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Jersey Journal: Stories of pandemic hardships and struggling artists revealed for JC Fridays

It’s Winter 2020 and the holiday season is upon us. With all the changes we’ve faced this year, annual traditions have had to change as well. Larger gatherings have been minimized, and socializing has been relegated to phone and computer screens. With home as the place to be, you can celebrate the arts from home at Virtual JC Fridays on Friday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Zoom. Jersey City’s premiere quarterly arts festival will showcase a variety of happenings including visual art exhibitions, musical performances, art demonstrations, and studio tours from 23 participating artists and organizations. The event will also feature ASL interpreters and closed captions. Here are some of the events planned for the evening: For starters, the final JC Fridays of the year will feature a preview of the 2021 Art Fair 14C, in which the Art Fair 14C team will show off their new venue and discuss the coming changes for New Jersey’s only international art fair. Pro Arts Jersey City has produced a collection of members’ artwork and writings for “575 Can You Haiku?” Up to 40 artists contributed to this project, creating a soft cover catalog representing a collection of art from the non-profit group that features over 150 emerging and professional artists throughout New Jersey and New York. With an exhibition on view in the Lemmerman Gallery from Dec. 3 to 16, Julie Marie Seibert’s Virtual Artist Talk for her current exhibit, Painted Stitches, takes place during JC Fridays. Painted Stitches pays homage to women of color who have worked towards socio-political shifts. Siebert will also offer a brief tour of her exhibit and take questions from the audience. Theda Sandiford will be hosting a Virtual Holiday Card Making Party, inviting viewers to get out their craft supplies and make holiday cards along with the artist during this live demonstration. Writer Ann E. Wallace and her daughter Molly were among the first Jersey City residents infected with COVID-19 at the dawn of the pandemic. She began chronicling their experience almost immediately. Eight months later, she is still struggling with post-COVID syndrome. Throughout her illness in April, when she was at her sickest, she had been writing a poem nearly every day. There will be a short poetry reading, followed by conversation between Ann and Jersey City’s Jayne Freeman this Friday. They will discuss Ann’s decision to record and share her experience with the virus, and her future plans for her work. SMUSH Gallery will be holding its curator’s tour, Occupation: Artists in 2020, a reflection of the careers and daily lives of the working and unemployed artists in 2020. Curated by Morgaine De Leonardis, the tour will feature photography, painting, drawing, collage, and digital painting by Gail Schulman, F. M. Yay, Anna Gichan, Joy Douglas, Shanel Edwards, Kelly Bartnik, and Joselia Hughes. To close out the event, Art House Productions will have a holiday sing-along with its own Meredith Burns, Courtney Little, Miranda Dahl, and Andrea McKenna. The entire line-up and registration link for JC Fridays can be found at Registration is free.



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