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2024 Annual Hamilton Arts Festival to Take Place June 13-22

originally published: 05/18/2024

2024 Annual Hamilton Arts Festival to Take Place June 13-22

(PATERSON, NJ) -- The Paterson Performing Arts Development Council (PPADC) presents the 2024 Annual Hamilton Arts Festival (HAF). Now in its fourth season, the festival runs June 13–22, 2024, and features a series of events designed to promote and showcase the works of underrepresented and underserved artists from theater, film, and other disciplines.

The HAF Short Film Series kicks off the festival on Thursday, June 13th, in the Founders Theater at the Passaic County Community College (PCCC) main campus, located at One College Boulevard, Paterson, featuring six films from independent artists.

Also, as part of the festival lineup is the HAF Artist Showcase, on Friday, June 14th, at the Paterson Great Falls Center, 39 McBride Ave. Ext, Paterson, featuring spoken word, monologues, and 10-minute plays by local artists competing for cash prizes.

Closing out the festival is PPADC’s 2024 Playwright-In-Residence, Susan Justiniano, also better known as RescuePoetix, who is the 2022-2024 State of New Jersey Beat Poet Laureate. Her play, By the Light of the Ghetto Moon, takes centerstage on June 21st and 22nd at the Paterson Great Falls Center. It explores a first-generation Puerto Rican woman coming to terms with past traumas as the only girl, whose older brother gets away with everything and two younger siblings whom she’s expected to take care of, growing up in a patriarchal, strict, Roman Catholic household in Paterson. Her perspectives are shared with the most consistent presence throughout her childhood–the Moon.

PPADC’s Playwright-In-Residence and Hamilton Arts Festival are made possible with funds from the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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“We are excited to present the work of RescuePoetix/Susan Justiniano, who is wildly talented and highly accomplished as an artist,” says PPADC’s Board President Denise Womack. “Her work represents the artistry we want our community to know exists. The fact that her rich talent was first cultivated right here in her hometown of Paterson, NJ and her allowing us to premier her play By the Light of the Ghetto Moon on stage in Paterson is such a great honor and a privilege,” adds Womack, who is a poet and serves as an arts commissioner for the City, appointed by Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.

“It is a story that has been experienced by many of us growing up disconnected from our heritage in some ways and steeped deep within it in others,” says Justiniano. “Paterson is where I was born and raised and holds a lot of memories of my formative years,” she says, speaking of her inspiration behind writing the play. “The experiences growing up in Paterson led to a story that took a very long time to give voice to. As I learned to embrace and accept my past, I took those lessons as a foundation for changing where that story evolved to.” Her hope for people seeing the play is that they are inspired to “voice to their own stories, whether they choose to share those stories or keep them for themselves.”

2024 Annual Hamilton Arts Festival to Take Place June 13-22

PPADC also will present its “Silk City Select” Walk_Bye Public Art Exhibit in an area along the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in association with the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson, the official National Park Service-dedicated public charity supporting the Paterson Great Falls. PPADC’s Walk_Bye outdoor exhibit is a community showcase, the first of its kind in Paterson, which celebrates artistic diversity and features digital art that captures and commemorates the heritage of Paterson and the unique journey of its citizens—their life experiences, traditions, and cultures. It is a free event that was first introduced to the public at Paterson City Hall on September 19, 2022. The “Silk City Select” Walk_Bye exhibit, including a new poetic piece by Justiniano, will be on display during the Hamilton Arts Festival.

Tickets for all Hamilton Arts Festival 2024 events can be purchased at

The Paterson Performing Arts Development Council (PPADC) is a 501C3 nonprofit organization based in Paterson, New Jersey. PPADC devotes its energy and resources to fulfill theirmission of bringing together diverse communities via performing arts and cultural events, supporting aspiring and accomplished artists in the development of new works, and promoting the City of Paterson as a destination for arts enthusiasts. PPADC also strives to engage and encourage the city’s artistic youth, and foster collaboration with other organizations to provide increased access and opportunities to artists of diverse backgrounds.

The PPADC is committed to presenting events that are accessible, free or low-cost, diverse, and inclusive of a wide range of artistic voices. Since its inception, PPADC has commissioned the works or talents of over 100 artists across disciplines (e.g., dance, music, theater, film, visual arts, and poetry).

PPADC is an Affiliate Member of the New Jersey Theater Alliance, the country's first statewide professional theater service organization representing a consortium of 40 performing arts and theater companies; and a member of ArtPride New Jersey, the state's largest arts service and advocacy organization.

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The Playwright-In-Residence is a six-month incubation whereby playwrights work with a creative team that includes a dramaturg to help with script readiness, a director to help with the performance, and designers to shape the production. This residency is meant to advance the development of playwrights by providing them resources, expand the diversity of plays produced on the main stage, and generate public value through the interaction of playwrights with local communities. Now in its fourth season, PPADC’s Playwright-In-Residence developmental program is made possible with funds from the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council.



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