SUMMIT, NJ - The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey's gallery space will, this August, be temporarily transformed its into a laboratory for social practice via a short-term residency program -- taking place during the weeks of August 6 and August 13 -- featuring four artists involved in the contemporary art movement known as 'socially engaged art'.
Work created with this philosophy in mind focuses on collaboration between the artist and individuals, communities, and institutions and can take many forms. For example, New Jersey artist Ruth Borgenicht has created work in the past that plays with the concept of communal dining by offering unconventional eating vessels that encourage cooperation between diners. Borgenicht will be involved in the Art Center’s program, as will Diana Heise (from Missouri and Vermont), Dana Hemes (from New York), and Jeffrey Meris (from the Bahamas).
During the two-week residency period, the artists will also be available to speak with members of the public about their individual practices, and participate in a free “Garden Party” event on August 18, from 1-3 p.m., where the artists will interact with both the public and campers attending the Art Center’s "Summer Wonder Camp."
“We’re very excited about this entirely new endeavor for the Art Center,” says Mary Birmingham, curator at the Visual Arts Center. “The artists will use their time here to collectively discover and harness the wealth of available resources at the VACNJ and its surrounding community. We are calling this exercise a ‘laboratory’ because it is experimental, with no predetermined outcomes. The artists will develop various projects and will interact with the kids and teens attending our Summer Wonder Camp, their families, and the surrounding community of Summit.”
In addition to working at the Art Center, the artists will attend the Summit Farmers Market August 13, where they will explore ideas about community and sustainability, utilizing local produce and products.
The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is located at 68 Elm Street. Gallery hours are: Monday to Wednesday and Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult and children’s group tours are available .For more information, visit artcenternj.org.