As pandemic restrictions rolled back in the past year, organizations with a homebase slowly returned. But Jersey City’s Art House Productions gave up its former space at Cast Iron Lofts as a new one waited in the wings. Construction on that new location at 345 Marin Boulevard was also delayed by the pandemic. In the meantime, Art House hosted virtual programming, like their weekly drag bingo shows referenced on an episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
It wasn’t until late last year that the location’s gallery was completed – in time for Jersey City Art and Studio Tour and Art House’s Big Affordable Art Show. 180 Morgan Street Developers, the owners of The Hendrix building that houses 345 Marin Blvd., helped to prioritize work on the gallery for that purpose, said Art House Productions Executive Artistic Director Meredith Burns.
Art House’s participation in JCAST and facilitation of events like the quarterly art festival JC Fridays and Snow Ball Gala have been perennial for more than 15 years. Just having facilitated the Jersey City Comedy Festival (June 7-10) and ahead of a ribbon cutting ceremony July 13 at 1 p.m., Art House has fully moved into its new space – with a 99-seat black box theater, visual arts gallery, green room, and multi-use lobby.
In launching a $500K fundraising campaign for their reopening, they intend to realize the aspirations they believe a group perhaps considered the city’s premiere nonprofit arts organization (founded in 2001) should have.
“(345 Marin Blvd.) is part of a development that the city was instrumental in negotiating for a nonprofit art space many, many years ago,” Burns said in an interview with The Jersey Journal last week. “Art House is fortunate enough to be that nonprofit arts organization. We’re in this prime location ... steps from the Grove Street PATH in Downtown Jersey City.
“It’s now such a different ballpark with having all of these high-rise buildings – having 40,000 people within like a 10-block radius – and we need to make sure that we’re prepared to meet the demands of the high-quality programming that people are looking to see, going to pay money to go see.”