Home Culture A Cultural Oasis in Jersey City: All About Art House Productions

A Cultural Oasis in Jersey City: All About Art House Productions

by Erica Commisso
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Jersey City local Meredith Burns wants people to recognize that they don’t have to go into Manhattan to get good quality arts programming. So, for that local arts fix, look no further than Art House productions. Home to comedy festivals, theater productions, and more, this local arts hub + non-profit at 262 17th Street in Jersey City is bringing amazing art right to our doorstep. 

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About Art House

In 2001, Christine Goodman {who was then a performer and community leader and is now the Director of the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs} began an informal gathering of poets, writers, and creatives in the Jersey City community, hoping to create a group as a direct response to the September 11th attacks. At the time, she noted, there was no forum for artists to share their work, receive feedback, or just come together. Art House Productions was born out of this community and grew to become a registered non-profit in 2007, complete with extended programming and cultural events for the local community. 

Comedy festivals, dance events, theater productions, and more are carefully organized and executed by Art House Productions. They are the very same organization that brings the community JC Fridays, the quarterly night out that sees art events take place in local restaurants, galleries, and shops. All of the programming is free to the public and art in all forms is highlighted and celebrated. 

Where to Find Art House

Art House has spent a few years in its current space just below Cast Iron Lofts, a space the organization is temporarily calling home until 2022 when its permanent space by the Grove Street PATH Station is completely built. 

In the space now, Art House hosts two large-scale theatrical productions every year, alongside the Snow Ball Gala.

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Art House’s Programming

Art House hosts many events for the local community. One of which being the aforementioned Snow Ball Gala, which Burns describes as “non-traditional” because, as she explains, there are no tables or chairs, allowing guests to walk around each designed space and interact with it. 

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“It’s kind of like this area’s version of the Met Gala,” she says, as there’s a different theme each year, and guests go over the top in preparing their costumes for the annual contest. There is a runway and judges, and it takes place in one of the themed rooms. This year, guests paid homage to “The Wizard of Oz,” in rooms decorated with the Emerald City, the Yellow Brick Road and, of course, a giant bar with Dorothy’s face printed on it. 

The main space, the biggest room in Art House’s larger space, is where the theatrical magic happens. It’s outfitted with a grid lighting system, so the organization can put a spotlight on any area of the space, allowing it to move the audience and the stage wherever the play calls for them. There is a smaller area directly across from it, where Art House hosts smaller events like classes and meetings. And, finally, there’s an art gallery, a space where local artists can exhibit their work for weeks at a time.

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Art House + the Community

For community members who are looking to showcase their skills, Art House takes submissions for dancers, playwrights, comedians, and artists to be a part of its programming, from the INKubator program {helping six playwrights a year develop their productions and flesh out their ideas} to the Your Move Modern Dance Festival at The Landmark Loew’s Theater. “We definitely want to highlight the artists in our community,” Burns says, but notes that people do not have to be New Jersey residents to apply. 

If you’re more of a spectator, fear not: all of these programs are available to the public, and there’s programming year-round, from June’s comedy festival to monthly exhibitions to the theater production of “When We Went Electronic,” on stage from Thursday to Sunday from March 19th to April 4th. “We want our programming to be something the community is looking for, to have a deeper meaning, and be fun to watch,” Burns says. More than that, though, Art House Productions wants to build a community of artists from all mediums that support each other, help each other and, of course, create together. 

Check out Art House Productions’ programming calendar here, and learn more about the organization here

Have you been to Art House Productions yet? Let us know in the comments!


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