This weekend was the Artists’ Studio Tour in Jersey City and boy was it spectacular! IZ’s Elias Jimenez and his often on-and-off partner in solving crimes, Christina De Lucia (filling in for Dr. John Watson), set out to Jersey City’s First Annual Land of the Free-Form Arts and Music Festival to interview the very lovely Meghan McKee A.K.A. the woman behind the musical and artsy madness.
IZ: So for those that don’t know too much about you or anything at all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Meghan: Sure, I’m a sculptor, I am a WFMU DJ, I’m...oh my god, I’m a little bit of everything (laughs).
IZ: A Jack of all trades!...A Renaissance Woman!
M: Yea, I really am it’s kind of bad. I have my hands in a lot of cookie jars it seems. I work for a sculptor, I am a sculptor, I DJ around Jersey City, and also at WFMU so...
IZ: Wow, I guess you have your hands full then, huh?
M: (laughing) Yea.
IZ: What prompted you to start this event here?
M: Well, I live across the street, so I come out to this park everyday and I’ve been living up here for about 2 1/2 years, and from living up here you kind of see spaces that have so much potential, I mean look at this view! This view’s amazing! So I thought, this has got to be the backdrop to something, and the more I kept thinking about it the more I thought, “You know, we really need to have something up here.” Then one day someone had some music playing in the gazebo and because the acoustics were amazing I thought, what better a place than this to have a show. And because of that I wanted to go further and get some stuff happening, that plus as an artist and living up here, nobody comes to the Heights.
IZ: Yea, that sometimes is the impression.
M: This area is slated as a “River View Art District,” and it’s not; it hasn’t been zoned for it. That’s why we don’t have awesome things like coffee shops and stuff like that. In order for an area to develop, you gotta have good things, and we’re kinda being held back which sucks because there’s a lot of artists and musicians that live up here, too.
M: People are getting priced out of downtown, and they’re moving up here, and want to invest into the community, but how can you do it if there’s nothing to invest back into?
M: So, my thinking behind it was why not have something during the Artists’ Studio Tour, and I wanted to get as many dots on the map as possible, and have them be really good dots. You know, I could have my studio open, but why not bring more people up with music? I have the potential for it since I work at a radio station, and I have three other DJs curating a show with me, so why not?
IZ: So you said this is the first time you’ve done this, right? Did you run into any trouble getting it together?
M: We had four months to put this together; just me and my friend Tina, who runs this non-profit organization called Peace by Peace, through her I threw out these ideas of getting art going on in the Heights and she was like “YES! When can we start? We’re already a day late!” And it was perfect, we both have the same passions, we both have the same excitement, and so we’re like “Why not go do this? Let’s do something crazy.” I’m the one who kinda came up with the crazy festival end of it, and she was like “YES! Let’s do this!” you know, so she pushed me.
IZ: So tell me a little about what you have going on here, I noticed earlier that you guys were doing something with canvas’ off to the side, what’s all that about? Is that one of the events?
M: Well at around 6 P.M. I should be having these stencil street artists from Iran come by, and they kind of do a Banksy-style of stenciling. They came from Tehran, and they just came over...
IZ: Just for this!
M: (laughing) Yea! Especially for me! No, they’re living with my ending band The Yellow Dogs and they’re from Tehran as well, and now they live in Brooklyn. They’re pretty amazing.
IZ: Will you be doing this event again next year?
M: Yea, I want to do more. I want to be able to change some things up and tweak it, you know, but still the same idea and have it grow. And hopefully, through this, other people in the heights will realize, “You know what? Maybe we can start having art related things up here.”
IZ: Well Meghan, thank you for your time, and hopefully next year we’ll have Instigatorzine here selling some magazines, too!
You can see more of what Meghan’s got her hands into over at her site at: http://www.meghanmckee.com/
You can also tune in to WFMU if you wanna hear her DJ and while you’re at it, check out the website at: http://www.wfmu.org/
And make sure you all attend the 2nd Annual Land of the Freeform Arts and Music Festival in 2013!
Until next time! Later Instigator(s)!