In a continuing effort to bring more of the arts to Atlantic City, the Atlantic City Arts Foundation is commencing ARTeriors — a program that is hoped to be an ongoing event to “highlight the redevelopment and renewal of Atlantic City by inviting artists to create temporary installations within condemned buildings, properties slated for renovation or sale, and possibly outdoor spaces.”
“An artist friend was participating in something similar in Cleveland called ‘Rooms to Rent’ and wanted to do something here (in A.C.),” says Joyce Hagen, a consultant and former executive director of the A.C. Arts Center. “She couldn’t do it, but she inspired and encouraged me to go ahead with it. I’m grateful to her for planting the idea.”
The original plan behind ARTeriors was to create temporary art installations in, on and around condemned properties, thus giving them one last bit of life before being torn down. However, the project now extends to buildings and properties that are slated to be renovated, for sale and even locations outdoors.
“When I was thinking about it (ARTeriors), what came to my mind is that it was a perfect fit for Atlantic City,” Hagen says. “But then I thought, ‘why did it (the building) have to be condemned?’ I saw possibilities in buildings that were to be renovated, too.
“Not only would this give artists a different type of blank canvas, but it would give attention to the fact that there are buildings in Atlantic City that are being renovated.”
For the inaugural exhibit, four artists have been working on and creating installations in one building since Monday, Aug. 10. They will finish their work on Thursday, Aug. 13. While the art was being created, the space, which will undergo a major renovation process in the near future, was not open to the public. However, public viewings of the finished installations will take place noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16.
The artists involved — Monique Colon, Glynnis Reed, Lennox Warner and Valeria Marcus, all of whom are local — will be on-hand during the opening and closing days of the exhibit.
“Everything is being created by these artists for this space. It’s ‘pop-up’ art — isn’t that what they call it these days?” Hagen asks.
“I was able to take them into the space with the building’s owner very early on in planning,” says Hagen of Mark Callazzo of Alpha Funding and The Iron Room, who also owns the building at 121 S. Tennessee Ave. that once housed a former pizza shop and will now showcase ARTeriors. “It was filled with all kinds of wood and sheet rock and door knobs. I thought that the artists might want to use them, so a lot of those items will now be incorporated into the artwork. There were still two pizza ovens in there that Lennox (Warner) wanted for his piece — he’s creating a disco with them complete with strobe lighting and music.”
“I may not have artistic ability, but I do have an appreciation for the arts,” Callazzo says. “I think that the arts are going to help in the revitalization of Atlantic City and I'm happy to help out this arts organization.
“I'm excited to see what they can make of this space.”
Hagen has had relationships with most of the aritsts for years, including Marcus, a modern artist who is painting a mural on the building’s facade.
“Art is the foundation for everything. It makes the world beautiful,” Marcus says. “It (ARTeriors) is a great way to bring art to the community — especially for A.C., which needs something uplifting at the moment.”
Hagen says that aside from the artists’ installations, there will be a public participation exhibit titled “On the Line” where guests can hang photos and sayings all about Atlantic City on a clothesline.
Additionally, the South Jersey Poets Coalition will create visual art expressions with words and conduct poetry readings during public hours.
But after Aug. 16, Hagen warns, the exhibit will be gone forever.
Marcus, who will only divulge that she is working on “something bright,” doesn’t seem to mind that her work won’t be a permanent fixture in town.
“It’s fine that it’s temporary,” she claims. “That’s the way it works around the world. You create art, then you destroy it.”