I’m a big museum fan but if given the choice to see the art in the climate-controlled rooms of the Met or the studio where art is being made, I’ll choose the latter. That said, the Jersey City Artist Studio Tour might have been my dream exhibition. In its 19th year, the two-day festival doesn’t block off streets or close wings of museums to display the works of the 600 participating artists; it opens the doors to all the places creative works are made or supported.
A whole town effort, each neighborhood’s coffee shops, restaurants, hair salons, churches, bars, hotels, community centers and condo lobbies offered up their walls to support their local artists. Here, the Stockinette Knitting Cafe makes this gesture with a handwritten window ad.
The Stockingette awarded artist Matthew Caputo a solo exhibit. His quirky and intriguing oil paintings line the walls of the narrow space.
As far as public spaces go, the Balance salon may have been my favorite on the tour. For a hair salon with a specialty in Mohawks, it was hard to tell if the art made the exposed brick-space edgier or more sophisticated.
Bunches of colored balloons tied to a facade signaled the presence of art and cheese. All participating artists provided wine and hors d’ oeuvres for anyone that came through their spaces. Photographer Beth Achenbach uses her garage as her workspace and two-car gallery.
You would think these artists would be a bit jittery having thousands of strangers traipse through their homes–not this group. The dozens of artists I visited couldn’t have been more inviting–painter and leather maker Kirk Bray, included. Here, Bray’s art is displayed above his lofted bed for all to gawk and enjoy.
Beyond each artist’s prized pieces, I loved seeing their half-finished works and the tools the artists use to complete them.
Perhaps the most amazing part of the entire show was the pricing! Jen Bernstein was selling her sketches on vellum for under $10 with the frame. I adore the sense of movement between the overlapping figures and the urban vibe they have as a series. The middle print is conveniently covering an ancient and massive phone jack in our kitchen.
Artist Loren Abbate used the show as opportunity to have a moving sale. I couldn’t resist the sunset colors, the Van Gogh texture, and the $25 price tag on this painting so I bought it on the spot. I’ve been looking for some art to shake up my living room design, and this might be just the spice it needs.
You may have missed this show, but amazing enough, this weekend is your closest thing to a second chance. Considered to be the largest design and architecture event in America, Open House New York takes place across hundreds of private and public spaces throughout the five boroughs this October 10-11th. Truly an amazing way to experience new neighborhoods, meet all sorts of people, and discover new artists and art forms; this event is a must-see if you are in the New York area. I’ll sadly be away in Pittsburgh for a wedding this weekend so I hope you can go and post comments all about it!