By: Yasleen Trinidad, February 27, 2016
When Olga Levina first came to Jersey City, she had one goal: to bring and create an artistic environment in a city where it has been long been missing. Located on Newark Avenue in Jersey City, The Jersey City Theater Center has given a home to local artists ready to show the world their potential.
Founder and director of JCTC, Olga Levina, emphasizes on the need of art as a means of unifying the community, stating, “Art is not only about entertainment, it is also about purpose.”
Levina and her husband, developer Benedetto LoPiccolo, reconstructed White Eagle Hall and Merseles Studio to create an economically friendly space for local Jersey City artists to work.
Since opening in 2014, JCTC has extended its doors to developing programs to match Jersey City’s diverse community. Programs such as JCTC Arts-4-All, JCTC ArtLab, and JCTC-KIDS, a programmed aimed at lower income children, has helped JCTC establish themselves into the region.
According to Northwestern University neuroscientist, Nina Krauss, art programs in U.S. public schools have been cut by about 80% since 2008, causing American children to miss out on key factors that strengthen their minds.
“Kids here are really learning the foundation and essence of art… even during poetry and classical music lessons… You can hear a pen drop, they love it!” according to Levina.
Local artists are also enjoying what JCTC has to provide to the art scene in Jersey City. From monthly performances and displays to free publicity, it has been a great way for artists to hone their skills and meet other artists on a budget.
Jennifer Roberts has been a Jersey City resident for the past 8 years and as an artist coming from Manhattan, finding a cost efficient work space made the transition difficult, until she found JCTC.
“It has been life altering.. It has put me in touch with other artists and just with events like JC-Fridays, has given me recognition and changed my painting life,” states Roberts.
According to JC Artist, the cost of studio space in Jersey City can cost anywhere from $250- $1000 a month.
Another local artist, Lucy Rovetto, who been renting a space in JCTC since they first opened in 2014, feels it has expanded her artistic abilities.
“I thought I was just coming here to be an artist… I fell into a relationship with these people and it felt great to be surrounded by different types of artists,” describes Lucy.
From creating an artistic environment for local artists to opening the minds of young children, JCTC has dedicated its space to helping the art community flourish in a town where it has been missing for a long time.
For more information about renting art space, please visit JCTC at jctcenter.org