For local artists, it was a chance to show their stuff—and make some bucks. On Jan. 14 Pro Arts, the local nonprofit for artists in Jersey City and Hoboken, sponsored a dinner at Grace Church in Jersey City. Nine artists or art groups were on hand to show their work. Guests who paid for food, drink, and entertainment also got a chance to vote for the best project. The winner took home the proceeds — about $1,000.
To vie for the grant, artists and arts organizations had to submit proposals. Pro Arts chose up to 10 of the most viable projects. These artists get to present their work at the Art Eat Up dinner.
Among the projects were paintings, installations, a women’s artists’ collective, multimedia presentations, galleries, historic and environmental works, and cultural events.
“Many of the people mentioned that being at the event inspired them artistically.” – Rachel Tuazon
The envelope please …
The winner was the 4th Street Art Organization for its “Village Beautification Project and Historic Documentation.” The work seeks to help beautify the Village section of Jersey City and to create a visual history of the way the area has flourished. Plans call for creating a mural on Brunswick Street between Second and Third streets, painted by local artists. Pat Byrne, a member of the winning organization, will also produce a film detailing the history of the area.
“Pro Arts is a great organization. They don’t take money for themselves; they give it all to the artists,” said 4th Street co-director Mike McNamara. “It was wonderful and very crowded. There was a lot of interest in all the art projects.”
But the competition was tough. “When I saw what we were up against, I didn’t really expect to win,” McNamara conceded. One competing finalist was Adrian K., who presented a public art project called “TRASH Maximalism 2011,” which transforms regular black trash bags into an installation of vivid sculptures of color.
MacNamara would like to partner with Adrian K. “The Fourth Street festival produces a lot of garbage,” he said. Transforming it “into art would be a perfect fit for what we do that day.”
“The event was a bigger success than what we could have hoped for,” said Tuazon.
The sentiment was echoed by Pro Arts President Kay Kenny.
“Every time we’ve done it, it’s jumped dramatically in size,” she said. “It was a wonderful event that brought together a scattered arts community, including people who know nothing about arts in Jersey City.”
It was a boon for local artists as well. “It gave artists such an opportunity to talk about their work in a public forum,” she said. “It was not about winning but about letting the community know what they are doing.”
There was a synergy between the community and the art. MacNamara said that his group’s project “showed how what we were doing would affect the greater community. That’s the idea. The projects don’t just benefit the artist; they benefit the greater community as well.”
Kate Rounds can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.