From the outside, it looks like an old, well-built Trenton factory, which it was. On the inside, it looks like a museum in the making, which it will be. But for now, it’s a sort of super art gallery. The future site of the Museum of Contemporary Science (MOCS) at the Roebling Marketplace at 675 Clinton Avenue is playing host to the second annual Art All Night Trenton, a 24-hour event that runs from 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 22.
The brainchild of Artworks, Trenton’s downtown visual art center, Art All Night gives artists of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to display their works in a public space. The professional, the enthusiastic amateur, the beginner, the child — are all welcome to exhibit on the walls and floors of the 52,000 square foot building. In addition, the public will be treated to 25 live bands on two stages, film, food booths, art demonstrations, lectures, and interactive art events for children. Some of the bands include A Love Like Pi (indie/electronica/rock), the Scott Rednor Band (acoustic rock/ Americana), the Patty Cronheim Ensemble (jazz/Big Band), Reckless from Hamilton (rock/alternative/progressive), and Colour Reporter from Hopewell (rock /folk rock/pop), and Andriana Santiago (jazz/punk/rock). A full list of bands is available at www.artworkstrenton.org. There will even be an early morning meditation and yoga session on Sunday, from 7 to 8:15 a.m.
One of last year’s biggest attractions, Michael Moculak, a glass blower in full action, will return, along with a silversmith and one of only 200 pinstripers in the country. A collection of Mini-Coopers, one of the event sponsors, will be on display throughout the event — hey, designer cars are art, too, and attendees driving Mini-Coopers will be given VIP parking spaces. Parking is free, abundant, and close to the facility.
But mostly, it’s about the art. “We give people who might not normally have the chance an opportunity to show their art,” says Mike Gumpert, Artworks’ chairperson of the exhibit. “Most galleries are juried shows; we want that 13-year-old girl who does or doesn’t get encouragement from other people to feel what it’s like when you watch someone watch your art. It might propel her to take it to the next level.”
To that end, Art All Night makes it as easy as possible to submit entries. Works can be submitted starting Friday, June 20, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., or on the Saturday of the show from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there’s no judging. All disciplines are welcome, from painting and sculpture to fashion, jewelry, or multi-media. It’s free to submit and free for all to attend, and if any works are sold, the artist receives 100 percent commission. All that Artworks asks is that the submitter be the artist, and that the work comes ready to be displayed.
Gumpert, an East Windsor native, organized the first Art All Night last year, based on a similar concept that he had participated in during the 12 years he lived in Pittsburgh. That city has seen its event turn into a regional attraction, with over 10,000 people attending.
“This is a community building event,” Gumpert points out. “Art is a common denominator among people no matter what socio-economic background they have. People come and mix — last year you had every different race, gender, sex, lifestyle, class — they all came together. It was really amazing, and one of our proudest moments, just the diversity.”
Gumpert says: “We are expecting 4,000 to 6,000 people this year. Last year we had 370 artists submit their work; this year, we are expecting 600 to 800.” That is one of the main reasons that Artworks is partnering with MOCS for this year’s activities. The premiere event was held last year at Artworks’ own facility on Stockton Street, but the group is victim of its own success. This year’s festivities have simply outgrown the Artworks building. Fortunately, the Museum of Contemporary Science was interested in partnering.
‘We are very excited about it,” says Diane Carroll, executive director of MOCS. “It’s a partnership with a grass roots organization that is bringing vitality back to the city.”
Art All Night also gives MOCS a chance to show off the ongoing renovation of an architectural treasure. The building is one of the former Roebling factory sites, where elevator cables were made for the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridges, and what better place for a science museum that plans to appeal to older teens who might plan a career in cutting-edge technology? MOCS is in the mid-stages of development right now. The building is in beautiful shape, bearing many reminders of its industrial and architectural past while being updated for the future. MOCS plans to open in 2010; Art All Night participants and attendees will be able to check out the building.
Artworks is celebrating its 20th year, and Art All Night will feature a 12-minute movie about one of Trenton’s best community efforts. Both the group and the event are staffed solely by volunteers, and the greater Trenton neighborhood has reached out with donations ranging from Dumpsters and port-a-johns to portable stages. Peter Abrams of Trenton’s Modern Metal Work, who works with recycled metal cable, has donated the cables from which the art works will hang, and the Homasote Company in West Trenton, manufacturer of recycled building products, has given boards made of recycled newspapers for mounting the works.
“This is really a chance for us to reach out to people who might not typically find themselves at art fairs,” says Artworks co-chair Anne LaBate. “We are known for our art classes for both adults and children; they might come (to Art All Night) and think, ‘Maybe I’ll take a class.’ It also allows people to see the Roebling Marketplace and view the history of the buildings, and get to see what is being done with the structures to enhance the community.”
Clifford Zink, noted Trenton historian, will provide a tour of the building on Sunday, June 22, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The Mural Arts Program, which has had great success working with neighborhoods in Philadelphia to generate high quality murals in public places, will give two lectures, Saturday, June 21, at 11:30 p.m., and Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m.
Art All Night will be looking for volunteers right up until game time. “It’s really easy. You do a three-hour shift, and you get a cool tee-shirt,” says Gumpert. And you get a chance to be a vital part of the Trenton community, even if it’s just for a few hours.
Art All Night, Saturday, June 21, 3 p.m, through Sunday, June 22, 3 p.m.. Artworks, Museum of Contemporary Science, former Roebling factory building, Chambersburg, Trenton. 24 hours of art, entertainment, and refreshments. Free. Through June 22, 3 p.m. Visit www.artworkstrenton.org, www.mocsnj.org or call 609-394-9436.