Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 2:49 PM
SOMERVILLE — Build it and they will come, and that is precisely what has fueled the energy and commitment of business owners and volunteers behind the creation of Arts on Division, an event created in collaboration with the Downtown Somerville Alliance and the Borough of Somerville.
The week-long cultural celebration will showcase fine art, music, dance, theatre and literary arts in “Pop-Up” art galleries on Division Street from Saturday, May 14, through Saturday, May 21.
Two storefronts at 11 and 15 Division St. will feature art by more than 40 New Jersey artists.
The exhibitions will include an array of fine art media such as paintings, mixed media, sculpture, photography, printmaking and ceramic art. The galleries also will serve as performing art venues hosting such activities as dramatic readings by Playwrights Theatre, literary arts activities, dance by the Hillsborough-based group Kids on Tap, and salsa presented by Indigo Ballroom.
Participating artists hail from across the state, including many from Somerville and its surrounding communities.
Somerville resident Sandra Benscoter has been working in clay for decades. One of her ceramic vessels will be on exhibition in the Pop-Up gallery at 15 Division Street, along with other ceramic artists from the New Jersey Artists Guild. Artists from the Printmaking Center of New Jersey, Raritan Valley Art Association, and Somerville and Immaculate High Schools will be featured throughout the week.
Joan Needham, a multi-disciplinary artist based in Princeton, will exhibit several of her large sculptures.
The large oil paintings by Todd Doney will illuminate the power and beauty of nature. Doney says, “The landscape genre investigates painting’s ability to record the authenticity of the real world and to communicate the artist’s experiences in nature.”
In contrast to Doney’s realistic work, Bedminster resident Grant Clark works intuitively to create large, colorful abstract paintings.
The 2nd Arts on Division coincides with downtown Somerville’s “Restaurant Week” and the annual “Somerville Sampler Day” on Saturday, May 14.
Division Street will be closed to traffic from South Street to West Main Street on May 14 for live music on two stages.
In addition to music and indoor art exhibitions, a demonstration of traditional Japanese pottery known as raku will be on tap for the day. Children also will have a chance to make handmade greeting cards using monoprint techniques offered by the Printmaking Center of New Jersey. New York Times bestselling author Cathy Cash Spellman will discuss her upcoming books.
“Somerville has long been home to fabulous restaurants and quaint shops,” remarked Mayor Brian Gallagher. “Somerville, the county seat, is the cultural center for Somerset County and downtown to the entire region. The borough is the perfect location for a future arts district on Division Street, and the district will serve as a ‘cultural gateway’ drawing visitors to art galleries and performances, and onward to Main Street,” he added.
The mayor has teamed up with other elected officials, the Downtown Somerville Alliance, The Printmaking Center of New Jersey, local business owners, artists, and members from the community to form the Greater Somerville Arts Initiative. Volunteer members of the initiative have worked for months planning this week-long cultural celebration. The mission of the group is to foster and support a dynamic and diverse arts presence and to ensure that artists and arts organizations are valued as essential to the character, sense of community and economic vitality of the greater Somerville region.
The Downtown Somerville Alliance and the borough are co-sponsors of the 2nd Arts on Division event. Visit findsomerville.com for more information about participating artists, dates and times of performances, or call 908-541-1600.
All events are free and open to the public.