‘Art All Night’ event helps to focus on the positive in Trenton

Looking for some hot fun in the summertime? What could be better than a 24-hour jam of music, gallery displays, blacksmith demonstrations, dueling muralists, art made from trash, and activities guaranteed to excite all the senses?

This is part of a series from Ilene Dube of The Artful Blogger

Looking for some hot fun in the summertime? What could be better than a 24-hour jam of music, gallery displays, blacksmith demonstrations, dueling muralists, art made from trash, and activities guaranteed to excite all the senses?

At the sixth annual Art All Night in Trenton, June 16-17, there’s even an installation for the olfactory senses: “That New Car Smell,” by Andrew Wilkinson.

Organizers expect more than 15,000 to attend (last year’s event attracted 13,000). This is social networking in the old-fashioned sense: Artists submitting artwork or performing invite all their friends and family to this giant all-night party — although there’s plenty of electronic social networking as well.

The event is entirely run by volunteers, and volunteers also network. Last year 500 community members worked in shifts during the 24 hours. “Many of our volunteers return year after year,” volunteer recruiter and Artworks board member Diana Moore said.  “It’s become an annual tradition, and they often bring friends and family to volunteer with them.”

“Trenton has a stigma as a dangerous place,” said Joseph Kuzemka, Art All Night planning committee chair. “It’s a poor city but there are a lot of positive things going on. By holding Art All Night we focus on the positive. Arts rebuild communities and we can bring people from outside the city to see they can have a good time and be safe.”

Art All Night aims to thrill, and building on its success it has raised the bar, says Interactive Events Captain Cameron Ferrera. “As well as bringing back some favorite events from past years, we’ve scoured the region for the most talked-about new performance and interactive artists to bring to this year’s event.”

With a Black Light Graffiti Lounger and Rock Ya’ Body’s Body Paint Party, spoken word, multimedia projections, drum circle, Rock ‘n’ Roll Oracle Card Reader, two stages with 35 live music acts, as well as a Kid Zone, the space perfectly suited to host such a large party is once again the Roebling Wire Works Building.

Roebling historian Clifford Zink will be on hand to lead tours and talk about the 1848-founded factory where John A. Roebling & Sons produced wire rope for such landmark suspension bridges as the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as Otis elevators and cable cars.

The AbOminOg Int’l. Art Collective will return to “amaze spectators by forging steel live throughout the night, as one-story-high orange flames rise against Trenton’s urban backdrop,” promises the group. The team will pour 75 cast iron fresh-from-the-flames limited edition medallions that will be available for purchase. A Kickstarter campaign helped to raise the $4,000 needed to bring back this popular event.

This year, a film festival will be part of Art All Night, with independent films, animated shorts, music videos and student works.

“Over the past several years, we’ve heard from Art All Night attendees that they’d love to see a more formally organized film component at the event,” Art All Night event director Cathy Campbell said. “We loved the idea, so this year we’re creating a dedicated screening space for the films, with quality audio and video, and an advance schedule of show times. It’s a festival within a festival.”

It’s not too late to submit art or to volunteer. Information can be found on the Artworks Trenton website.

 

The Artful Blogger is written by Ilene Dube and offers a look inside the art world of the greater Princeton area. Ilene Dube is an award-winning arts writer and editor, as well as an artist, curator and activist for the arts.

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