Local Guyanese business-owner Gaitree Simpson helps Greenville Art Walk Grow

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Local Guyanese business-owner Gaitree Simpson helps Greenville Art Walk Grow
Gaitree Simpson (center, in jacket), and the staff of Brick Street Realty. Simpson, a realtor specializing in the Greenville section of Jersey City, has made available several properties to be used as pop-up galleries for Greenville Art Walk: Women’s History Month..

The Greenville Section of Jersey City will celebrate Women’s History Month with a March Greenville Art Walk that focuses on women-owned businesses and showcases mostly female artists.

Held the first Sunday of each month, the Greenville Art Walk features art exhibitions and other events in venues throughout the Martin Luther King Drive corridor and surrounding vicinity. It is suitable for all ages and is an opportunity to experience art while exploring this historic and vibrant section of Jersey City. All Art Walk exhibitions and other events are free, family-friendly and open to the public. It takes place March 1 from 1 – 5 pm.

This month’s neighborhood stroll – where artists, venues, businesses, residents and visitors come together in one of the oldest urban neighborhoods in New Jersey – highlights women empowerment in its March edition, Greenville Art Walk: Women’s History Month.

Launched in January, Greenville Art Walk has grown to nine venues – primarily women-owned, small businesses along MLK Drive and Ocean Avenue – including Martha’s Boutique, Myrtle Maranatha’s Market, Rose Creations, Qua’s Art Center and Brick Street Realty.

These entrepreneurial women of color – from African-American, African and Caribbean descent – not only serve the community through their businesses, but also are advocates of  art and artists in that same community,

One such woman is Gaitree Simpson, a Guyanese-born real estate broker and Greenville resident. A New Jersey-licensed realtor for more than seven years, she’s built a successful real estate career in Jersey City, earning a reputation for her wealth of knowledge of the real estate market, especially the Greenville section.

For Greenville Art Walk: Women’s History Month, Simpson has been instrumental in expanding the arts in Greenville and personally made available pop-up gallery spaces at: 520 Ocean Avenue, 758 Ocean Avenue, 303 MLK Drive and 307 MLK Drive.

“The Greenville Art Walk: Women’s History Month celebrates women’s businesses, how economic development contributes to the neighborhood and how female artists shape the dialogue that art creates,” said Atim Annette Oton, curator of the Greenville Art Walk and Art Curator at Jersey City Theater Center. “Through affirmations and empowerment, Women business owners and artists have a positive impact on society and community and we want to celebrate that impact with the March Greenville Art Walk.”

Art Walk artist Theda Sandiford, a Jersey City-based mixed media artist, will be exhibiting her “Big Mouth” series as well as conducting a Yarn Wrapping Workshop at Brick Street Realty, 520 Ocean Avenue. She has shown extensively in Los Angeles, Brooklyn and Jersey City, including JCTC’s acclaimed Vanity show in 2016. Her work Selfie-Joy was licensed to BET’s Being Mary Jane in 2017.

She’s best known for transforming found and meticulously collected materials into mixed media works, photographing her process and then digitally manipulating these images to extend the narrative as part of her personal mythology.

Artist Hiyasmine Queen Gaskins (AKA ArtisticAfro), a Greenville resident, will be exhibiting work at Qua’s Creative Art Center, 758 Ocean Avenue. ArtisticAfro is an all-around multidisciplinary artist,  muralist and fine artist. They have studied Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts, New Jersey City University, and Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy. Their work mainly focuses on self-awareness, the act of transcending one’s being, and the beauty of being in the present.

Since 2016, they have created murals, assisted several prolific artists, such as Distort, BK Foxx, and Queen Andrea, and through the Jersey City Mural Program, mentored young, emerging muralists.  ArtisticAfro also paints family portraits and other custom works and commissions in their studio in Jersey City.

Other women artists who will be joining Greenville Art Walk include Adebummi Gbadebo, whose exhibition Uprooted is at NJCU Galleries, and Rachel Therres who will be part of a group exhibition at 307 MLK Drive.  (The March Art walk also includes male artists in some exhibitions)

“The Art Walk not only cuts across all demographics, but proves that Greenville is a vital part of the thriving arts and cultural scene in Jersey City,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC.  “We are showcasing the extraordinary role women play in the arts and giving credit to the leadership roles they’ve embraced in the community.”

The Greenville Art Walk is an ongoing project conducted under the auspices of Stories of Greenville a multidisciplinary arts project produced and presented by Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC). Stories of Greenville is the first arts project made possible through the I Love Greenville Community Plan, a neighborhood improvement initiative created by the Greenville Community Partnership (GCP) and funded by the statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) Program.

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