals are larger than us, larger than life. They transcend time and help to tell the stories. They inspire our daily life and grow with our lives. As a solo artist who is normally working alone in a studio, murals help me to stretch out and work with others, like these wonderful individuals making policy better for our city, offering their time and talent to the greater good, energy and nourishment we need as humans from the power of art. This mural is big, not because of its four-story size, but because we did it together with teamwork and a common goal of sharing color, wonder, and Hoboken’s history.”