I just got an email from the Jersey City Museum inviting me to tonight's preview of the "Jersey City Art Fair at the Beacon", an event apparently aimed at collectors who might be put off by the traditional studio tour slog from venue to venue (understandably- it's supposed to rain). Since this is the first real art fair in Jersey City (indoors at least) I'm curious how it's going to come off--especially because this is the only concrete PR I've read about it.
Many artists I've talked to who participate in the annual Tour have said they do it just to get their work out there and show the community what they're up to--not in the hopes that they'd sell a piece. Part of the reason many have written off sales might be because most Jersey City arts events are billed as local opportunities for community building rather than opportunities for people to view (and buy) works of art. Just take a look at the democratizing language used on the ProArts website:
"All events are free and open to the public and there is truly something for everyone. The Studio Tour unites Jersey City's artists, art groups, galleries and more to create an outstanding weekend for all to celebrate our talented and vibrant artistic community."
Do not be afraid. The art won't bite. We're in this together. Oh, and it's free.
Jersey City doesn't have its own collectors market and buyers haven't exactly been flocking in to purchase pieces from artists based here, but it looks like the Jersey City Museum, along with Victory Hall and JC Cultural Affairs (event sponsors), are trying to change that. Or at least, they're changing their language, billing this event as an opportunity to: "mingle with nationally and internationally recognized artists, curators, gallery owners, and the arts community".
It's an important start, and I'm glad to see the studio tour evolving to potentially support what could become a true Jersey City art market...but six hours notice is kind of short. It will be interesting to see who shows up.
"The Jersey City Art Fair promises to be a wonderful opportunity for serious collectors, art connoisseurs and the general public. This event allows everyone the chance meet new people and to discover latest developments in contemporary art. It's not to be missed!"