Culture Crawl 2019: Artists, Musicians, Magicians and More
This year’s Culture Crawl was one you did not want to miss! As you strolled about on this gorgeous September day, there was something for everyone at this arts and music festival! Artists, dancers, impersonators, musicians, magicians and more tantalized festival goers with their talents!
The Queer Space, sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, hosted a repeat visit of Harmonica Sunbeam’s Drag Queen Story Hour as well as art activities and a special project, Youth Out Loud, where LGBTQ community members shared their coming out experiences through art.
Main Street’s Latin Party at Cubanu and the Litehouse’s Four Elements of Hip Hop energized this central street with music, dance and live art! Cherry Street’s businesses displayed their passion for their craft. Atelier Rosal hosted a curated conglomerate of artisans while The Wannabes illustrated the high quality of Hip Hop dance instruction that will be taught at The Hive Studio opening soon in the Gramercy building.
“This is a great event because it uses art to showcase the businesses of Rahway’s downtown.” commented Rahway’s Mayor, Raymond Giacobbe.
More shopping was available to the crowds at the Vendor Village while select bands played on the Wizdom Media Main Stage of Music at the Rahway Train Station Plaza.
Sponsored by Northfield Bank and hosted in their parking lot, ACP Arts brought ideas, thoughts and feelings to life through music, dance and spoken word. Featured Artists RADI, Letitia, Rob Hylton, John Burke, Myster E, James Ellerbe and Etcetera drew audiences from all over to hear what they had to say at What’s the Word at Culture Crawl.
Ladies were asked to sit down… and relax at the OMG Pop Up Lounge for Women and Girls. Transforming the Arts District Park with whimsical decoration, guests were invited to take in dance performances by Amber Sol Bellydance and Rangamandala, or engage with illustrator Nina Mata or Shakira Johnson, founder of The OMG Tea Party.
As in past years, this year’s festival was friendly towards four legged friends, too! Witty’s Fine Wines and Liquors sponsored the Pints and Paws Beer & Wine Garden and Pop Up Dog Park. We hope to make this a repeat performance!
Steps away, at the Hamilton Stage the Rahway Reel Short Film Festival presented Jersey Fresh!! A bushel assortment of tasty flicks from New Jersey filmmakers! Curated by Lisa Vandever, these short films played every hour with a Q& A with the directors at the end of the day.
Bellydance, Contemporary, Step, Afro-Fusion, Kuchipudi (a traditional Indian dance), and Hip Hop performances showcased the cultural tapestry surrounding Rahway. Workshops by selected groups encouraged festival attendees to take part in the art! Young percussionist, PJ Pagan, illustrated how he got his name “Little Mr. Rhythm” by playing solo in addition to partnering with dancers Amber Sol Bellydance and Rahway Dance Theater’s adult dance group.
This year dance could not be contained in just one space and the movers were set free throughout the downtown and encouraged to improve or freestyle with festival musicians. Performing for the first time at Culture Crawl, ReFrame Dance Theatre created a custom, rain or shine, choreography on and around the train trestles at the corner of Irving and Cherry.
Occupying the corner at Irving and Seminary, Earl’s Cuts and Curls entertained audiences with the Earl’s Girls Vaudeville Spectacular which included Rahway’s resident magician, The Great Carlini. Curators Dana Holland and Tajiana Spann transformed this area around The Gallery Space with food trucks, music and art into something truly spectacular!
“This is the third year that the festival has been on a Saturday with longer hours. As curators, looking at the entire downtown, I think the Rahway Arts + Business Partnership created something really special this year and we were able to take more chances with the format,” remarked Ann Marie Williams, Managing Director of the RABP.
View photos of the event here.