Move Over Asbury Park

A small Jersey Shore town moves towards its vision as "an art, cultural and events mecca"

Last year, Keansburg's Borough Council (NJ) unanimously voted to develop its 2 miles of beach as a major venue for art, music and other cultural events. Last Fall, they gave the green light to the Burning Man organization's first regional 'Decompression Party' in years, but the event had to be cancelled due to post-Sandy shore restoration work by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Now that the restoration has doubled the beachfront area of this small Bayshore town, hELLO (the town's zip code when turned upside down and the name of the cultural development project, hello1.org) is again reaching out to producers in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.

Easily accessible by public transportation and with views of the NYC skyline, hELLO Playa offers more than just "an undiscovered beach 45 minutes from Manhattan". More importantly, hELLO Director Deme Spy emphasizes the town's open mindset and commitment to this vision.

"The town understands the responsible autonomy and creative freedom these events need," Deme explains, "I often hear New York event producers complain that onerous regulations and red tape have made finding venues in the city difficult or not worthwhile. When Keansburg approved activities like fireplay, overnight camping and art installations on the beach, the folks at Burning Man knew they had found a gem." "A contract and permits were approved within days" hELLO Assistant Director Theresa Lucerto added, "and the town, including all emergency services, were actively involved in planning and logistics."

Word has gotten out, and on June 8th Deme and Theresa accompanied Keansburg Mayor Arthur Boden as special guests of celebrated participatory art festival Figment (figmentproject.org) at Governor's Island (NY) . "We met a number of Figment's organizers--including Executive Producer David Koren and General Counsel Wylie Stecklow--and discussed plans for bringing significant cultural events like Figment to hELLO."

Referring to their Figment experience, Deme added "we got caught in the crossfire of a wacky, dress-up water fight, read love letters tied to a tree, burned messages on driftwood with magnifying glasses, and saw a number of other engaging and immersive exhibits. It was an unforgettable experience for all."

The hELLO team presented its concept model of how Figment might look on hELLO's playa (pictures attached), and stressed the newly expanded beach, Keansburg's intimate amusement and water parks, and the allowance of camping, fireplay and other activities.

All parties came away with a mutual appreciation of both the synergy and the potential of Keansburg's hosting of major cultural events like Figment.

For more information go to hello1.org or contact Deme: deme@hello1.org

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Please forward your publication of this news item to deme@hello1.org

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