Planet Princeton

The ninth annual HomeFront ArtJam kicks off Friday

ArtJam kicks off this Friday at 19 Hulfish Street. The reception, which is open to the public, runs from 5 to 9 p.m. File photo.

A storefront on Palmer Square has been transformed into a pop-up art gallery that brings together community members, professional artists, and undiscovered artists who have experienced homelessness.

ArtJam, now in its ninth year, features a rotating collection of art for sale. Offerings include paintings, pottery, glasswork, jewelry, and hand-sewn items from SewingSpace, one of HomeFront’s art programs. Visitors can shop for one-of-a-kind pieces while supporting aspiring artists and HomeFront’s therapeutic art program, ArtSpace.

More than 100 area artists are participating in ArtJam this year,  including Judith Brodsky, Jon Sarkin and Cynthia Groya. Works from these well-known artists will be displayed alongside the works of HomeFront clients who have limited means but enormous talent.

“If you visit, you can feel good twice,” says Ruthann Traylor, director of ArtSpace and the Sewing Space.  “You can buy art you’ll love, and you can feel good that the money you spend is going to a cause you can believe in — helping homeless families get back on their feet.”

Since its founding 27 years ago, HomeFront has worked to end family homelessness in Central New Jersey by breaking the cycle of poverty. HomeFront provides supportive housing and social services to very low-income households where people are either homeless or at a high risk of becoming so.

ArtSpace often opens doors to new ways of thinking for HomeFront clients, fostering creativity, self-esteem, and confidence, and helping to set them on a path to achieve independence. The artists learn to reveal their voices and feel joy in their accomplishments. Paired with training in art, they learn entrepreneurial skills as their work is admired and purchased by others. ArtJam is one such venue for the artists to exhibit and sell their work.

Sharon A. is one of the HomeFront client artists whose works will be featured at ArtJam. Two years ago, her life changed when she had four aneurysms while out shopping. She slipped into a coma, lost her job, and was evicted from her apartment. Sharon then found HomeFront, which gave her a fresh start and put her on the path to self-sufficiency. During her time with HomeFront, she found her creative voice and developed her painting skills in the ArtSpace program. She has produced more than 30 paintings to wide acclaim. Many of her works have been featured in gallery exhibits around the state and have been purchased by individuals and local businesses.

Celebrate the opening of the 9th annual ArtJam at a reception on Friday, April 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. ArtJam’s pop-up gallery is at 19 Hulfish Street on Palmer Square in downtown Princeton. Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, noon to 6 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is open from Friday, April 13 to Sunday, April 29.

For a full calendar of ArtJam events, visit the HomeFront website.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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Sun 21

Infant – Toddler Class

September 21 @ 10:00 am - December 21 @ 12:00 pm
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Trenton Art Puzzle

October 5 @ 11:00 am - October 26 @ 5:00 pm
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Author Sue Hallgarth Visits the Princeton Public Library

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A Raisin in the Sun

October 19 @ 8:00 pm - October 28 @ 5:00 pm
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Apple Days Harvest Festivals at Terhune Orchards

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2nd Annual Fall Fest on Palmer Square

October 21 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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89th annual Phillips’ Mill Art Exhibition

October 21 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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