After six years of bringing arts and culture to the Peninsula City, The Bridge Art Gallery in Bayonne will close its doors for good on July 23.
Owners Cheryl and Christopher Mack are throwing a “Farewell Bayonne Party” on July 23 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the gallery on 199 Broadway. It will be the only day the gallery is open this month, as the previous exhibit, “Protective Spirits” by Heather Williams, has already ended.
The Macks moved to Bayonne from Brooklyn in 2010, opening the gallery in 2016. The Bridge Art Gallery quickly became a hub for diverse art and events in the city celebrating all cultures and backgrounds in Bayonne. After more than a half of a decade of success, the gallery and the Macks are expanding their horizons elsewhere.
In an interview with the Bayonne Community News, Mack said the gallery is expanding, although that will mean the Bayonne location is closing. The gallery has opened a new location in Wilmington, Delaware.
“We started last month doing our first exhibition with Art Loop Wilmington, which is the city-wide art exhibition,” Mack said. “We’re working very closely with the Chamber of Commerce in Delaware that welcomed us with open arms and a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.”
In addition to the location on Justison Street in Wilmington, the gallery will open a satellite location at the art space known as Gardenship at 205 Campus Drive in Kearny.
“Gardenship is a facility with artist studios and a maker lab,” Mack said. “It’s just an amazing building with lots of creativity.”
Bidding adieu to Bayonne
Mack was ambivalent about the situation: happy to expand to other locations, but sad to close shop in Bayonne.
“We’ve established some great relationships in the community, worked with some amazing artists,” Mack said. “We’re sad to close the Bayonne chapter, but very enthusiastic about the new expansion for The Bridge Art Gallery.”
While the gallery in Bayonne will be no more, the gallery and the Macks will still be active in Hudson County and the New York City area.
“We’ll still be in the area somewhat,” Mack said. “We have a lot of collaborations in Jersey City with Nimbus Arts Center in the fall. And we’re working with a couple of additional arts organizations in Manhattan for early 2023 projects.”
Mack and her husband also operate the Bridge Arts quarterly publication and run the Bridge Arts Festival held in Bayonne each year. While they will no longer be in Bayonne, the festival will live on under a new name.
“Our arts festival will continue but under the name of the Bayonne Arts Festival in the same tradition of the Bridge Arts Festival,” Mack said. “We’re working very closely with Angelique Belle from the Bayonne Youth Center who is presenting this year’s arts festival in September.”
The festival will not die, instead it will be taken over by the Bayonne Youth Center under the helm of Angelique Jackson-Belle. According to Mack, the newly-named Bayonne Arts Festival is tentatively set for September 10.
Onward and upward
Looking ahead, Mack is excited to see what Wilmington has to offer. She also reflected on how she is proud of the work done in Bayonne.
“We look forward to being able to connect with all of the artists and community members that have been impacted by our ‘Art in the Park’ programming, festival programing, our art exhibitions, and public art installations,” Mack said. “We’re really proud of the work that we’ve done in Bayonne.”
The new gallery is located at 920 Justison Street in Wilmington, Delaware. Visits are by appointment only. For more information, go to bridgeartgallery.net.
With the closing of The Bridge Art Gallery, The Dollhaus II at 23 Cottage Street will be the sole art gallery in Bayonne. That is, as long as the gallery gets the city’s approval to rectify a zoning issue and is not forced to close.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.