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Artsy New Jersey

New Jersey has always been a colorful destination. Today, those colors might be more vivid than ever before.

Nicknamed the Garden State and celebrated for its shoreline, New Jersey has plenty of culture, and its arts scene is thriving. From traditional museums that showcase the breadth of international artwork to public arts displays and a remote craft village, this state offers a variety of arts and culture experiences to pique a variety of artistic interests.

In its namesake town, the Princeton University Art Museum takes an Ivy League approach to fine art. The Newark Museum boasts one of the world’s largest collections of art from Tibet. And in Jersey City, modern artists are making their mark in a renovated tobacco warehouse at Mana Contemporary.

The natural areas in the north and the south of New Jersey are enjoying art movements as well. The Peters Valley Craft School has brought world-class artisans to remote Sussex County, and the Artlantic movement is integrating public sculpture into the coastal landscapes of Atlantic City.


Ivy League Art

It would be silly to drive through Princeton without visiting the namesake school that has made the city famous. Not only is Princeton University, a luminary of the Ivy League, a top-notch academic institution, it also has a first-class arts and culture pedigree.

Groups that appreciate the fine arts should plan to visit the Princeton University Art Museum. The museum’s collection of more than 68,000 works spans the history of art from ancient times to contemporary movements. Highlights include work from the Mediterranean, Western Europe, China, the United States and Latin America. Many visitors particularly enjoy the galleries focused on Chinese painting and calligraphy, art of the ancient Americas and pictorial photography.

The performing arts thrive in Princeton, as well. Groups can take in shows at the Richardson Auditorium on campus or book tickets to one of the 200 annual performances at the McCarter Theater Center.

Sussex County Crafts

In the northwest corner of New Jersey, far from the crowds and the hustle of more urban areas, Sussex County has become a hub for arts in the region. At the center of that scene is the Peters Valley School of Craft.

The school was founded in 1970 in partnership with the National Park Service to encourage education and excellence in crafts. The organization reclaimed the historic buildings of a sleepy farm village called Bevans and adapted them to serve as gathering places for a community of artists, environmentalists and intellectuals.

Peters Valley School of Craft offers workshops and programming for youth and adult groups, as well as special studio programs, exhibitions and demonstrations. There are eight active studios at the school, where visitors can see crafters working in blacksmithing, ceramics, fiber, fine metals, photography and woodworking. The organization holds the annual Fine Craft Festival each September, which features work by more than 150 crafters from around the country.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.