Downtown Jersey City Gets a Weekly Artist Market

Starting this week, the Grove Street PATH plaza will be transformed each Friday afternoon into a full-fledged market featuring art, handmade goods and other creations.

The Creative Grove Artist Market, the brainchild of Jersey City’s Uta Brauser and the nonprofit group Arts in Action, aims to bring increased foot traffic to the area, create an “artsy environment” for the plaza and help foster a local arts scene that continues to grow.

Brauser, who runs the Fish With Braids Gallery on Jersey Avenue, says she began applying for permits and organizing the market in January. Helped along by the Jersey City’s Division of Cultural Affairs, she is all-systems-go to kick off this Friday. She says the market will be a year-round affair, from 2-8 pm each Friday (with the exception of Christmas Day, which falls on a Friday this year).

“The idea of a market — a scene, a regular venue to meet, exchange, gather, hang out and sell — has been with me for a long time,” Brauser says. She says that as a longtime participant in Burning Man, she hopes to bring some of the “flavor and ideas” from that event to Jersey City.

Cultural Affairs’ Greg Brickey points out that Creative Grove is the latest in a number of arty offerings at the PATH plaza, which he says has quickly become “the town square of Downtown.” He says the market will perfectly complement the Groove on Grove music series and the farmers market that have both proven successful.

“This just fits in with what’s already happening there,” he says. “It’s going to bring a lot of positive street activity to the Grove Street plaza.”

Brauser says the market will have space for around 50 vendors, including (but not limited to) artisans like printmakers, woodworkers, quilters, potters, tailors, metalworkers, leather crafters and knitters.

Each week’s market will also feature a presentation of some sort, whether it is a demonstration of how an artisan makes a specific item, an interview with an artist, or a school project. This fits with the market’s mission of educating the public about handmade crafts and the local economy.

More broadly, the market seeks to liven up public space in Jersey City. Brauser, a native of Germany, says she was heavily inspired by Europe when thinking about the market.

“I love the pedestrian zones of European cities — full of art and political activities,” she says. “We need to reclaim the streets here.”

For more information, or to apply to be a vendor, visit the Creative Grove website.

Jon Whiten

co-founder of the Jersey City Independent; he now works for a public-policy nonprofit in Trenton.

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