“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Birth of Artists’ Communities in Central New Jersey” is a series of art exhibits, film, gallery talks, and panel discussions focusing on notable art communities that developed in central New Jersey beginning in the late 1930s. The project explores the role New Jersey has had as a creative cauldron since the mid-20th century and it opens at the Arts Council of Princeton, the Historical Society of Princeton and the Princeton Public Library on January 18. It will also open in the Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) on January 21, and at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton on February 15.
Much of America’s creative activity took root in small but important enclaves all across the country. Beginning in the mid-20th century, central New Jersey became one such hotbed, and played an important role in American cultural life of the last century. The accomplishments of the artists who lived and worked here are documented in the paintings, drawings, and sculpture they produced.
Among the groups being explored are the original Queenston Press artists; the artists of Roosevelt; Princeton Artists Alliance; the Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA); and the Princeton Art Association (now ARTWORKS in Trenton).
Original artwork and portfolios, featuring both historical and contemporary works, will be displayed in participating venues in Mercer County and its environs now through spring 2015. Concentric Circles overlaps with “New Jersey as Non-Site,” an independent exhibition organized by the Princeton University Art Museum that focused on experimental artists of the postwar era, another group of artists in central New Jersey.
Concentric Circles organizers Ilene Dube and Kate Somers originally set out to celebrate a group of women artists who came together in Princeton in the 1960s to learn printmaking from Judith K. Brodsky. From this small group, along with other artists who established the Princeton Art Association during the same period, many other art groups eventually formed. Just as interests during this period began to overlap as artists joined multiple groups and influenced one another’s work, the original project grew to encompass more of these “Concentric Circles.”
“We discovered that not only had the women artists’ group come together at this time, but other important artists in the area were taking classes with each other, interacting, and influencing each other,” says Dube. “Although the artists of Roosevelt had formed in the 1930s, many were still active in the 1960s and 70s, and knew the artists of the Queenston Press. In addition, there were connections to artists who had taught at Mercer County Community College, as well as the artists who formed the Trenton Artists Workshop Association.”
“Today our region continues to flourish in the arts with artist groups such as the Princeton Artists Alliance and MOVIS,” says Somers, who has curated exhibitions of most of these artists.
Exhibitions will take place as follows. “Concentric Circles of Influence: the Queenston Press, The Woman Portfolio” at Princeton Public Library, January 8 through April 15, with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. For more visit: www.princeton
“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press Bicentennial Portfolio” at Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, January 18 through July 13 with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit: www.princeton
“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press Ten Crucial Days Portfolio” at Historical Society of Princeton, Updike Farmstead, January 18 through July 13, with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m.
For more information, visit: www.princetonhistory.org.
“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press Contemporary Works” at Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, Taplin Gallery, January 18 through March 8, with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit: www.artscouncilof
“Left of Central: TAWA, Artworks and Art in the Capital Region” at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College, January 21 through February 20, with a reception Saturday, January 25, noon to 2 p.m.For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery
“Artists of Roosevelt” at New Jersey State Museum, February 15 through May 25. For more information, visit: www.statemuseum.nj.gov
“America: Through Artists’ Eyes” at New Jersey State Museum, October 25, 2014 through April 5, 2015. For more information, visit: www.statemuseum.nj.gov
The PNC Foundation is the generous Lead Funder for the 2014 Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press exhibitions at the Arts Council of Princeton, Historical Society of Princeton, and the Princeton Public Library.
The Arts Council of Princeton and The Gallery at MCCC are supported, in part, through a grant from the Mercer County Cultural & Heritage Commission, in partnership with the NJ State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.