PATERSON, NJ - The Art Factory in Paterson opened its doors to the public on Saturday to give visitors access to their brand new, open-space marketplace. The marketplace was reminiscent of something one might find in Brooklyn or Manhattan, a la Chelsea Piers, and featured pop-up shops that ranged from high-end footwear— to antiques —to photography. The magical retail experience is the brainchild of David and Donata Garsia, who privately own the entire Art Factory which spans far beyond the marketplace itself to provide artist studio spaces, television and film sets, and a venue for creative and unique events.
The Factory even boasts a whimsical trolley system that brought guests to the Falls and shuttled to and from a nearby parking facility on Market Street.
Upon entering the Marketplace, situated on the ground floor main-entrance to the Art Factory, guests were greeted with live music, including a stellar jazz performance by Paterson’s own Malcolm Pope and his ensemble. Pope is a great example of the beauty of The Art Factory, as not only does he play live music there, but The Factory is also home to his office, Elite Recording Studios. Upstairs, Pope records everything from a hip-hop opera—which he, himself scored—to audio books, demos, and voice-over recordings, all with the ability to produce, mix, and master right on site. Councilwoman Lilisa Mimms, a fan of Pope’s music offered, “His very soulful and engaging music makes you sing, dance, and cry all at the same time!”
The first pop-up one encounters is a shoe store featuring everything from Timberlands to Ugg boots. One young visitor, Estella, chose the black Uggs with bows, a reward for a golden report card. Her mother, Paterson poet Elizabeth Valverde, was there to well-wish. As vice-chair of the city’s newly minted Arts Council, she felt “this is such a special place, very dear to my heart, and this moment is a big one for Paterson. As an artist I am thrilled that this exists in my own back yard, and as a Patersonian I can’t wait bring friends and visiting artists here to experience it all.”
Valverde also served on Mayor Andre Sayegh’s transition team for the arts alongside Garsia, and added “Andre’s vision for an artistic renaissance is so en pointe, and one of the best parts of that transition team, beyond the important work of celebrating our rich artistic history and looking toward our cultural future, was the chance to meet David. He wasn’t just a teammate, he became a friend. I am over the moon for him and Donata, seeing their vision shine.”
One vendor, an antiques dealer named William Griffith who had prices so fair that nearly all shoppers squealed in delight, is a Paterson based purveyor himself, owning The Antique Loft in the old mill building at 93 Harrison Street. His pop-up featured unusual furniture, artwork, glassware, and home decor. The Art Factory was a perfect place to add some visibility to his business. The Antique loft even delivers locally, so shoppers were free to buy without worry.
A highlights of the event that generated quite the buzz was a fantastic mirror that at first looked vintage, and was larger than life. Quickly guests realized that it was actually a touch-screen photo booth! Unlike the boxy and unsightly photo booths at weddings and events, this was camouflaged as a gorgeous mirror. Visitors were able to take pictures and bring them home, all with no cost, courtesy of E34 Events. The Art Factory was a fitting setting to showcase such a creative new technology.
Finally, a cafe is situated in the back of the marketplace, where chef Jonathan Harris, also Patersonian, served up some of the finest and most elegant dishes. Plates included BBQ short ribs, his famous creamy polenta, and a buttery mushroom risotto. Harris, a classically trained executive chef, along with his sous chef Tyrone, is part of the Art Factory family. His warm smile was almost as inspiring as his food.
Visitors included Congressman Bill Pascrell, Freeholder T.J. Best, Bob Guarasci, and hundreds of artists, shoppers, and locals who were dazzled by the new space.
“The Art Factory is a perfect compliment to the Great Falls National Park,” Best said. “It marries Paterson’s industrial history to the creative spirit of its people.”
Anyone wanting to inquire about marketplace pop-ups can visit the Arts Factory at 70 Spruce Street or email them by clicking here.
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