Transcultural NJ Revisited - About Us

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About Us

Transcultural NJ Revisited, aspires to capture alternative aesthetic perspectives as practiced by underrepresented artists involved in charting unfamiliar subjectivities.  The initiative will serve as a springboard for a wide range of innovative art programs that reveal and celebrate the visual culture of the state.  The purpose is to find new footing in our collective examination of real-world issues, as well as to ‘crowdsource’ the information so that we have a fuller picture of artists’ practices and explore how they intersect with curatorial tenets.  

The statewide initiative is the outgrowth of the groundbreaking statewide project Transcultural NJ: Diverse Artists Shaping Culture and Communities, (2003-2005).  Fifteen years ago a consortium of 25 arts organizations, museums, galleries, and libraries, working jointly with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey developed a series of exhibitions and cultural programs including the production of an Emmy nominated film, and a catalogue highlighting numerous exhibitions featuring over three hundred artists.    

Transcultural NJ Revisited 2018-20 is structured similarly to the first initiative in 2005.  In Fall 2018 we will launch the initiative in a Forum to be held at the Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.  The aim of the Forum is to explore current aesthetic perspectives, studio practices, and decentered visual culture as it intersects with mainstream curatorial tenets.  Artists, museum leaders, curators, funders, community activists and gallery directors will have an opportunity to come together to explore the sweeping artistic, cultural and demographic transformation-taking place in New Jersey.   

The arts environment and societal concerns have shifted over the last 15 years since we launched the first initiative.  The state’s changing demographics has positioned New Jersey among the most diverse in the nation. There are new challenges facing our communities as we adapt to living together while practicing different religions, bringing different cultural traditions and sharing a myriad of aesthetic perspectives.  While there is some economic growth, nevertheless the state continues to face disparities in health, economics, and education.  Yet, we have increasingly diverse audiences whose expectations are to see performances and artwork produced by artists representing the diversity in the state.

While funding for the arts in New Jersey has decreased over the last several years, nevertheless, we’ve had a growth in the local and global art networking spaces.  Organizations such as Creative Placemaking, Art Pride NJ, and the emergence of galleries such as Gallery Aferro in Newark, FrontLine Arts in central NJ, Express Newark and the Paul Robeson Gallery, as well as sustained support for Aljira, Center of Contemporary Art have increased activities in the arts.  These non-profit organizations and the activism of art groups working in the shadows of their neighborhoods throughout the state are making a cultural impact in community life.  Increasing diverse audiences are seeking opportunities to view, discuss and reflect on the visual cultural production of artists of color, women, and new immigrant communities connected to global populations.

Steering Committee

Isabel Nazario, Associate Vice President, Universitywide, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Thomas Sokowloski, Director, Zimmerli Art Museum, RU-NB
Donna Gustafson-Senior Curator, Zimmerli Art Museum, RU-NB
Fernanda Perrone, Archivist & Senior Exhibitions Curator, A. Library, RU-NB
Anonda Bell, Curator, Paul Robeson Gallery, RU-NWK
Evonne Davis, Aferro Art Gallery, Newark
Victor Davson, co-director, Newark Express,RU-Newark, and former Director of Aljira, Contemporary Art Gallery, Newark 
Steven Kerns, Director, Newark Museum
Nancy Maguire, Associate Director of Exhibitions, Stedman Gallery
Margaret O’Reilly, Director, NJ State Museum
Cyril Reade, Director Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts

Regional Registry of Partner Museums, Galleries, & Non-Profit Organizations

Northern NJ

Aferro Art Gallery                                                                            Newark
Aljira, Center for Contemporary Art                                           Newark
Gateway Project NWK                                                                   Newark
Jersey City State University Arts Gallery                                  Jersey City
Montclair State University Art Galleries                                   Montclair
Newark Public Library                                                                   Newark
Newark Museum                                                                            Newark
New Jersey Historical Society                                                     Newark
Paul Robeson Art Gallery                                                             Newark
Alexander Dana, RU Library                                                        New Brunswick

Central NJ

Alexander Dana, RU Library                                                        New Brunswick
Alfa Art Gallery                                                                               New Brunswick
Arts Council                                                                                     Princeton
Front Line Arts/Combat Paper NJ                                             Branchburg
Kean University Art Galleries                                                     Union
Middlesex County College                                                           Edison
Middlesex County Cultural Heritage Commission                New Brunswick
Monmouth Museum                                                                    Lincroft
New Jersey State Museum                                                         Trenton
Perth Amboy Gallery & Center for the Arts                            Perth Amboy
Sculpture for Grounds                                                                  Trenton
Visual Arts Center of NJ                                                               Summit
Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum                                               New Brunswick

Southern NJ

Camden Historical Society                                                          Camden
Hunterdon Museum                                                                     Flemington
Steman Gallery                                                                              Camden