Woolpunk Studios Celebrates First Anniversary

 

Woolpunk Studios, located at 298 Newark Ave., is celebrating its first anniversary.

The gallery and creative space was opened by former Jersey City Museum Director of Education and Public Programs Michele Vitale Loughlin after the museum closed its doors in December 2010. After signing the lease in May 2011, Loughlin spent three months renovating the space — the former Nine Lives Skate Shop — before opening with group show “This End Up” in September.

Since then, Woolpunk has hosted several shows, including current exhibit “Funny Girl!” which features the lighthearted, often comical work of local photographer Megan Maloy.

“People saw her grow since she’s had shows at the museum before,” says Loughlin, who adds that this exhibit is different from Maloy’s previous shows. “She’s never had a large body of work (on display), but she’s done a lot of series…people are laughing and enjoying it.”

As Loughlin told JCI in September, The Bauhaus School, established by pioneer architect Walter Gropius in Germany in 1919, is the major source of inspiration behind her gallery and its goal to “bring art back into contact with everyday life.”

Loughlin says in the past year, life has definitely been present at Woolpunk.

“The gallery has become, in a sense, a creative, communal space. A lot of people come in and just talk to me about art, not about showing or exhibiting,” she says. “Actually, someone came in and said, ‘I just feel so much life when I come in here.’ That’s the greatest compliment.”

Loughlin hopes Woolpunk will continue to grow and serve the artistic community. Recently, Woolpunk acquired the Jersey City Museum Gift Shop and has been vending its goods. They have also been working with The Underground Supper Club, a foodie event featuring local chef Ramon Ruiz.

“Sometimes we have artists there, sometimes people just eat and discuss the work. There’s something very communal about being around art, celebrating and eating,” says Loughlin, who added that the event has been successful so far. The club, which has also hosted events at other venues like nearby Steam Cafe, will make its next visit to Woolpunk on June 27 for a Memorial Day brunch and on June 29 for yet another “Dinner with Gertrude Stein Revisited,” which is billed as a “collaboration between chef, artist and dinner guest via a conceptual menu for an experimental supper.”

Loughlin said the studio has many more events in store, including two art openings in June.

“It’s really become more than I’ve expected, which is great.,” says Loughlin. “It’s nice to see the community inspired by other community members and I hope to continue to exhibit area artists and bring attention to the good work being made here in Jersey City and the surrounding area.”

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The Woolpunk Studios anniversary party will be held on June 1 at 6 pm and will be part of JC Fridays, a citywide day of free art events. For more information, visit the Woolpunk Studios website.

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Summer Dawn Hortillosa

is a freelance arts and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in the Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal, the International and other publications. She is also a creative writer and theatrical director.