New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

Asbury Park

By Gary Wien


The New Jersey arts community has an opportunity like never before. That's what I thought as I left the Berkeley-Carteret Hotel on September 28th. Earlier that evening the Arts Coalition of Asbury Park (ARTSCAP) held an Arts Summit, which was supposed to be for the announcement of the Asbury Park Cultural Arts Plan but wound up being about that and much more. In fact, what transpired that evening was not so much about Asbury Park as it was about the future of New Jersey arts.

While the final plans were being made for the Arts Summit, an opportunity to purchase and save a theatre suddenly arose. Immediately the Arts Coalition had to switch gears to plan a massive fundraising effort. The Arts Summit became a call to action. With precious little time, the young arts organization is faced with the opportunity of a lifetime.

The theatre (the former Walter Reade Savoy Theater on Mattison Avenue in Asbury Park) has long since been hidden from view. It opened in 1911 and originally was built for live entertainment as a vaudeville house. From 1931 to 1950, it served as a movie theater before booking burlesque shows and summer theater in the 50s. The theatre closed in 1976.

The Arts Council has until October 30th to raise $250,000 for the down payment on the theater and the 5-story building that was built around it. The Arts Council sees this as the first hub in an Asbury Park arts district. We see it as something more.

This could be the first step in molding a city into the center point for art in New Jersey. A city with arts as its foundation. A city that could serve as the capital of the arts in New Jersey.

Throughout our state's history, New Jersey artists have always been able to look across the rivers to New York City or Philadelphia, but why must we look outside of the Garden State? There was a period of time when Newark was one of the top 3 places in the world for jazz music. In fact, many of the musicians that helped make Harlem famous actually lived in Newark. Whether or not New Jersey could ever get to that level again is debatable; however, there is no denying the amount of artistic talent that has come from New Jersey and that hasn't stopped. Besides, New York may be known as the pinnacle for the arts in America, but that hasn't stopped cities like Chicago or Los Angeles from creating a theatre scene that rivals Broadway for creativity and star power. With the right resources, Asbury Park could become an arts center to compete on that level.

New Jersey has always been a home to writers and musicians; poets and painters; actors and dancers. We are dreamers in a place where we must leave to see our dreams realized. If the Arts Council of Asbury Park is able to forge ahead with their plan, artists from New Jersey will be able to see their dreams come true in their own backyard. And what better place to do it? Asbury Park already is known throughout the world for its musical heritage. It's history happened without any help, just imagine what could happen with a real plan.

Imagine a city where the local government is actually interested in using the arts as its main industry. The Asbury Park Arts Coalition has a long way to go before the entire city is on board, but the show of politicians at the Arts Summit was a good start. Once the key word of "jobs" starts making its rounds, I'd imagine the movement will almost surely take off in a city where unemployment is a major issue in every election. The arts is the perfect solution to bringing people to the downtown restaurants, filling the hotels and bed & breakfasts, and providing long-term jobs. It is the factory that Asbury Park never had. Asbury Park has never been an industrial town. It was born and has lived on entertainment, the beach and a downtown shopping district.

I see this cultural district as not only a tremendous opportunity for Asbury Park artists, but an amazing opportunity for all New Jersey artists as well. This is a city that has a very proud arts history from Stephen Crane to Bruce Springsteen and one that still has a thriving arts community today. If the Arts Council is able to persuade the right people, we could be witnessing the birth of New Jersey's art capital.

We are asking all of the artists, art organizations, and art professionals who read this publication to help out. Let's help the Arts Council reach their goal of $250,000 by the end of October. Let's give this group a chance to make the dream come true because it's a dream we all have. This is not just the creation of an arts district, it is the creation of a city's identity and a state's identity. No other city has an opportunity like this. Asbury Park has the land, the buildings, and the needs that can be realized through the arts. What it needs is your support.



For more by this author, click here






Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series Presents "The Erotic as Power: Sexuality and the Black Experience"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The erotic is often seen as a realm of oppression and danger. But, as Audre Lorde argued 40 years ago, it also contains the potential for empowerment and struggle. This tension will be explored as the 39th annual Marion Thompson Wright (MTW) Lecture Series brings together eminent scholars and performers to examine the poltical and social lives of the erotic in the African American experience.
West Windsor Arts Council presents Faculty Student Show
(PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ) -- Every day students of all ages come to the West Windsor Arts Center to expand their knowledge and experiment with art and creativity. Whether they are adults or children, they take classes in order to try something new or hone their skills by learning from some of the best teaching artists in the region. Classes are offered in many artistic media including painting, drawing, and sculpting as well as fashion design, photography and the literary and performing arts. The annual Faculty Student Show aims to provide the experience of submitting and preparing their work for a professional exhibition as well.
Monmouth University Hosts Artist Talk with Sherrill Roland about "The Jumpsuit Project"
(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University will host artist Sherrill Roland  on Tuesday, January 29 at 4:30pm in Wilson Hall Auditorium, to discuss his socially engaged artwork The Jumpsuit Project — that he uses to ignite conversations around issues related to mass incarceration.
Art House Productions Presents 13th Annual Snow Ball Gala
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Join Art House Productions and presenting sponsor SILVERMAN for their 13th Annual Snow Ball Gala on Saturday, January 26th, 2018 from 7:00pm- 12:00am with VIP beginning at 6:00pm (Snow date: Saturday, February 2nd) at Art House’s location at the Cast Iron Lofts, 262 17th St, Jersey City, NJ.  This year’s Snow Ball features live music from Cook Thugless ("Cook Thugless are one of the coolest bands in New Jersey." -Bob Makin, My Central Jersey), live and silent auctions from Grandstand Sports, including sports memorabilia, local art pieces, and exclusive weekend getaways.
Palette ArtSpace Presents "Cold Pop!" with Robert Piersanti and Faustine Badrichani
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Palette ArtSpace presents "Cold Pop!" by Robert Piersanti, now through January 27. The exhibit brings a touch of summer to a cold January with paintings of mermaids, surfers and more. Piersant's work features 1950s and 1960s pop culture with locals as subjects. He's shown work from the local area to Miami and Milan.  The exhibit also features new paintings of women by Faustine Badrichani, a French artist in New York who has shown at Palette previously. Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public.


Inside New Jersey Stage Magazine Issue 54
(BELMAR, NJ) -- The latest issue of New Jersey Stage magazine contains something for every arts fan.  Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, John Oates, is the cover story in an issue packed with music, film, theatre, and art coverage.  The issue is available for free at www.NJArtsMag.com 
Nick Kiefer In Iceland
Nick Kiefer is an award winning graphic designer and photographer based out of Asbury Park, NJ. He is currently the Art Director at Netwave Interactive - a branding and advertising agency in Point Pleasant. NJ. Nick has also been designing and photographing in the NJ music scene for more than half his life. He has designed dozens of record covers and gig posters for local musicians in the Asbury Park area. After a heavy year packed with work, he and his fiancé Kristina, decided to roam around Iceland for a few weeks back in October of 2018. Here are some photos from the trip.
Peter Max Remembers Frank Sinatra
(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- As fans of Frank Sinatra across the world remember the legendary entertainer on what would have been his 103th birthday (December 12th), pop artist Peter Max provides a series of portraits of 'Ol' Blue Eyes' at different points throughout his career. Max, with a 5 decades-long career of his own, created these signature, vibrantly colored portraits, working with the Sinatra family to celebrate the Sinatra Centennial in 2015. They remain a fan favorite at gallery shows across the country.
Jerry Gant 1961-2018
Jerry, There is no bio that will seem complete for you. Where would it be listed, amongst your numerous and diverse accomplishments, that you talked to people, always seemed to find time for the younger artists, to talk to them and look at their sketchbooks? Your use of language as a material, testing limits, associations, and possibilities.
PODCAST: An Artist Asks "The 20 Most Important Scientific Questions Of The 21st Century"
In this podcast, we speak with them about art, activism and how women invented Postmodernism. “The 20 Most Important Scientific Questions of the 21st Century” runs through December 14th at Douglass Library.






Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


MUSIC


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


KIDS

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events
























New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.