If it’s late January, it must be the Snow Ball. Every year at this time, Christine Goodman, founder and executive director of Jersey City’s Art House Productions, throws a fundraiser at McWilliams Place on Hamilton Park to thank supporters, artists, and the local community and to help fund the organization for another year.
“It’s the main fundraiser for the year,” Goodman said. “It raises 10 to 15 percent of our annual budget. We’re hoping to raise crucial funds for programs for the year.”
“Every dollar counts.” – Christine Goodman
“It’s important that the event stays accessible for people who support our programs,” she said. “We’re really committed to making sure our guests have a fabulous time at the Snow Ball and that they get a lot of bang for the buck.”
One couple who had a fabulous time were Beth Achenbach and Catherine Hecht. “I love the Snow Ball,” Achenbach said. “We’ve been going for the past four or five years, and it gets better each year. Plus we love to support Art House Productions in whatever they do.”
Throughout the year, Art House Productions promotes the visual arts, theater, open mic nights, poetry, music, a video lab, JC Fridays, and much more.
The fourth annual event honored Maryanne Kelleher, director, Jersey City Division of Cultural Affairs. The event lived up to its billing as “Black Tie Creative.” Folks wore everything from jeans and sneakers to ball gowns, tux, gorilla costumes, and crazy hats.
Addressing the crowd in a canary yellow gown, Goodman thanked everyone who attended, especially given the shakiness of the economy.
She also gave a nod to the folks who donated food and beverages, including Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, The Embankment, Made with Love Artisan Bakery and Café, River Horse Brewing Co., and Skinner’s Loft. Food included cheese, bread, skewered cheese and tomatoes, sandwiches, pasta and cheese, crab cakes, baby back ribs, and a huge assortment of cakes and cookies.
There was lots of wine and champagne, and cold beer flowed freely from kegs provided by River Horse, a Lambertville, New Jersey brewery.
Guests could bid on a wide array of artwork and products donated by local artists and business people. Goodman said the offerings included a signed script from the television show Mercy and some Kiss memorabilia. Providing musical backdrop to the festivities was the local Eldad Tarmu Jazz Ensemble. Those who stayed for late night dancing enjoyed the musical artistry of DJ George “Soul” Fernandez.
Festive gift bags included items donated by Liberty Science Center, Dan Levin, D.E.E.N. Magic Cleaning Service, Lee Sims Chocolates, and Lollibomb.
Supporting all this is a “struggle,” Goodman said. “Every dollar counts. All of us are really trying to have staying power, to really dig the roots deep and make sure we’re able to keep doing our programs for many years to come. To help accomplish that is our hope moving forward.”
Kate Rounds can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.