Jersey City, NJ – The Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development (HCOCHA/TD), in honor of the centennial of the murals of the Hudson County Justice William Brennan Court House, listed on the National & New Jersey Registers of Historic Places, will be presenting two panels of art historians and art history scholars who will discuss the Jersey City landmark building’s magnificent architecture and decorative art on Thursday, February 3, 2011 and Tuesday February 8, 2011 from 6:00p.m.-8:00 p.m.
The panels will be conducted in The Theodore Conrad Rotunda of the Court House, located at 583 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306. They are free to the public but reservations are suggested for those wishing to attend.
The Brennan Court House opened to the public on September 20, 1910 but this remarkable structure was nearly lost to the community a half century later, when it was closed and slated for demolition in the 1960s to make way for a parking lot. In 1985, after nearly twenty years of stabilization and preservation, it was re-opened, largely due to the efforts of outraged local citizens. Panel discussions will include the power of civic activism; the unique qualities of the building’s beaux-arts architecture; and the outstanding museum quality murals, by five of the most influential American artists and illustrators of the early 20th century, which adorn the building’s interior.
"It has been an honor and a pleasure to highlight the centennial of our "Palace of Justice" as it was described back in 1910," said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. "For all of us who have the distinct pleasure that goes with getting to work in this building, its remarkable murals are a marvelous daily reminder of our rich history."
A jewel in the crown of the cityscape in Jersey City, the Hudson County Justice William Brennan Court House rivals all others of its kind throughout the nation as one of the finest public buildings of its era.
“We have invited scholars and historians of beaux-arts architecture and early 20th century mural painting to share their knowledge with our residents. It is our hope that these panels will inspire the public to treasure and preserve, not just this magnificent building, but other buildings owned by the public that serve as living examples of cultural history and memory of place”, said Ms. Lippman, Program Development Specialist for HCOCHA/TD. Unlike New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, also built in 1910 but demolished in 1966, the Hudson County Justice William Brennan Court House has continued to serve the residents of Hudson County as a working civil court house.
The panels are being held as part of the ongoing celebration of the building. The February 3rd panel focuses on the architecture and preservation of the building. Panelists are Ingrid Steffensen, Ph.D. in American Art with a focus on beaux – arts architecture; and John Gomez, M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University and founder of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy. The February 8th panel, which will address all aspects of the murals, consists of Cynthia Sanford, Ph.D American Art, CUNY who in 1985 curated an exhibition for the Jersey City Museum “Heroesi n the Fight for Beauty” about the artists of the Court House; Anne E. Samuel, Ph.D. Art History, University of Delaware, whose dissertation focused on Edwin Blashfield; Gina D’Angelo, Ph.D. American Art CUNY, whose talk will focus on Francis Millet, the supervisor of decoration for the Court house; and Mina Weiner, museum consultant/curator and editor of “Edwin Howland Blashfield, Master American Muralist”.
This free event will include light refreshments, which will be served starting at 5:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Meredith Lippman at email@example.com. For further information email Meredith Lippman or call 201-459-2070.
This program has been funded by a grant from the Department of State/New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC); Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive; the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development (COCHAH HCOCHA/TD)