June 13, 2024


Life is art

Drawing Rooms teams with Jersey City Library for Installment One, a public art project

Drawing Rooms recently announced its partnership with the Jersey City Free Public Library for Installment One: A Community Engaged Summer Program of Public Art that will take place through Aug 18. Four Jersey City Libraries will feature new public art works by artists Dennis RedMoon Darkeem, Ibou Ndoye, Maggie Ens, and Norm Francoeur.

“The Jersey City Libraries are such a valuable resource for all of us,” says Anne Trauben, Drawing Rooms Exhibitions Director/Curator. “We are really pleased to be presenting works by these four artists who have been so engaged in their community for many years, and hope that the Installment public art projects can continue each summer as a festival of art, music and poetry that will eventually be at all library branches and reach more neighborhoods in Jersey City.”

Each of the artists were chosen from an open call that asked artists to create new works considering the history of the library site and surrounding area. Opening receptions at each site featuring music and presentations are planned.

The first was held at the Five Corners Branch, 678 Newark Ave., Jersey City, on July 9 with artist Dennis RedMoon Darkeem. Darkeem presented “Giving Light to the Past, Present and Future”, a window display of translucent color images inspired by the Native American wampum belt. He is also an art educator and is a member of the Wind Clan within the Yamassee Yat’siminoli tribe.

The Miller Branch, 489 Bergen Ave., Jersey City, has a program slated on Saturday, July 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. (rain date July 30) with artist Maggie Ens. Ens, who is also a teacher, will have her “Library Avant Garden,” an art-ecosystem involving hanging flowering baskets displaying “real blooms and faux greenery,” mixed media mosaic art, and shaped seating created at the Miller Branch. The pieces will include words of wisdom from authors such as Albert Einstein, Dr. Seuss, Carlos Ruiz Zalon, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maya Angelou, Kahil Gibran, Dena Colhoff, and Anna Quindlen.

The Priscilla Gardner Main Library, 472 Jersey Ave., Jersey City, has a program on Tuesday, Aug 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. (rain date Aug 9) with artist Norm Francoeur. Francoeur, who is known for his creative lighting projects and colorful displays using dollar-store-type materials, will wrap ten large window ledges at the Main Library with blue and gold material to show support for the people of Ukraine. This work follows a series of installations the artist has placed in Jersey City, including City Hall, Grace Church Van Vorst, and Harsimus Cemetery.

The Cunningham Branch, 275 Martin Luther King Dr., Jersey City, has a program on Saturday, Aug 6, from 3 to 5 p.m. (rain date Aug 13) with artist Ibou Ndoye. Ndoye will create large, cut-out figures of historic Jersey City people that will be placed along the fencing at the Cunningham Branch Library. Originally from Dakar, Senegal, Ndoye has been working as an artist in Jersey City area for 20 years. He will be engaging children and families in workshops at the library to help create his figures, which will have patterned costumes drawn from his cultural heritage.

This is Drawing Rooms’ second public art project with the libraries, following the JC Library Prayer Flag Project that placed community-inspired flags and banners at all ten library branches during the 2020-21 pandemic. The program also continues their work with the Library’s Community Awareness Supervisor Sam Williams.