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Re: Is that all for Victory Hall? - Arts venue will be school instead
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jc_insomniac wrote:
RIP Victory Hall. I hope Arthouse doesn't go anywhere, either.


I knew about Victory Hall closing but good news is there is a group looking for new/old digs to remain downtown and to support the arts, especially Art House and other groups using Victory Hall.

Another reason to show everyone how important Victory Hall is to the community and please come out to support the MusicFest for the Homeless, Art House Productions monthly poetry reading and the Victory Hall Art opening party this Friday, just 3 events taking place this week.

If JCListers care about Victory Hall, come to one or all of the above, please to show your support for the arts downtown.
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Posted on: 2007/1/29 3:46
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Re: Is that all for Victory Hall? - Arts venue will be school instead
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RIP Victory Hall. I hope Arthouse doesn't go anywhere, either.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 3:40
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Re: Is that all for Victory Hall? - Arts venue will be school instead
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BUMMER!! After the loss of 111 1st street Victory Hall was
the only LARGE space left downtown to have live music
and art in the same space. It will be missed.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 3:17
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Is that all for Victory Hall? - Arts venue will be school instead
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Is that all for Victory Hall?
Arts venue will be school instead

Ricardo Kaulessar -- Hudson Reporter -- Jan 28

The 103-year-old Victory Hall building on Grand Street, a venue for arts events in Downtown Jersey City, will morph this coming fall into a preschool affiliated with nearby Our Lady of Czestochowa (OLC) School on Luis Marin Boulevard.

Father Tom Iwanowski is the pastor of the OLC Church on Sussex Street whose parish includes the school and Victory Hall. Iwanowski said the school's preschool program, known as Little Harbor Academy, has seen tremendous enrollment growth in recent years projected to increase in the 2007-2008 school year. Victory Hall will be renamed Little Harbor Academy for the new school year.

"There will be some sadness to see Victory Hall no longer have the kinds of interesting arts and community-oriented events, but I think people understand that it's not be torn down for condos but will be for educational purposes," said Iwanowski.

The pastor said he broke the news around December to board members of Victory Hall, Inc., the non-profit organization formed in 2002 to organize and oversee the events in the building under a lease agreement with OLC.

Victory Hall Inc.'s lease runs out on Nov. 30 of this year, and the slate of classes and special events lasts until late June.

Last week board members and others who have enjoyed the use of the building also weighed in with sadness, yet understanding.

But the board members will be allowed to use the name "Victory Hall" for any future site they move into or build.

History of the building

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Victory Hall was built in 1904 as a social hall for the Elks Club, whose headquarters was on the corner of York Street and Marin Boulevard, where currently the OLC School is located.

In 1919, the OLC Parish bought the Elks headquarters and Victory Hall. In 1929, the Elks building was replaced by the present school and later, Victory Hall was remodeled and became a center for parish social events.

Iwanowski said last week that the first two floors of Victory Hall are already used for Little Harbor Academy's classes, but the third floor was designated for Victory Hall, Inc.'s use.

But the jump in the preschool's enrollment over the past two years has created the demand for more space.

"You have all this development here in Downtown Jersey City with new families moving in, which is a blessing for OLC," said Iwanowski. "But it's interesting since the reason Victory Hall became the community center that we now know is because there was less use when the parish's population decreased."

In 1998, residents living near OLC who were involved in the arts approached the parish on making Victory Hall a place for cultural and artistic events. Renovation work was done on the neglected hall. By 2000, Victory Hall, Inc. was formed and by 2002, it started gaining a reputation as a cultural center that hosted a wide variety of events.

Iwanowski helped to get the 501c 3 started and he still serves on their board. He said Victory Hall welcomed those without deep pockets to hold their events.

"Some people may not know this, but we only charged a nominal fee because of all various groups who have come to us to hold events in Victory Hall," said Iwanowski.

A victory to be found by all

K.K. Sexton has been on the board for the past four years at Victory Hall and served most recently as the curator of the exhibit "American Diaspora: Transformations in an Age of Uncertainty" held there last fall.

She sees the change in the building's use as positive.

"We are sort of looking at this as an opportunity for the board," said Sexton. "This lights a fire under us and it makes us even think on a bigger level."

Sexton said meetings to discuss finding a new space comparable to Victory Hall are forthcoming.

Andrew Hubsch, another member of the Victory Hall, Inc. Board said he is also enthusiastic about a new Victory Hall site.

"Because of our good reputation, we have been progressing on discussions with City Councilmen Steven Fulop and Mariano Vega and [City Planner] Bob Cotter on where we are going," said Hubsch.

Vega said he looks forward to helping the Victory Hall Board in any way to find a new locale.

"They have done great work in the last couple of years in promoting the arts in Jersey City and I want to see that continue," said Vega.

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com

Posted on: 2007/1/28 19:50
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