If you’re listening to live music, looking at original art, and enjoying exotic belly dancers all on the same day, it must be JC Fridays. The next quarterly event takes place on Friday, March 4 all around the city.
JC Fridays was launched in 2005 by artists, arts organizations, and local businesses who wanted to promote Jersey City’s cutting edge and energetic cultural scene. The free programs and exhibits have been drawing visitors from far and near.
Christine Goodman, one of the event founders, said last week that she sees people walking down Grove Street with their maps in hand who have come in from Manhattan or northern New Jersey. One guy, she said, took off from work so that he could hit the events and venues.
“We’re welcoming exciting new venues. There are going to be more choices and new places to explore.” – Christine Goodman
JC Fridays is sponsored in part by the Jersey City Reporter and Jersey City Magazine. “Every time it gets bigger and bigger,” said Goodman, who is Art House Productions’ executive director. “We’re welcoming exciting new venues. There are going to be more choices and new places to explore.”
As examples she cited New Jersey City University galleries, Bone Boutique, 14th Street Garden Center, and Downtown Coop.
A multitude of venues throughout Jersey City will showcase art exhibitions, live music, performance art, educational demonstrations, and other cultural offerings.
JC Friday provides “a good opportunity for organizations and artists,” Goodman said. “It’s a great time to draw people in while folks are hopping around to venues.”
A few highlights
*Creative Grove at the Grove Street PATH plaza is back in business for the season, featuring artists, designers, handmade stuff, performers, and musicians.
*Art House Productions presents an opening reception for “Freeze,” a group exhibition exploring the act of preservation.
*Jan Kounitz presents “Dogs and their People,” the latest addition to the ongoing photo essay of the Jersey City Heights called “ME HOOD.”
*Uptown Crew presents “JC Originals,” a menu of Jersey City’s best performing artists.
*Mary Benson Gallery presents “The Great Meditate,” a group meditation conducted by certified instructor Sister Sunshine.
*Rose Moultrie presents “Rose Creations,” featuring Madina designs, hats, and hair wraps.
*Waldo Lofts presents an opening reception for Megan Maloy’s “Hartford Fair,” portraits taken in rural Pennsylvania.
*Sound Start presents a free day of interactive music and movement.
*Camille Cesari Loveprint Jewelry presents abstract paintings by Allie Read Brodhead. Guests may add to a blank canvas, which will be on display all day.
*NJCU Galleries presents a closing reception for “Flesh Art,” a multimedia exhibition.
Events, which start as early as 8 a.m. and end as late as 3 a.m., take place in neighborhoods all over the city: Grove Street, Hamilton Park, the Heights, McGinley Square, Newark Avenue, MLK Hub, Newport, Powerhouse Arts District, Van Vorst Park, Bergen Lafayette, Paulus Hook, and West Side.
JC Fridays, which is made possible by a number of local sponsors and patrons, is free and open to the public.
JC Fridays is a great antidote for the cabin fever folks are feeling after the 40 inches of snow that got dumped on Hudson County this winter.
“People are looking to get out and explore,” Goodman said. “March really is one of our strongest events.”
JC Fridays is starting to get known outside its local coordinates. “A lot of people new to the area or thinking about moving here use JC Fridays as an excuse to explore and an opportunity to meet people,” Goodman said.
She likes to file away conversations and comments she hears during the day. One attendee at a previous event said, “I was considering moving to the area from out of state and landed in Jersey City on a JC Friday, and just had to come back,” she said.
The planning “really takes a lot of work and sweat equity,” said Goodman. “Every time you think, ‘oh my god, it’s such an undertaking.’ It’s amazing it turns six in June. You never think when you start something that it will be going strong that many years later.”
The key to its success? “People want to participate,” Goodman said. “Otherwise it would have fizzled out over time. But it caught on, and people like coming out to it, even in snow or rain.”
For more information and a complete event list, visit www.jcfridays.com
Kate Rounds can be reached at email@example.com..