St. John's Episcopal Church in Union City and the Family Alliance Network of North Hudson County (FAN) will show off the works of 30 local artists of all ages from Friday, Sept. 15 through Sunday the 17th.
"This is the first time we're doing this," said Rev. J. Cooper Conway. "The exhibit is going on for three days and includes all different types of media."
The three-day show and sale will commence on Friday, Sept. 15, with an opening Champagne Gala. It will have the featured artists on hand and help raise funds for the church summer arts program, and is expected to also draw some local dignitaries.
Calling all artists
Preparations for the event have been ongoing for months with coordinator Toni Fukuda leading the way, who first approached Rev. Cooper about the event last March.
"I have always been a lover of the arts, and in Mother Cooper I have someone who listens to me and I knew she would be inclined to this type of event," said Fukuda, who is also the founder of FAN.
Fukuda has been well enveloped in the arts for years through hosting numerous exhibitions, including a 25-man art show featuring Native American art work at a SoHo Gallery, as well as her own artistic works from some years ago.
"There is a renaissance going on here in Union City and I think this is a great venue [for the arts]," said Fukuda.
With the support of Rev. Cooper and her community "FAN" base, Fukuda began building up her network of artists for the show.
"I was very surprised by the [overwhelming] response of the community," said Fukuda.
Thusfar, over 30 Hudson County artists will be exhibiting their work during the weekend event, including Emanuele Cacciatore of Weehawken, who will be exhibiting six pieces.
"In situations like this, you get to share [your art] with the community much moreso than if you have a gallery or exhibit in the city, and its helping the community at the same time," said Cacciatore.
Cacciatore, who mainly works in nonrepresentational abstract art, also has one of the largest pieces on display, "A dime's worth of thin."
"Its an old country phrase that's used when something becomes useless or superficial," said Cacciatore.
Also participating are Madison Richards of West New York, who is the event's youngest artist in residence at the age of 10; and Patty Morale of Union City, who will be among the artists teaching the workshops on Saturday as well.
"My partner and I are going to be teaching 4 to 6 year olds, and we'll be introducing them to Mondrian and have them create their own paintings," said Morale.
Other artists also include international celebrated Cuban artist Marcos Dimas, and the renowned Fernando Salicrup, director of Taller Boricua in Harlem. In addition, specially invited artists are coming from as far as Kansas City.
An elegant affair
The exhibition will be held in the main sanctuary of the church, very similar to the annual gala event at the Grace Van Vorst Church in Jersey City. "We're actually very good friends with Grace Church in Jersey City, and Janet Broderick even offered to loan us their clip lights," said Rev. Cooper.
Due to number of artists being featured at the event, the exhibit will also extend to the church's recently renovated downstairs hall with a stage area, where patrons will enjoy performances from renaissance choral arrangements to a West Indian dance routine.
"First it was just going to be in the church," said Rev. Cooper. "Then we said, we better finish painting that hall."
One of the main attractions, which will be placed in the downstairs hall, will be a Harley Davidson motorcycle with a fused sculpture in front of the bike, created by Nina Akai of Hoboken.
"They're bringing the church to the 21st century," said Rev. Cooper.
At the gala
At the Friday gala event, FAN and St. John's will be giving out a special recognition to Union City Mayor Brian Stack and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner for his longtime support of the arts and children in the community. Special recognition will also be given to Union City Commissioner Lucio Fernandez.
Tickets at the door will be $30, and $25 in advance.
And the next day, Saturday, Sept. 16, it will be Family Day activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to participate in classes taught by some of the featured artists in the exhibit at no charge. However, pre-registration is recommended. Art made by the children will be placed on display as part of the church's Miracle Walk along the center aisle of the main sanctuary.
The show and sale will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 17, while still maintaining the church's Sunday schedule with morning services followed by the showing from 2 to 5 p.m., and a 3 p.m. High Tea sponsored by the St. John's Guild.
Goes to youth programs
A portion the sales made throughout the weekend, including in art sales, will go to help benefit youth programs for the local community and the scholarship fund for St. John's summer day program Camp Unity, which develops interest in the arts through professional instruction and filed trips.
"Three years ago we started Camp Unity, and we are absolutely committed to providing programming as good as you would get at a private institution," said Rev. Cooper.
"You never know," said Fukuda. "You may have the next budding Picasso or the next budding Monet."
For more information, ticket sales to the gala or pre-registration for classes, call (201) 348-3966. St. John's Church is located at 1516 Palisade Ave., Union City.