The Jersey Fresh Jam celebrates its 10-year milestone on Saturday, August 22, by doing what it does best: filling the air with aerosol and music and covering the walls of the building of its host, TerraCycle in Trenton, with fresh graffiti-style art.
“The first Jam was just for us, then after a while it became more open. And we enjoy it. It’s interesting for the public to see who we are and what we do. And we get to understand their point of view,” says artist Leon Rainbow, who through the arts group Vicious Styles Crew organizes the event dubbed “New Jersey’s premiere hip-hop festival.”
From humble beginnings — a wall, paint, some beer, and a boom box — the annual late August event now attracts scores of street artists, musicians, vendors, and art lovers with a taste for the fresh. “We have 50 artists coming from all over the East Coast, and one crew from Indianapolis.” says Rainbow.
The idea for the Jersey Fresh Jam was born when the Trenton-based Rainbow attended a party and met TerraCycle CEO and graffiti art lover Tom Szaky who invited him to paint the walls of TerraCycle complex of several buildings. TerraCycle recycles discarded materials into useful products distributed internationally.
The partnership between street artists who want to keep creating and a company that understands that its connection to graffiti gives it a fresh and contemporary edge has produced an ongoing relationship.
The event’s name was inspired in part by the state’s Jersey Fresh produce campaign. “We wanted to make (our event) more accessible and added music, and then we began to call it just the Jersey Fresh Jam,” says Rainbow.
Music continues to be an important part of the event and this year’s musician promise to fill the ear while the art fills the eye. “We have an amazing line up of amazing musicians focused on real hip-hop. We will have local rockers Molly Rhythm tearing it up as well as hip-hop immortals Cappadonna and El Da Sensei headlining.”
The Jersey Fresh Jam, Saturday, August 22, noon to 6 p.m. TerraCycle Complex, 121 New York Avenue, Trenton. Free. www.jerseyfreshjam.com.