2016 Jersey City Art and Studio Tour – Tips on How to Navigate Your Weekend
Mermaid Mural by Blair Urban at the Flagship Gallery, 150 Pacific Ave. – Photo by Catherine Hecht, © Harmony Media, NJ
The 26th Annual Jersey City Art & Studio Tour is here!
The Jersey City Art & Studio Tour (JCAST) — weekend-long celebration — kicks-off tonight and continues 12 pm to 6:00 pm on Saturday, October 8, and Sunday, October 9. JCAST showcases Jersey City’s robust arts scene, including visual art, installation, multimedia, film, music, performance and everything in-between.
A free, self-guided tour JCAST features more than 900 artists, 86 murals and 200 participating stops in galleries, artist studios, public art, and mixed-use and pop-up exhibition spaces across the city.
The 2016 Kick-Off will be held at the Jersey City Art and Studio Tour Flagship Gallery (150 Pacific Avenue) and will feature more han 40,000 square feet of visual artwork, installation, performance, handmade art and more, curated by the Office of Cultural Affairs and presenting partner Art House Productions.
The #dayinthelifejc exhibit at the Flagship Gallery will be on display right when you enter. Honey and Moon Photography will be there with their Jersey City-themed photo booth so you can recreate your own #dayinthelifejc photos. Full live entertainment lineup for tonight’s event can be found on the JCI calendar. Jersey City Day Trippers is running a free shuttle tonight from City Hall to the Flagship Gallery (approximately every 20 minutes).
*Performances will continue at the JCAST Flagship Gallery throughout the month of “ARTober.” Schedules of upcoming performances for those dates will be released soon. Check thejcast.com for updates.
The Jersey City Art & Studio Tour was one of the reasons I moved to Jersey City. After attending the event for more than 17 years I thought I’d share a few tips I have picked up along the way.
PLANNING YOUR ROUTE
I start to plan my trip by mapping out my route beforehand so I have somewhat of an idea of where I want to go, but I also allow plenty of time to come across pleasant surprises. Since I have done the tour for so many years I tend to try and go to new stops and to go see work by artists I don’t know.
While many of the stops are up for the two days only, there are also a large number that will be up for a few weeks to a month. I usually hold off going to those stops and focus on those that are only showing for the weekend.
If you don’t have both days to go explore or just have a limited amount of time you may want to choose stops that have multiple artists (four or more). Some places are only open for one day during the tour. I’ve learned to note those (and have listed them below) in case I want to stop there and I can plan accordingly. Not every artist gets their information in on time to get listed on the printed map (or even to make it to the JCAST website) so keep an eye out for places that have balloons or actual signage saying “Open for the JCAST.” I’ve found that some of the more off the beaten path locations hold the best finds and are where I meet the most interesting people.
I also always take note which stops are at businesses and restaurants. Most of these stops will have the art up for more than this weekend so unless they are near something else I am planning to see I’ll usually save those for another time. Personally, I am never comfortable looking at art over a stranger who is trying to eat. But those are places you can plan to stop and grab a bite. I find eating in a place and admiring the art much more comfortable an experience.
The artist tour is a great time to explore Jersey City, meet new people, and learn about the art and culture scene. You will have a great time wherever you wind up!
THINGS TO BRING ON THE TOUR
The map – If you don’t pick one up at the Kick-Off event you can get one at City Hall or The Flagship Gallery on Saturday or Sunday and most of the stops should have maps by Saturday. I use my map during the tour to highlight the stops I really like, to jot down artist’s name, contact information, and websites. After the tour you can also use the map to look up some of the places you didn’t get to and make your plan for checking those out at a later date.
Extra money – You’ll need it to purchase all the great art that you find to add to your collection.
Smart Phone or Camera – Of course you’ll want to share your tour on social media. I usually ask artists if it’s ok to take photos of their work. I also take a photo of the art tag so I’ll have their name and the name of the work to put in my photo description and to tag the artist on social media when I post the photo later.
A small bag – To carry all the postcards and other art information you’ll pick up along the way. Before you head out be sure to throw in a bottle of water, a pen and business cards (great time saver when you want to be added to someone’s mailing list).
Wear Comfortable shoes and bring a jacket or sweater.
Eat a good breakfast. And pace yourself on chowing down on all the complimentary wine and cheese.
HOW TO GET AROUND
Walk – A great way to explore your own neighborhood or a part of Jersey City you don’t know yet.
Bike JC – Is running 2 free bike tours simultaneously to selected venues, both starting at 12 noon on Saturday from Grove PATH Plaza, and both ending together at the tours Flagship Gallery, 150 Pacific Ave. (With escorts back to Grove PATH).
Shuttle Bus – The city has arranged 3 tour loops which leave at City Hall (280 Grove St.) and go to different locations. Visit the JCAST website for more information.
SINGLE DAY STOPS
#3 Bethune Center of Jersey City
#7 Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery at NJCU
#8 Visual Arts Gallery at NJCU
#20 Hudson County Community College
#22 Mana Contemporary
#27 Kennedy Dancers
#53 Balance Salon
#57 Crazy and the Brains (aka The Fun House)
#70 HDSID & Artist & Maker Market
#88 hCO Interiors
#94 Waldo Lofts Lobby
#10 Doody Free Girl (Blackbird Gallery & Art Studio at the same location is open both days.)
#11 Alvin Pettit Art Studio
#96 Surati For Performing Arts
LARGER STOPS FOR THOSE WITH LESS TIME
Flagship Gallery at 150 Pacific Ave.
#3 Bethune Center of Jersey City (see above)
#10 Deep Space Gallery & The Hive
#22 Mana Contemporary (see above)
#26 Art House Productions Gallery
#29 Musicians Buildings
#30 Pershing Field Community Center
#32 107 Bowers Gallery & Artspace
#41 Cast Iron Lofts (Outside/In)
#42 Jersey City Theater Center & Merseles Sudios
#42 Village West Gallery
#65 Barrow Mansion
#66 Van Vorst Wellness
#80 Victory Hall Drawing Rooms
#91 140 Bay St.
#92 150 Bay St.
© Harmony Media, NJ. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without written permission.
Photos by Catherine Hecht, © Harmony Media, NJ