Efforts to put Jersey City’s art culture on the map continues.
“We need to do something that’s fun,” said 14C Art Fair Executive Director Robinson Holloway. “Because the arts in Jersey are fun.”
The 14C Art Fair took place from March 15 to 17 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 2 Exchange Pl. in downtown Jersey City. Holloway said the new art fair seeks to help local artists — such as photographers, sculptors, etc — gain exposure for their works.
Artists can apply at http://www.artfair14c.com/apply/ to have their talents shown off at either a juried show – featuring solely NJ artists -- or an exhibition space – featuring global galleries -- for a $35 fee. Despite the fee, Holloway said it’s for operational costs; the Jersey City Arts Council isn’t making a penny off any artists.
“We had two missions,” Holloway said. “One, to strengthen the arts that are here, but also to strengthen the idea that Jersey City is an arts destination.”
The three-day event featured two sections: a juried show – which will be in the Manhattan Ballroom of the hotel – and an exhibition space. Both are open to the public. Tickets can be bought on the art fair’s eventbrite.
Around last spring, Holloway -- a former JCAC Board of Trustees Chairperson -- noticed that half the sales in the global art market was done online and at art fairs, where the JC artists were often shut out.
“This felt like, how do we help people make a living in the visual arts?” she said. “Well, we have to get them into an art fair and, so we have to do an art fair.”
Local gallery owners – such as Jonathon LeVine – and the JCAC came together to come up with the 14C Art Fair. “14C” stands for exit 14C on the New Jersey turnpike, which Holloway says shows that Jersey people are “more than what’s on the off-ramp.”
Holloway, a six-year JC resident, also owns Village West Gallery – a philanthropic art gallery on 331 Newark Ave. – with her husband. She said after visiting JC for an art studio tour, years ago, her and her husband loved the vibe, art scene and couldn’t get it off their minds; so they moved.
The New York native still attends art shows in her hometown and said that whenever she mentions Jersey City, people seem to get interested.
“People have this idea that there’s a verging art scene (in Jersey City). They know Mana Contemporary,” Holloway said. “They’re very willing to believe that Jersey can be next – that there’s undiscovered talent here.”
“Everybody’s discovered Brooklyn, but New Jersey can still surprise you,” she added.