Remembering Javi Rodriguez

Remembering Javi Rodriguez

Dear Art House Community,

Javiera Rodriguez, a beloved friend of Art House, passed away late Wednesday night from complications due to COVID-19. Javi (as her friends called her) was part of the tight-knit group of designers who volunteered for the Snow Ball gala year after year, working alongside lead designer and Art House gallery director, Andrea McKenna. Javi and Andrea were best friends and together they ran The Raven Gallery, a hub for artists in the Jersey City community on Newark Avenue from 2014-2017. Since taking over the Art House Gallery in 2018, Andrea has curated 15 art exhibitions and Javi was at every opening.  

javi rocking the runway in wizard of oz-themed costumeJavi was a jewelry designer who made gorgeous, sculptural, statement pieces that mixed antique and goth elements. I once said out loud to a group that Javi's work reminded me of the famous jewelry designer Alexis Bittar and I was rightly corrected that, "Alexis Bittar wishes he was half as talented as Javiera Rodriguez." I loved her work, so much so that I commissioned her to make both of my head pieces and the head pieces of the raffle volunteers for the most recent Snow Ball galas. In 2019, she made our rafflers these huge, bejeweled antlers for our "13" theme, and last year, she made these ingenious, light up headbands based on all four of the main characters from the Wizard of Oz. The picture above is from this past Snow Ball and shows Javi dressed up in a costume she designed and made herself. She came as both Emerald City and the Yellow Brick Road. 

Outside of her life as an artist, Javi was a social worker in North Bergen serving as the Child Study Team case manager for 10 years in the Becton Regional High School district. In an article on Northjersey.com, superintendent Dario Sforza called Javi a "relentless advocate for special needs students" and a “dear colleague, friend, sister, and champion for students.” 

Given who she was and the work she did, I once asked Javi for advice on what to say to someone who just lost a loved one. She told me, "There is nothing you can say that will make that person feel better. All you can do is give them a hug and tell them that you're there if they need you." Losing Javi is a tragic and terrible loss for her loved ones, all of us here at Art House, and for the Hudson County communities she was part of, but it feels especially cruel to not be able to hug the folks who knew and loved her right now.

Please join me in sending Andrea, her partner, her family, colleagues, and the many students she served, a huge virtual hug. Javi will be deeply missed and when the time is right, we will hug in person and celebrate the life of this compassionate, creative, and vibrant soul.

Sincerely,
Meredith & the Art House Board & Staff

We invite you to share your favorite memories of Javi below.


10 comments

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Lisette

Lisette

We will miss you Javiera. Truly. Fly high… 🙏😔❤

Carolina, Jeanette, Ricardo and Ricardo Jr. Mercader

Carolina, Jeanette, Ricardo and Ricardo Jr. Mercader

Our family is truly saddened and heart-broken to hear of the loss of Javiera, an extraordinarily talented Chilean-American artist We are praying for your family and loved ones. may your art live on, Javiera..

Paul Mendoza

Paul Mendoza

We lost someone who made us all feel special by her being with each of us. Thanks Art House for the pics.

Carmen G

Carmen G

My heart is broken 💔
Pucha loquitaaa 😢😢😢. Te extrañare ~
~ Que mujer más especial y única siempre fuistes. Ilumínanos de tu nuevo reino * Que sea lleno de todas esas cosas locas que siempre hacías. We will miss you so much 😢
Mi Chilenita loca y buena honda 🤍🤍🤍

Julie Minieri Brooks

Julie Minieri Brooks

My deepest sympathy to all who have lost her…..And a hug to her best friend, my cousin Andrea😥.

Cat Perry

Cat Perry

I am devastated. Jersey City has lost a color in the spectrum.

I told her one of the times I bought a piece of hers (there were many) that her work isn’t just jewelry. They’re snapshots of something primal and deep that cannot be contained with words. Something similar to, but far more profound than “fuck off” and much more beautiful. I’m beyond grateful I have tiny pieces of her laying next to my heart.

Much love to Javi’s family and loved ones. Please accept my virtual hug.

CARLA ANDERSON

CARLA ANDERSON

So sorry and HUGS to Andrea and all of Javi’s friends and loved ones. A friend a sister and a great artist, she will be missed. God bless

Beth Achenbach

Beth Achenbach

Too many memories to mention but all the Snowballs, or anytime there was a themed event Javi outdid herself with her outfits! Everything she did had her special touch to it…everything! I will miss her.

Matt Barteluce

Matt Barteluce

The Guttenberg Arts family is beyond sad to say to hear of the loss of a dear friend, incredible artist and constant supporter of the arts and Hudson County. Javi was a luminary of the Hudson County Arts scene and one of the first community members who walked through the doors of Guttenberg Arts and got involved in our mission. From supporting our artists and publications through the Raven Gallery and participating in our portrait series to creating a wishing tree in Braddock Park, teaching arts and organizing all kinds of unique events and parties she was truly a cornerstone of our community of artists, crafters and rebels. We want to wish all her friends and family our deepest condolences in this incredibly difficult time.

Ray Arcadio

Ray Arcadio

My eyes are filled with tears as I write this. Whenever I would do or invite Javi to any art event, she would show up to support with her big smile, a bigger hug and always offering leads to other shows that might interest me. She was so generous, unselfish and just authentic to the core. I’m gonna miss her so much. We shall meet again Javi.. in some crazy event in some magical place where I’ll find you smiling and welcoming everyone.

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