Art is defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. Typically articulated in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, works are often appreciated primarily for their beauty and emotional power.
My daughter Lola is a budding artist. She truly loves to draw and create her own characters, progressing from squiggles in recent years.
A few months ago, I began to search for local art programs and found a few that were overly priced, others that focused on just painting or geared towards older children. Then I stumbled upon an art program right in my neighborhood of the Heights called the Young Masters Children’s Art Class. Lola instantly fell in love with the art gallery where the classes take place and more importantly, the program director, Kristin DeAngelis!
The art program takes place at the 107 Bowers Gallery & ArtSpace, every Friday @ 4:15pm. Ms. Kristin prepares a different theme every week, always based on the type of art her current gallery is displaying. In addition, she also has the children work with different materials from week-to-week. Without realizing it, Lola has learned how to work with clay, papier mache, still work and 3-D designs. At the beginning of each class, they discuss the art work the lesson is designed after, study it, discuss it amongst themselves and then they get to work!
I sat down with Ms. Kristin recently to learn more about her history with art and her love for The Heights.
Are you an artist?
KD: Yes. Since I was very young. I went to school for Studio Art and Marketing. I have dabbled in various mediums, but when I do have free time, I paint. I was working with oils, but recently jumped back into acrylics. My new work is a mix of printmaking and painting.
How long have you been a JC resident?
KD: I have lived in the JC since 2011 and the Heights since 2013. We own are home and the gallery space so we are truly invested in our community.
How long has your gallery been open in JC?
KD: Since a JC Friday in September 2016 – so nearly 16 months!
Do you have other galleries? If so, where?
KD: Prior to opening 107 Bowers Gallery & ArtSpace, I curated at The Distillery Gallery and the Lincoln Inn before they closed down. I do curate other spaces including Hola Doctor on Central Avenue in the Heights and JacksoNewark Gallery in Hoboken.
What encouraged you to open it here in JC?
KD: My husband and I own a home in in Jersey City Heights. I had been volunteering in a local gallery and teaching children. The space became available for purchase. We decided to invest in the neighborhood even more and to open the gallery for me to run. I can walk to it from my house.
How has the reaction been from the JC residents to the gallery?
KD: People thank me at least once a week for opening the gallery. It is quite humbling when we have an opening and there are so many people, that they are waiting outside to take their turn to see the artwork! I had been teaching free art classes on occasion during the summer at the Riverview’s Farmer’s Market. I kicked off the Young Masters Children’s Art classes in the Gallery in the Fall of 2017. I teach children ages 2 – 12 using professional materials. The classes are broken down by ages and dates/times. I am doing a residency as an assistant to a Teaching Artist with the Guggenheim’s Learning through Art Program, so I am applying what I learn in the program to my classes. We focus on learning via inquiry to help the students think more creatively. Our Young Masters take home their completed art work after class so they can immediately show off their work. People have been spreading the word about the classes are very happy that they have been able to find something like this for their children.
What events do you have coming up at the gallery?
KD: We switch out the shows every 6 – 8 weeks. Our next show is a series of openings for the high school seniors of the JC Arts program. They will be happening on Wednesdays in May with the first one being May 9th. The students will run the opening, sit at the gallery and sell their work. All sale proceeds go directly to the students to use towards their studies at college.
We are participating in the upcoming free arts festival JC Fridays event on June 1st from 6-9pm. We are celebrating our Young Masters Children’s Art classes. Children of all ages are encouraged to stop by to create a piece of art! In addition, artist Mike Dreeland, will be showing works that can be touched by everyone!