Pop-up Gallery Supports Life-Changing Help for the Homeless
FEBRUARY 28, 2019 – LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – Turning a vacant storefront into a colorful art-filled pop-up gallery each spring, HomeFront’s ArtJam invites art lovers to experience a double win – buying artworks they love AND supporting a good cause.
“The work of transforming lives is central to HomeFront,” says founder and CEO Connie Mercer. “We do more than provide shelter, we help people gain skills for self-empowerment and develop a vision of a better future for themselves and their children.”
One of the ways HomeFront supports this evolution is through ArtSpace, HomeFront’s therapeutic art program, a special place where the creative process becomes a tool for self-expression, critical thinking and problem-solving that can change the lives of the artists.
ArtJam happens in Princeton once a year, combining the work of more than 125 professional international, national and local artists with undiscovered artists who have experienced homelessness. Accomplished artists including Judith Brodsky, Bill Jersey and Kenneth Lewis will have their work available for purchase.
“Spring is a time of transformation. We see winter’s gray tones turn to spring’s bright greens,” says Ruthann Traylor, director of HomeFront’s ArtSpace/SewingSpace. “Through transforming this small corner of Palmer Square, we are bringing art and the story of HomeFront to the Princeton community.”
“This year is special because we have a returning artist, Emily “estrange” Lewis who was homeless when she participated in the first ArtJam,” she says. “Now, she has a degree from Parsons School of Design and is a successful artist.”
One Artspace artist, Aileen O. describes her journey: “After living in Southern California and New Mexico for several years, I came back home to East Windsor, NJ. I left working as a Registered Nurse in a Level 1 Trauma Burn Surgical Intensive Care Unit and was broken; I took care of others with intensity and passion but neglected myself.
Through Homefront’s WorkFirst program I came to ArtSpace; it’s been the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual boost I needed so intensely. Since preschool age, I have always loved creating art. ArtSpace can be seen as a luxury, yet what it offers is essential for the soul. To be given permission to stop the daily bustle and rush, to be allowed, encouraged, supported in the pursuit of creativity – priceless.”
Another HomeFront artist, Nashea started her program as a resident in 2017, and quickly took to Art Space after her arrival. Nashea first tried Art Space as an escape from the busy setting of HomeFront, she describes Art Space as a chance “to have some piece of mind”.
Nashea believes Art Space is an extremely important part of HomeFront, “It’s great for the people who live here, it really helps to block out everything else going on. It stands as a sanctuary for those who live here.”
Spanning 19 days, ArtJam will present more than art for sale, with live music performances, private parties, and artist demos as well. The undertaking has received massive community support from sponsors ranging from local corporations to small business owners.
“It takes a lot of effort from volunteers and sponsors to put together this fundraising activity,” says Traylor. “But it is so wonderful to receive the community support and build awareness of HomeFront’s mission.”
The gallery includes a rotating display of art for sale, including paintings, pottery, glassworks and hand-sewn items from SewingSpace, another HomeFront art program. Visitors can shop for original and one-of-a-kind pieces, while helping HomeFront as well as community artists with each purchase.
The ArtJam opening reception will be held on Friday, March 29 and it is open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m. at 19 Hulfish Street, Palmer Square in Princeton.
Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, 12 noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is open from Friday, March 29 to Monday, April 16. For a listing of ArtJam events, visit: https://www.homefrontnj.org/artjam/
Since its founding 27 years ago, HomeFront (www.homefrontnj.org) has worked to end family homelessness in Central New Jersey by breaking the cycle of poverty through the provision of shelter, skills for a self-sustaining life and hope. HomeFront has developed a sophisticated network of supportive housing and social services for very low-income households who are either homeless or at high risk of becoming so.
HomeFront has also transformed buildings – taking a decommissioned Navy training station, managing a $6 million makeover to become a Family Campus and creating an inviting haven for homeless families yearning for stability and success.
For more information on ArtJam volunteering or sponsorship opportunities, contact Ruthann Traylor, (609) 883-7500 ext. 316, RuthannT@homefrontnj.org
ArtJam At A Glance
Dates: Friday, March 29 – Tuesday, April 16
Location: 19 Hulfish Street, Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ
Opening Reception: Friday, March 29, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 12 noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Hashtags: #Artjam2019 #FeelGoodTwice Cutline: ArtJam, March 29- April 16, will feature works of more than 125 artists. Proceeds will help support the artists and ArtSpace programs.