I love it when a community latches on to the transformative and revelatory power of the arts. For my money, Art All Night Trenton, produced by Artworks Trenton, exemplifies the best of what the arts in the Garden State has to offer. On June 21-22, the Historic Roebling Wire Works in Trenton will be converted from a vast and empty space into a teeming and thriving arts celebration.
For these 24 hours in this place, the arts will inspire, beautify, bolster, educate and create communities. The event will bring a sense of vibrancy and fun and momentum to a city that arguably finds itself running a deficit on all three, all too often. There’s a sense of energy and humor and grounded-ness present at Art All Night — the art and vibe of the event transcend all definitions of class and creates a wondrous melting pot of people from within Trenton to the farthest borders of New Jersey and beyond. It’s something to see.
I’ve gone from attending the event for several years to teaching an arts master class last year to running public relations for the event this year — that’s sort of how it works for many of us involved with Art All Night. We fall in love with the event and want to do more and more to spread the word and further its success, year after year.
My favorite thing about running PR for Art All Night is sitting in on planning meetings and hearing the sheer immensity and diversity of programs and ideas that are present, and will come to fruition on June 21-22.
With that inspiration in mind, here’s a sneak peek of some favorite components:
- The Silent Disco: A 24-hour, straight-up dance party with a twist. Enter a room where an energetic and joyful dance party is taking place — but you can only hear the music if you put on a specially-designed pair of headphones! Every hour, three DJS will musically duke it out on the dance floor, and the dancers will choose which DJ they want to listen to through three music channels on their headsets — each corresponding to a set of color-coded lights.
- The Dueling Muralists: Last year at Art All Night Trenton, four renowned visual artists came together in collaboration to paint a series of tremendous murals. This year, the muralists return to create more giant and striking works of art across 24 hours. The theme: Scary Faerie Tales. This is going to be a fantastic and fearsome sight to see. The finished pieces will go back to be used for Artworks’ Monster’s Ball in October, their annual Halloween party fundraiser.
- The Bench: A team of Trenton filmmakers have created a story about a day in the life of a park bench in Trenton, and the interweaving lives that circle that bench. Split into eight related and interconnected short films, THE BENCH demonstrates the diversity, collaboration, and raw storytelling power of Trenton’s artistic community. More info is available at The Bench Films’ Facebook page.
- The Art and Artists: This year, Art All Night Trenton anticipates over 1,000 unique pieces of art on display at the Roebling Wire Works, each created by a different artist.
- Master Classes: Over the course of 24 hours, you’ll be able to learn about fundraising for your art, shooting a music video, creating puppets, fashion strategies, and dozens more including an art class taught by legendary New Jersey painter Mel Leipzig.
- Captivating Music with Local Roots and National Cred: Over 50 music acts on three stages feature everything from rock-soul powerhouse Danielia Cotton to alternative rockers Honah Lee to New Brunswick songwriters The Clydes to hip-hop multi-genre impresario Black Collar Biz; Art All Night Trenton’s music artists celebrate the complex and multifaceted landscape of the New Jersey music scene. It’s a great place to see artists just on the edge of breaking out nationally, and take in a few acts who just might be tomorrow’s next big thing.
- The Film Festival: Featuring shorts and feature-length works from around the world, the Art All Night Trenton Film Festival is the best source for new cinematic talent and expressions in New Jersey’s Capital City.
- A World Food Court: Food from a variety of nations and perspectives will be offered for sale this year, bringing new flavors and culinary creativity to the Roebling Wire Works.
- An Epic Glass Blowing Demo and Installation: JMG Studios of Piscataway will be on hand to demonstrate the creative fire (literally!) of glassblowing, resulting in a surprising and delightful of-the-moment installation
- An Army of Passionate Volunteers: Art All Night is made possible through the tireless efforts of an army of skilled and personable individuals who donate their time, talents and energy to making the event happen. This year, a record number of volunteers — over 350! — will be on-hand during Art All Night to provide information, facilitation, and guest services throughout the 24 hours. Additionally, the performers you see and the teachers at the master classes and educational components are all donating their time, as well–this spirit of camaraderie and volunteerism is at the core of Art All Night.
Well, if you couldn’t tell, I’m pumped for Art All Night. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Roebling Wire Works on June 21-22. Track me down and say hi — I’ll be the big redheaded guy with a beard, proudly sporting my fashionable and awesome Art All Night T-shirt.
Jonathan Elliott manages public relations for Art All Night Trenton 2014. He has worked in management, communications, and administration for the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, Grounds for Sculpture, Princeton Summer Theater at Princeton University, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Sycamore Rouge Center for the Arts, and McCarter Theatre Center. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey.