Hudson County’s Jersey City is known for its vibrant arts scene. There are many events celebrating the diversity of local artists throughout the year, however, this year local officials have taken the celebration of visual arts one step further and have created the first ever “Jersey City Art Week,” which will run Oct. 12-15 in various neighborhoods throughout the city. This event combines the already existing Art Fair 14C and Jersey City Art and Studio Tour and puts them under one umbrella; one that city officials hope will bring even more visitors in to explore what Jersey City has to offer.
“By combining forces, we will create the biggest and best arts and culture event on the East Coast, bar none. This event will attract residents and visitors from throughout the region to come to Jersey City for the arts and stay for everything we have to offer,” said Jersey City Mayor, Steven M. Fulop in a press release.
The Jersey City Art and Studio tour has been operating since 1990 and is now in its 33rd year. It is an established event and this year there will be many artists participating in the downtown and Journal Square neighborhoods of the city. Art Fair 14C is newer to the Jersey City arts scene, having only existed since 2019. This year marks their fifth occurrence and first in a brand-new venue, which Executive Director Robinson Holloway is thrilled to have booked.
“We are adding a new venue in Liberty State Park,” she said. “Many people probably haven’t been there if they have not visited Ellis Island, so we’re excited. There will be plenty of parking and accessibility by mass transit, so we are anticipating 10,000 people a day to see everything that is going on in Jersey City.”
An aerial view of the 2022 Art Fair 14C, which was hosted in an arena. The 2023 venue is a historic building at Liberty State Park and promises plenty of character. Photo Courtesy Robinson Holloway.
This year, there will be 80 exhibitors in the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal Building at Liberty State Park, and according to Holloway, the event is full and no new exhibitors are being accepted. She said that this year’s spots filled up quickly especially with the excitement that had been built upon with the success of Art Fair 14C in previous years.
“We knew that in 2020 [their second year] that we had outgrown the fair in the hotel,” Holloway said. “So, when we came back in 2021 we were recognized as a conventional fair and built all sorts of booths, lighting and walls. This year, we have more international exhibitors than we did in 2022 but there is still a strong focus on New Jersey artists.”
Out of the 80 exhibitors that will be on display at this year’s fair, over half are from New Jersey and will represent the diverse pool of artists coming from all three regions of the state. A few are local to Jersey City and the Hudson and Bergen County areas, but some are coming from further away, like the International Sculpture Center in Hamilton. This group will also host their annual conference in Jersey City as part of the ongoing festivities.
“Adding the International Sculpture Center conference has made it so we are having one amazing visual arts event, but the logistics are immense,” Holloway admitted. She also mentioned that she has been speaking to other art fair operators to help plan and organize this year’s event.
Visitors to the 2022 Art Fair 14C pose in front of the festival’s logo. Photo Courtesy Robinson Holloway.
In addition to the fair portion of Art Fair 14C, Holloway and her team will also be hosting a showcase for New Jersey artists in the same Liberty State Park venue. This showcase is open exclusively to New Jersey artists and will have judges who will score the works on a few factors, including creativity, technique, and skill level. Three esteemed judges, acclaimed artist David Baskin, Nina Kong-Surtees of SmART Advisory, and co-founder of nAscent Art New York, Jen Wallace will be critiquing the more than 30 artists who have entered this year’s showcase.
The Jersey City Art and Studio Tour portion of “Jersey City Art Week” will begin on Oct. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. for an opening reception and continue on Oct. 14 and 15 from 12 to 6 p.m. There will be five studios open this year, including one by Mana Contemporary, one of Holloway’s partners in planning Art Fair 14C. The four other studio operators are Richard La Rovere, Art150, Olga Nenazhivina, and Greg Brickley. Holloway promised that these studios are in walking distance to each other and those who want to see all five in one day have that opportunity.
“For the past three decades, we have built, organized, and produced Jersey City Art and Studio Tour (JCAST) every October. It is a massive undertaking that has been vital to our efforts in elevating our flourishing arts scene,” added Christine Goodman, Director of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs in a press release. “‘Jersey City Art Week’ is an opportunity to grow JCAST and bring in more people to experience our incredible artists. We are going to expand how many people see and the way they see visual arts.”
An artist wraps a painting at the 2022 Art Fair 14C. There will be over 80 artists and galleries in attendance this year. Photo Courtesy Robinson Holloway.
Through all the different events, the mission of “Jersey City Art Week” remains clear – to spread awareness for the visual arts throughout Jersey City and into the state. It will bring people into the city to experience things they might not have before and overall improves the “arts ecosystem” of the area. This is Holloway’s goal – to make sure people come away with a newfound appreciation for visual arts and those who make them.
“The whole week is a very long, hard one, but it’s kind of amazing to see that we’ve been working on this all year and seeing it come together is amazing,” she said. “That’s what I’m really looking forward to is to see the magic when we’re ready to open.”
Jersey City | Oct 12-15