UPDATE — The Ribbon Cutting for the new ValleyArts Firehouse Gallery & Studio Lofts previously scheduled for Tuesday October 30 at 11 am has been POSTPONED due to Hurricane Sandy. A new date for this event will be announced after the storm.
A beautifully renovated firehouse will take center stage in the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange. Beginning today, October 27, a week-long program of special events will commemorate the opening of the new ValleyArts Firehouse Gallery and Artist Lofts at 580 Forest Street in Orange — a major milestone in the growing Valley Arts District.
The highlight of the week will be the opening exhibition for the new Firehouse Gallery featuring “The Art of Dan Fenelon” on Friday, November 2 at 6 PM. Influenced by tribal art, street art and modernism, Fenelon’s works have been featured in more than twenty solo shows in galleries from New York City to Los Angeles. He is known for his large, exuberant murals and paintings, including a 1,500 square foot mural he designed in 2011 to welcome the Dalai Lama to Newark. Two of his murals are pemanently installed in the Valley Arts District.
ValleyArts Inc. will curate and manage the new Firehouse Gallery and is coordinating the Firehouse Opening Week events. ValleyArts Inc. has been active since 2008 and is the arts service organization for the 15-square block neighborhood in Orange and West Orange known as the Valley Arts District. The District, formerly a center of hat making and other industries, was severely impacted by the loss of manufacturing jobs over time. Now artists creating in a variety of media are being encouraged to live, work and exhibit in the Artist Loft spaces above the Firehouse Gallery.
The old firehouse was home to horse drawn fire wagons in 1905. It has been lovingly restored by HANDS Inc. (Housing and Neighborhood Development Services), a local non-profit community development organization that focuses on redeveloping vacant homes and buildings. Though independent, the work of ValleyArts Inc. is closely allied with the work of HANDS Inc.
Besides the opening of the new Gallery and Artist Lofts, the week’s activities will include live music, theater and dance performances, a fashion show, classes for the public and educators, and exhibits by acclaimed artists. For more information, visit Valley Arts NJ.