Great success!

Bayonne’s first arts festival brought out a crowd

With no threat of rain or any other major problems, the Bayonne Arts Festival—which the city hopes will be the first of many—drew crowds and a lot of laughs, as residents from throughout the city and people from beyond Bayonne, came to see what it was all about.
Concentrated near the Bayonne Community Museum at 9th Street and Broadway, the festival featured local food, some good rock and roll music, and fine arts on display inside the museum.
Kevin DeLaney, who has exhibited in previous shows at the museum, was stunned at the turnout.
“This is better than I ever saw it before,” he said. “This brought out a lot of people who haven’t come to shows in the past.”
DeLaney—known for his artwork on barroom napkins—displayed his latest work, his version of the classic John Lennon at the Statue of Liberty image made popular in the early 1970s.
“I wanted to do something with it,” he said. “A lot of people have commented on it.”
Indeed, the interior of the museum was abuzz with people stopping in to take a glimpse at what local artists had on display, spilling in from the street where members of the Ziggie Christie Band played their renditions of classic rock and roll.
City officials estimated that about 2,000 people attended the event.
“I absolutely loved the festival. Everyone enjoyed the music from the Ziggie Christie band,” said photographer Caryn LaGreca, who also had work on display in the museum. “Great food from local establishments. I had a great time watching local artists paint outdoors. The museum was filled with artwork, photographs, and drawings from many talented members of The Art Circle of Bayonne. It brought a smile to my face watching how much the kids loved creating art on the street with the chalk. It was such a great turnout.”
Third Ward Councilman Ray Greaves said he was delighted with Mayor Mark Smith’s efforts to increase access to arts in Bayonne.
“The Art and Music Festival is just another example of the mayor’s dedication to the arts and culture in our community,” Greaves said. “The Art Circle of Bayonne has held a few successful events at the Bayonne Museum in the past and we thought it would be a great opportunity to incorporate it into the business community.”
Greaves said local businesses attracted many visitors the night of the event, and all said it was a success and that they were looking forward to future events.
“It was our intention to attract business and create an atmosphere that families could come out and enjoy a summer night with food and entertainment,” Greaves said. “We accomplished both.”
While the Bayonne High School Jazz Band, which was scheduled to perform inside the museum, could not perform due to another engagement, people still flocked to the art show.
With the state’s taking over of Urban Enterprise Zone funding two years ago, street fairs previously held by Town Center Management Corporation uptown vanished. This event may serve as the foundation to replace and expand upon those shows.
Andrew Sharp, director of the Arts Circle, has been working since the beginning of the year to bring together some local talent and at the same time to raise awareness of the community museum as a viable venue for public exhibits.
Greaves credited Sharp and Municipal Services Director Joe Waks for setting up the event.
“It was their vision and fortitude that made it happen,” he said. “Both are accomplished artists that play vital roles in the arts community. We are fortunate to have so many local artists in this city that want to promote the arts and we have an incredible venue to allow their roles to be appreciated right here in Bayonne. Hopefully this is the first of many to follow.”

Al Sullivan may be reached at

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