When looking for an environment to live in, for many of us it’s important to know what kind of art is facilitated by the locale. And for art lovers of all sorts, it’s important to keep up with the events in many different communities. That’s why we’re going to showcase one of the most forgotten, but steadily rising, art communities in America - the New Jersey art scene! If you want to learn all about the local culture of New Jersey, you’re in luck!
New Jersey Performing Arts Center - the local art hub:
To start off this tour of the artistic melting pot that is New Jersey, let’s take a look at one of the most well-known local staples - the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Even though you may not expect this from New Jersey, it’s actually quite famous for NJPAC. After all, we’re talking about one of the biggest centers dedicated to performing arts in the entire country - so you definitely don't want to miss it. Also, it is the home venue of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra – so, lovers of quality music will find themselves right at home here. And NJPAC isn’t just there as a venue - it’s also got many arts education programs for young people who may become budding artists in time. And if you’re a young artist moving to New Jersey, take a look at www.vectormoversnj.com/!
The Crossroads Theatre - a staple of African American culture:
For our next highlight, let’s move away from big venues and focus on something that’s the backbone of every art community - the niches. And the New Jersey art scene has no shortage of those! For example, did you know that the city of New Brunswick hosts one of the most influential African American theatres in the country?
Since its founding back in 1978, the Crossroads Theatre has become a staple of African American culture. The theatre has put on many notable productions - for example, the famous Flyin’ West by Pearl Cleage had its world premiere right here! And the theatre has been recognized as important by many public officials and artists. In fact, in 1999 it won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional theatre!
The Jersey Shore Music Festival - summertime fun incoming!
Speaking of outstanding - no article on the New Jersey art scene is complete without mention of the Jersey Shore Music Festival. Really, this is one of the most unapologetically fun music festivals you can see anywhere in the United States. It typically starts in May, giving a kick-off to the summer season of festivals. It’s jam-packed with awesome performances by tons of artists - in fact, every year it sees over 300 artists coming to Jersey from the entire world!
And it’s not just music you can experience there either - there are also many other fun activities. You can participate in everything from skate shows to monster truck rides. There’s really no telling what kind of adventures you’ll have in Jersey Shore once the festival starts! It’s one of the reasons many people are moving to New Jersey. And if you’re one of them, contact professionals if you need some assistance for your move.
The New Jersey Folk Festival - a keeper of tradition:
Speaking of festivals, there’s a different one that should garner your attention, too. If you happen to be in NJ, check out the annual New Jersey Folk Festival. Right away, you should know that this is a very special event. It dates back to 1975, and it’s actually the product of a student exercise in leadership and management. But it has grown from its inception as the work of just two students. And it isn’t just about music, like the Providence Folk Festival!
Right now, it is an important cultural festival on the New Jersey art scene. It’s a folk festival that focuses on local culture. So, you can hear artists performing traditional music! And there are also workshops with traditional crafts. Besides all that, the festival organizes cooking using local recipes. Each year, you can also find a heritage area. Here, you’ll see exhibits that highlight a particular geographical or cultural theme. And the theme changes every year, so you’ll always find something new and interesting here.
Newark Museum - the biggest museum on the New Jersey art scene
It’s time to move on from theatre. After all, it’s important to mention that New Jersey is not just appreciative of performing arts. In fact, its museum collections are the envy of the regions! And it’s only natural to mention the most important local one - the famous Newark Museum! This fantastic place dates back to 1909. A local librarian founded it. Since back then, its purpose has been to raise interest in arts and sciences. And we can really say it has served that purpose well! The core of the original museum was actually a collection of Japanese exhibits, courtesy of a local pharmacist. But the museum isn’t just dedicated to art collections - as we’ve mentioned, it also appreciates the beauty of natural sciences. For example, its Dreyfuss Planetarium is very famous in the region!
Montclair Art Museum - the first of its kind:
Lastly, we’d be really remiss not giving a shout out to the Montclair Art Museum, for a number of reasons. First of all, this is one of the pioneers of the New Jersey art scene. How so, you ask? Well, Montclair is the first museum in New Jersey to be open to the public! As in, not just being a private collection. However, since its founding in 1914, its funds have been coming from private sources. This shows the growing love for art in the area. Also, the Montclair Art Museum focuses on American cultural tradition. On the one hand, it has one of the best collections and exhibits of Native American culture in the entire country. But on the other, it also has modern American art, from the 18th century onwards!
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