Many students at the College seem to have the mistaken idea that there is nothing worth doing in Trenton. However, those few who venture inside the city further than Kat Man Du will find that there are unexpected cultural treasures within. For example, the art scene in Trenton is more vibrant than one might expect.
This week, stop in at Artworks, the Visual Arts School and Gallery, for a look at local artists’ work. Artworks’ “Faculty Focus” show began Sept. 5 in conjunction with Trenton’s First Friday, in which local artists show their work along the streets of downtown Trenton the first Friday of every month.
The exhibit represents the work of Artworks’ distinguished faculty members. The exhibit features 25 works from 11 faculty members and the media ranges from metal sculpture to oil painting to photography. Two Artworks faculty members, Sean Dembrosky, digital artist, and Kitty Hundley, sculptor, are College alumni.
One particularly striking piece is Stephen Kennedy’s oil painting entitled “Head Study (Misty).” Kennedy, a longtime faculty member, recently won the prestigious Woodmere Endowment Fund Memorial Prize sponsored by the Woodmere Art Museum.
Faculty members were invited to submit as many works as they wanted, according to Tanika Jones, Artworks business manager. The show, which runs until Sept. 30, reflects the diversity of artists that teach at the institution.
A non-profit organization founded over a decade ago in Princeton, Artworks is funded by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission as well as by private donors. In order to continue with its programs, Artworks relies on donations and registration fees for classes and other events.
For art majors and others, Artworks is a great place to view other artists’ work and to take classes with professional artists. “Artworks is a potent and necessary element of the art scene in Trenton,” Sean Dembrosky, Artworks digital arts teacher, said. “It gives artists and students the opportunity to learn from each other and share ideas.”
Besides offering classes in almost every medium imaginable, Artworks also provides one-time workshops, open studio time with a live model on Sundays, and a Second Sunday program in which parents and their children can work on projects together. During the summer, Artworks hosts a summer art camp for children at Princeton’s Terhune Orchards. Artworks is also a stop on the Trenton First Friday bus loop, which brings visitors to various galleries around the city for a night of art and culture.
For the remainder of the year, Artworks is planning more exhibits for its gallery. Opening on First Friday in October is “Only Human,” a show that includes work by a retired professor of sculpture at the College, Charles Kumnick.
“Artworks is a survivor,” Kumnick said. “In spite of the many ups and downs of inner city Trenton, budget highs and lows and cutbacks for all arts organizations, over the years they have maintained a viable quality profile for the education and exhibition of the arts.”
“Only Human” also features work by artists Susan Wilson, Pat Feeney Murrell and Frances Heinrich. After the show, the Trenton Artists Workshop Association will run the gallery, bringing more local talent to upcoming exhibitions.
Artworks is still accepting students for this semester’s registration, which began Sept. 16. Visitors can stop by to browse or sign up for a class at 19 Everett Alley. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call 609-394-9436 or visit artworksnj.org.