ATLANTIC CITY — Wheels have been in motion for quite a while regarding Atlantic City’s vision of creating an arts district, and a stronger presence in town for such cultured pursuits as painting and sculpture, theater and dancing, classical music and more.
Recently a partnership between the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) and Atlantic City Alliance (ACA) announced the co-funding of the ARTLANTIC series, with the first major installation in the five-year, $13 million series (overseen by noted art curator Lance Fung) debuting last month at the former site of the Sands casino. The series is intended to transform vacant lots throughout the city into works of art.
On Tuesday, Dec. 18, another major development unfolded when it was announced that the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, the CRDA and Stockton’s Noyes Museum of Art commemorated a partnership in establishing an anchor for the Arts District in Atlantic City. Finalization of the alliance took place at Dante Hall in Atlantic City, and included Stockton College president Herman Saatkamp, CRDA executive director John Palmieri, and Noyes Museum executive director Michael Cagno.
The college and the CRDA agreed to designate a 16,000-square-foot area of arts retail space on the first floor of The Wave parking garage on Mississippi Avenue — a facility financed by the CRDA that opened in March. The CRDA also agreed, according to a media release, to finance modification of the space for the project at a cost not to exceed $2 million. The Noyes Museum will lease and manage the project, which will feature a ceramics studio, gallery space and individual studios where local artists will be able to create their works of art and offer them for sale to the public.
”We could not ask for better, more qualified partners than Stockton College and the Noyes Museum in developing this cornerstone of Atlantic City’s Arts and Culture District,” said Palmieri. “The success of the Atlantic City Arts District requires the expertise and proven track record and the economic lift which our public-private partnership brings to this development. This is exactly what the Governor’s Tourism District legislation [signed by Gov. Chris Christie (pictured left) in Feb., 2011, empowering the CRDA to oversee the then newly created A.C. Tourism District] is designed to do.”
All parties involved expressed confidence that the project would serve as a major step toward bringing the arts and cultural district to fruition.
“This project represents an historic moment in Atlantic City’s continued resurgence,” said Saatkamp. “Stockton is pleased to have contributed — first with our Carnegie Center and last year with the Dante Hall Theatre, home to the Bay Atlantic Symphony. We are engaged with the CRDA in creating this beautiful new art gallery and retail space that will bring the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton College to the district. We look forward to helping establish an Arts District that is worthy of Atlantic City.”
“We’re excited to bring a touch of the Noyes Museum of Art to Atlantic City,” Cagno said. “We’re very much looking forward to making a significant contribution to the new Arts District, and this project promises to add to the richness of Atlantic City’s many attractions.”
Future goals for the Arts and Culture District, according to the release, include affordable housing to artists and their families, studio and exhibit space featuring various forms of public art, and an eclectic mix of retail storefronts.