A New Art Weekend Touches Down in New Jersey

Given New Yorkers’ reluctance to set foot east of the Hudson River, it’s no surprise New Jersey’s arts and culture scene doesn’t get enough credit in the tri-state area. Artist Christine Romanell is determined to change that. From her workspace in the large Manufacturer’s Village studio block in East Orange, Romanell has organized the first-ever Garden State Art Weekend (GSAW), taking place from April 19 to 21 across over 100 arts and culture venues statewide.

“I’m shamelessly ripping off Upstate Art Weekend,” Romanell admitted to Hyperallergic, saying she and her husband had visited the New York event multiple times since its first run in 2020.

“Curators and gallerists say they’re going to travel two hours to get upstate, meanwhile we’re only 15 minutes away [from NYC] and it’s like we’ve fallen off the cultural cliff,” Romanell continued. “It’s a little frustrating sometimes. We know that a lot of people won’t cross the river for just one artist or institution, so we thought we’d make a weekend of it so that it’d be more enticing.”

Manufacturer’s Village will serve as GSAW’s central venue with dozens of artists showcasing their work during open studios. Other participants range from Jersey staples like the Newark Museum and the Montclair Art Museum to smaller spots such as the Wonder Room antique shop in Mendham Borough and the event space and makers’ marketplace Propagate Studio in the tiny town of Stewartsville (population 683).

Samantha Matthews, the artist behind Propagate Studio, told Hyperallergic that she learned about GSAW through Instagram and felt she had to participate. “I love this concept of featuring creative spaces throughout our state because sometimes, people only think of certain areas when they think of the New Jersey arts scene,” Matthews said in an email. For the inaugural GSAW, Matthews will host an art supply thrift shop, open studio, ’70s drag bingo, an introduction to tarot class, and a candle-making workshop, among other sessions.

A half-hour away in Bedminster, visitors to the Center for Contemporary Art can participate in the institution’s “Art Throwdown” spring fundraiser, in which teams are challenged to make an original artwork in one hour from three items inside a mystery box.

At Seton Hall University in South Orange, the school’s Walsh Gallery will show its ongoing exhibition Contemporary African Spirituality in Art featuring the work of 25 African and African-diaspora artists.

“We already know New Jersey as a state with a lot of creative energy,” Walsh Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile, who sits on the Manufacturer’s Village board, said in an email. “This weekend will create a critical mass to bring attention to the artists and art venues that call New Jersey home.”

On the GSAW website, descriptions of what’s on throughout the weekend and instructions on how to register (if necessary) are available alongside a venue map for those who want to create their own plans, but Romanell has created day-trip itineraries as well.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top