If you didn’t get a chance to get out on Friday, March 7 for the first JC Fridays of 2014, then you missed a lot, from Project Greenville’s “A Weekend of Small Work and Big Ideas” to a meet and greet by the New Jersey Ballet. But you will have another chance to enjoy citywide art in June.
Even if you had managed to get to some of the events, so much was happening that you could not have caught everything. This, of course, is exactly the point: JC Fridays – to showcase just how much art there is in Jersey City, and to expand the possible venues for various kinds of art throughout the city.
Sponsored in part by the Hudson Reporter, JC Fridays started in 2006 as a presentation by Art House Productions. The event was to expose the public to local Jersey City talent that includes photographers, painters, dancers, filmmakers, and craft artists.
Almost Wiccan in its ritual of opening each season, JC Fridays, held quarterly, offers one of the best opportunities for the larger Jersey City community to see the fine arts created by local artists or artists with strong ties to Jersey City.
Christine Goodman, founder of Art House Productions, said JC Fridays will celebrate their eighth year in June.
She compared this to towns that hold food tastings, such as the Taste of Weehawken.
“This is a taste of Jersey City arts,” she said.
All the art that’s fit to see
But smorgasbord might describe it better, since, like an all-you-can-eat event, you can’t possibly take everything in that is offered in one night, and so you can go through the menu of items to pick and choose – knowing that for every quality act that you catch here, you are most likely missing something of equal quality elsewhere. But this, of course, is the tease to keep you coming back.
Normally, Goodman tries to make the rounds, taking in as many of the offerings as possible – but being merely human, this is generally around 10.
“This is a taste of Jersey City arts.” – Christine Goodman
Over the eight years, the quarterly event has grown and so has the interest in it, and because of this, she and the other organizers are closely looking at the event and its offerings.
“We want to see where we are now, and how we can take it to the next level,” she said. “This involves marketing and advertising. We want to find more venues and more local businesses to host events.”
Jersey City Cultural Affairs Division is seen as a future engine for promoting Jersey City as an artist destination, with a host of cultural and arts events scattered throughout the year. JC Fridays, like the Annual Artists’ Studio Tour, appear to be a good foundation upon which to build.
Although produced independently, JC Fridays along with other similar groups have helped establish the city’s positive reputation.
Goodman said that early on JC Fridays had deep roots in the Grove Street area, something that has begun to change, and the idea behind holding a number events on the same night is to allow people to pick a variety of cultural experiences – many of which are either within walking distance of each other or an easy commute. But also a number of events may well take place in particular different neighborhoods in the city, thus allowing people access a number of events nearby.
Almost as importantly, JC Fridays helps local businesses that host the events.
“They are seeing a positive impact on these nights,” she said. “I see art and business as intertwined. They benefit one another. When people are out to visit a gallery, they often stay out, shop and have dinner.”
While most of the events still took place along the Newark Avenue corridor up from the Grove Street PATH station, a handful took place near Hamilton Park, and a few in the up and coming Journal Square area, and even a few in near Bergen Avenue in a section called McGinley Square Square, Jackson Hill area, even in Jersey City Heights. Goodman’s goal has been to expand the base to a variety of areas.
Silverman development, which has two galleries, timed one of its new openings to coincide with the night. Art House hosted a music spectacular called “The Rock-Dock it” at its digs off Hamilton Park.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.