Art — in capital letters — is the capital city’s big draw this weekend.
The annual Art All Night — a popular event that attracted 30,000 visitors in 2014 — returns Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21, at the Roebling Wire Works facility, 675 South Clinton Avenue, Trenton.
The annual free festival of art, music, workshops, competitive arts events, kid-friendly activities, and food runs 24-hours straight — from 3 p.m. on Saturday to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
This year organizers expect 1,000 artists to show work and more than 20 artisan craft makers to offer creations and wares. There will also be workshops, family friendly events, food vendors from around the state, and a new food-truck food court.
One of the 2015 highlights is the world premiere of the film “Our Ghostbusters,” a scene-for-scene parody of the 1984 horror-comedy, “Ghostbusters.” Trenton filmmaker and Art All Night Trenton’s video documentation director Jeff Stewart oversaw the project that divided the original film into sections that were then interpreted by area filmmakers Anthony Catanese, Chris Kaczor, Will Foskey, Frank Williams, Jamaal Green, Joshua Borden, Mark Mackner, Juan Irizarry, Robert A. Emmons Jr., Ryan O’ Leary, Richard Priest, the Gambino Brothers, Krystle Ann Griffin, and Loren Lepre.
“In keeping with the creative impulses of the different directors involved, the film will not be a shot-for-shot remake, but a scene-for-scene re-telling drawn from a variety of inspirations,” note organizers. Stewart and other members of the team were responsible for “Bench,” a collaborative film that debuted at last year’s Art All Night.
More than 50 area musicians will also perform at the festival’s main stage. On the roster are a who’s who of area performers, including Molly Rhythm, Honah Lee, Paul Plumeri, Chalk and the Beige Americans, Black Collar Biz, A Love Like Pi, Dave Orban and the Mojo Gypsies, The Downright Down, Teeel, and more.
Another feature is “Stay Up!” an exhibition of miniature water towers painted by more than 20 artists and curated by Leon Rainbow — a Trenton artist connected to graffiti and other contemporary modes of expression. The height and prominence of a water tower represents a challenge to street artists who need to scale and paint under the cover of night. The miniature towers pay homage to that creative spirit, says Rainbow.
Also participating is the Princeton Trenton Campaign to End the New Jim Crow and its “Out the Box,” a replica of a Solitary Confinement Cell — a less than 60-square-foot room where people are confined 23 hours a day, seven days a week.
Art All Night is a project of Artworks, Trenton’s downtown visual arts center that “promotes artistic diversity by fostering creativity, learning, and appreciation of the arts” through classes, exhibitions, and special events.
More information on Art All Night Trenton will be available at www.ArtAllNightTrenton.org.
Art past and future is the theme on Sunday, June 21, when the downtown campus of Mercer County Community College has an open house to preview its new gallery space and honor the late Trenton-based photographer — and MCCC faculty member — Lou Draper, a visual artist who has recently been the subject of exhibitions, articles in prominent newspapers, a website devoted to his work, and now a book: “Louis H. Draper Selected Photographs.”
Draper came to the Trenton in 1982 to lead photography classes at Mercer County Community College. In a short time he became a presence in the area and an active part of the Trenton area art scene until his death in 2002.
Since then a network of regional artists and arts professionals had vowed to keep Draper’s images in front of the public and worked to create a book that will be sent to museums. The publication was developed in cooperation with Draper’s artist associates in Kamoinge — a New York City group that Lou helped form in 1963 to address the under-representation of black photographers in the art world — and family members in his native Richmond, Virginia.
The book’s final phase was completed by New Jersey State Museum fine arts curator Margaret O’Reilly, former MCCC faculty member and designer Eric Kunsman, and photographer and historian Gary Saretzky, who wrote the introduction. The MCCC Foundation served as the umbrella for the project.
Although Draper was born in 1936, he reported being reborn in 1957 when as a student at Virginia State University he encountered a copy of the famous photography essay “The Family of Man” and decided to go to New York City to become a photographer, studying with the book’s creator, W. Eugene Smith.
“Quickly recognized for the quality of his work, (Draper) was included in ‘Photography at Mid-Century,’ an important exhibition at the George Eastman House in 1959. The list of contributors, including Harold Feinstein and Gene Smith, still reads like an international Who’s Who of Photography,” notes Saretzky.
About his work, Draper said, “I began to realize that what I felt had worth; that I could make strong statements about the world in visual terms and that often these images did in fact move people emotionally. I had power. I was a force . . . [This power] was given to me for the purpose of sharing.”
While his interests were formal, his main theme was the human being. “I had an interest in people and I was intrigued by the varying mood and complexities of light. I also came to realize that there are things about the world I hated and that these too were valid statements to be made with a camera. I hated injustice, and slums, and people being shown in less than true grace.”
Draper — in addition to his continued work with Kamoinge in New York — was a prominent New Jersey artist. His 1989 solo exhibition, “Enter the City: Photographs by Louis Draper,” was seen at both Richard Stockton College and the Johnson & Johnson Headquarters in New Brunswick. Through his involvement with the Trenton Artists Workshop Association, he was one of a delegation of six to go to the Soviet Union in 1990 as part of an exchange program of artists and exhibitions. He also helped organize the photography project “Trenton Takes: 24 Hours in the City” and created a “New Jersey Artists” series that included prominent figures Bernarda Bryson Shahn and Hughie Lee-Smith.
At MCCC Draper interacted with other faculty members and became the office mate of nationally known painter Mel Leipzig, who created a painting of Draper that now belongs to the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
Trenton Makes: Arts and Artists in Trenton, James Kerney Hall on the James Kerney Campus of Mercer County Community College, 102 North Broad Street, Trenton, Sunday, June 21, 3 to 5 p.m.
The event is a celebration of the donation of a Mel Leipzig painting, “Fashion Design, MCCC, Trenton Campus” to Mercer County Community College; the debut of the book, “Louis H. Draper: Selected Photographs,” a survey of Lou Draper’s career in photography; and the presentation of the design of the new art gallery and community room at Mercer’s campus in Trenton.
Louis H. Draper: Selected Photographs can be purchased at the event for $40 per copy. The book also can be ordered from the College for $40 per copy plus $10 per copy shipping and handling. Orders can be sent to “Louis H. Draper: Selected Photographs,” c/o Patricia A. Richards, AD 250, Mercer County Community College, P.O. Box 17202, Trenton, NJ 08690.