Five months ago the Art Fair 14C team started on an ambitious journey around the state of New Jersey – visiting each of the 21 counties on Thursdays over the summer and fall.
We went alphabetically from Atlantic County in early July to Warren County in November, and on those Thursdays we did studio and gallery visits and the occasional information session – spreading the word about Art Fair 14C, and giving others a taste of the visual arts talent in NJ. Follow us on Instagram to see 2019’s road trip – next year’s will start in late spring of 2020.
We saw the breadth, beauty and diversity of our home state. We saw a lot of art, we talked to a lot of artists and gallerists and arts organizations, and each week we returned to Jersey City energized and excited about the quantity – and quality – of the artists in New Jersey.
We learned the proper pronunciation of Absecon, we came to understand the importance of having rolls of quarters in the car at all times, we met many cats and dogs, and we saw the variety of spaces that artists make for themselves to create.
One artist studio was a converted hen house. One was a former pool house. One was carved out from an active industrial warehouse. Artists made space in spare bedrooms, in basements and attics. Some were lucky enough to have dedicated buildings.
We were thrilled to visit galleries across the state which have been established for decades and which are doing great and creative work on behalf of artists and art lovers. In a time when art galleries are struggling to survive, we were privileged to visit five galleries that optimistically opened over the past year.
With dozens of artists and galleries visiting, there are too many highlights to share – but three memories stand out from this five month journey.
- Discovering ArtYard in Frenchtown. It is an extraordinary arts venue – non-profit, gallery, performance space, a true cultural anchor. The show there this fall was Janet Guttenberg’s remarkable multi-media paintings – and we told everyone that they had to see the show, even going back three times ourselves.
- Spending four hours chatting with – and being more than a little bit interrogated by – the legendary glass artist Paul Stankard. From the beginning of this itinerary, we had our sights set on Stankard when it was Gloucester County’s turn, and what a joy it was to meet him and discuss the fine art of glass.
- Meeting Eric Guttelewitz, an artist from Guatemala who had achieved some significant renown in the 1980s and 1990s, but has spent most of the last 20 years building a museum for his wonderful work in a warehouse on the industrial outskirts of Newark. That was a magical and revelatory afternoon – hoping to see the space open regularly to the public in 2020.
The road trip will resume in spring of 2020 – we’ll be announcing the itinerary in April. One thing is certain – it will be fun, and it will not be alphabetical!