Princeton resident Pete Abrams is never short on ideas. He turns large burlap coffee sacks into giant pillows. He takes tires discarded by a manufacturer and fashions them into attractive planters. He builds small dwelling structures from discarded pallets. And perhaps most of all, he loves to take vacant spaces and turn them into places where artists and community members connect.
His latest project is Art Attack, a pop-up art gallery and gathering space on Tulane Street at the corner of Spring Street and Tulane, in the space formerly occupied by YogaStream.
This Friday night, Art Attack will be open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.. The launch will feature the work of more than half a dozen local artists, including Princeton resident and native Chris Harford, Tom Sheeran, Silvere Boureau, Wilko, Jon ‘Lank’ Connor, Leon Rainbow, Will ‘Kasso’ Condry and others.
Art will be for sale at the pop-up gallery, and 30 percent of the proceeds will go to the S.A.G.E. Coalition, a non-profit that was founded in Trenton to create inner-city beautification projects. S.A.G.E. is a diverse group of artists, engineers, and musicians and teachers dedicated to the rebirth of Trenton and other struggling urban areas. The goal of the coalition is to remind people in economically depressed neighborhoods that unity, pride, creative problem solving and civic engagement can help neighborhoods thrive.
Art Attack is actually not a new project. Abrams hosted the first Art Attack on Palmer Square seven years ago, and donated a third of the proceeds to HomeFront. Art Attack was a pre-cursor to the popular annual Homefront ArtJam pop-up gallery on Palmer Square.
While arranging artwork on Tuesday afternoon, Abrams recalled the first Art Attack event. He approached David Newton of Palmer Square to pitch the idea of using an empty storefront for a pop-up gallery. Newton said no, but Abrams didn’t give up.
“I nagged him until he said yes,” Abrams recalled. “I can be annoying that way.”
The first Art Attack was a success, and a few thousand dollars was raised for HomeFront. Abrams was involved in other arts projects in Trenton for several years, and recently decided to revive Art Attack.
He convinced Judy King to allow him to use her vacant space after YogaStream moved to a new site next to the AvalonBay apartments on Witherspoon Street. Now he hopes to convince the band King’s husband plays in, Gravity Hill, to perform at the space.
Abrams envisions the space as a place where people can celebrate art, music and community. Planned events include live painting, dueling DJ’s, a bike church, and an art exchange — as long as the space remains available.
“We’ll experiment for a month and see what happens,” Abrams said. “There’s a lot of talent in this town that we can highlight here.”