Jersey City Arts


Jersey City Art School was founded in Fall of 2009 by artist Thomas John Carlson as a way to provide an extra opportunity to young artists as well as non-artists to grow their talents and understanding of art. In an interview with the Jersey Journal, Carlson stated, “I made the decision to start a long-term lease on a storefront on 5th Street that would be my studio for painting and a place to teach private classes, similar to my old studio that I had in Jersey City, Hamilton Park Studios. I realized that the space would be perfect for a much larger operation, so the school began.” This school added to the already growing art culture of Jersey City and added to the artistic atmosphere of downtown Jersey City.

 Credit: The Jersey Journal (Brendan Carroll)

The school offers different workshops and 6 or 8 week classes from abstract art painting, oil painting, portraits, and even digital photography. Courses for graphic novels and comic art and character design are also provided for adults. JCAS offers many opportunities for non-artists as well. On Wednesday’s nights they host a figure drawing class for beginners and experts for $15 price. On Sunday’s they offer a brunch program called Brunch N’ Brush which provides a two-hour art experience while also including a brunch buffet. For children, drawing and painting tutorials and techniques are taught in its Kids Academy class. The art school also began hosting its first annual JCAS Jubilee which began last year on May 9th. The party featured music from local talent and food from neighboring restaurants like JC Pop-Up and GP’s restaurant. While a date hasn’t been set yet for this year and big celebration is expected to take place.

Credit: Jersey City Art School Facebook

JCAS has a few different locations, all in Jersey City. The Figure Drawing and Brunch N’ Brush are all located at 29 McWilliams Place. There is also another location which features the 313 gallery located on 313 3rd st. which it calls its “sister location.” Its former location, while no longer its primary locale, will still be used in the future, according to Carlson.

Credit: Jersey City Art School Facebook

Author’s Take: It’s quite surprising how much the school has grown in its five short years. The success shows the ambition of everyone involved. It’s great that the school allows all ages to join its classes from children to seniors, not only targeting experienced artists but welcoming inexperienced artists as well. From a larger perspective, it does affect the art scene of the city and the overall culture of Jersey City. It’s part of what gives the city its uniqueness. In the interview with the Jersey Journal, Carlson sums it up well, stating, “I appreciate the people here and the pace more. I also feel like I have made a group of friends here some newer, some older that keep my life always interesting.”

Credit: Jersey City Art School Facebook


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