Art flourishes in former industrial complex

Manufacturers Village Artist Studios recently welcomed the public into their creative studios.

Yvonne Duck standing by her artwork

Located in an 1880s industrial complex at 356 Glenwood Ave., East Orange, the studios are contained in three buildings, each with three floors, some with their own entrances.

The building has more than 65 artists’ working spaces. The annual Open Studios weekend was a free event designed to fuse art, architecture, community, and inspiration. The community was able to meet the artists, view their work, and purchase original pieces.

Meet the Artists

Yvonne Duck is a sculptor, printmaker, and photographer who works with natural found elements and juxtaposes them against man-made objects. She says her work has a “political air—subtle or obvious.”

Tatiana Kazakova works in all medias, mostly acrylic. Her latest series is “Grief and Remorse.” She said she began studying art when she was just 6 years old in Moscow. She worked as an artist in Russia and Germany. When she first came to the United States, she worked as a graphic artist, but is now a full-time artist.

Elina Rosenblum is from the Ukraine, currently living in Verona. Mosaics are her main passion. She also works with upcycled broken china and upcycled unwanted ceramic tiles. She gets inspiration from “all over.”

“I see what other people do,” she explained. “It’s great.”

Ai Sogawa Campbell is an artist from Japan, living in Bloomfield. She creates abstracts in mixed media. Her message is “exploring to control uncontrollable things.” She’s
inspired by Zen Buddhism—the past, present, and future as one eternal moment.

Cynthia Vaughn, of East Orange, said, “My art represents my experience.”

When she was younger, she was a musician and has painted many music pieces. She also has five children and grandkids, so she likes to feature children in her art. “Street scenes, African culture, and abstracts…all over the place,” she said.

Vaughn works with oil and acrylic. She also designs denim jewelry which she finds therapeutic and relaxing. Her advice to young people interested in a career in art is, “Do it!” She paused and added, “Use your imagination. Be creative. You can do other things and still have art as an outlet. Go for it.”

Alex Schoenberg is from Colombia, lives in Bergen County, and has a background in architecture. She was trained old school—when architects learned on a drafting table. She uses that practice in her art. “Take rules and break them. Use every trope of architecture possible. It’s about different ways of seeing,” she said.

Leslie Adler, a former Manhattan resident living in Ramsey is a painter who had a career in graphic arts.

“Nature is my go-to,” she said. “Nature is made of cells, like we are.” She sees industrial and nature as a reflection of each other. Her work honors nature.

George Benzani is from Manhattan. His work illustrates the disconnection between digital and real, and people trying to escape real life because of digital presence. His works scans the human body and shows intimate moments, but still disconnection. “Void, undefined, floating, changing landscape,” he said.

His series “Tension” represents the times we’re living in. The work is full of tension, made visually appealing for the audience as he challenges himself as an artist.

Gail Winbury is an artist from Westfield. Her recent work is about uncertainty and unknown, the concept of the void—the Japanese philosophical concept “Ma.” She uses oil and a pigment stick, which she described as an “incredibly creamy crayon.”

Lauren Portada is a painter who uses collage. She paints her immediate surroundings. Recently moving from Brooklyn to West Orange, she was feeling isolated. She soon learned that East Orange has “a wonderful art scene.”

Christine Romanell is fascinated with geometry and non-repeating patterns. Her work expresses her fascination with infinity.

Cheryl Hochberg said, “This year’s work is based on places I go.” The Boonton resident spends a lot of time in the west—Wyoming and Arizona. She feels no places are more beautiful. Her woodcuts tell the story of places she’s been.

Cheryl Hochberg

Tracey Luckner, from Summit creates lyrical abstract landscapes. She calls her art “an emotional component” and sees it as “uplifting, calming, inspired by landscape.” She uses mostly acrylic, oil, and mixed media.

Hanna von Goeler of Montclair had a massive structure called “Flood and Fire Fugue for Five Tubas.” Real tubas were used, as well as a dead tree found in Montclair. A fountain in one of the tubas represents floods. Over the summer her cottage in Nova Scotia was almost destroyed by the fires, but it began raining before the fires got to the cottage.

Inspired by Mozart’s “Requiem,” von Goeler explained that even though the piece was about death, it was one of Mozart’s most beautiful pieces. The tubas are “sort of beat up, but still trying to make music” and “facing each other, projecting without listening.”

Intrigued by the blackened trees she saw in Nova Scotia, von Goeler used charcoal to represent charred wood, giving her work a “sad, but black velvety quality.”
To learn more about Manufacturer’s Village Artists, visit:

Ai Sogawa Campbell