An Afternoon at MANA Contemporary in Jersey City

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Stroll Through The Hood


My wonderful neighbor and new friend Elena (left) volunteers at Mana Contemporary here in Jersey City and told me that I’d had to go and visit it with her. She offered our friend Kim and me a private tour and so we did. We had a great afternoon – three artists – different fields: an actor, a furniture designer and mixed media artist – spending time together. Now, what is Mana Contemporary? Let me explain this cluster of warehouse buildings in the middle of my city or better Wikipedia explains:

“Mana is a cultural center that opened in May 2011. It provides services, spaces, and programming for artists, collectors, curators, performers, students, and community. It includes artist studios, exhibition spaces, and storage and on top an extension of the fine arts transportation department of Moishe’s Moving Systems.”

And so it could go on. Let me show you a video by Mana Contemporary from last year explaining some planned renovations- some of them already nowadays done – and you get a little sense of how huge and amazing that place is:

Future Renovations at Mana Contemporary from Mana Contemporary on Vimeo.

So – as said we arrived at this amazing building and Elena took us on a tour  and we started with this exhibition by Milton Resnick :


The scale of the work and the rooms, the light – just incredible – I am just posting some pictures to tell the story- but in truth- they do not do justice at all- you gotta go!!


Be still my heart at the texture and brushstrokes of Milton Resnick. There is so much energy involved in this acidic color palette used . Love it.





Love how his signature is part of the painting .



Left and right to the gallery you have huge storage space for art work …and you walk past a dance rehearsal space shared by Karole Armitage’s and Shen Wei’s troupes, with a glass wall – because one of the immanent and important things happening at Mana is that you can see the process, visit the artists in their studio, you as a viewer can see the art take shape and that makes the whole thing even way more interesting and exciting. For the artists this is a great opportunity as they come out of their studios and eat together in the Mana Restaurant and talk to each other and can collaborate – what a dream …come true! There is nothing more inspiring and sparking in your work as an artist then the discussion and time with other artists. 


A wonderful Judy Chicago exhibition – here a prototype of one of the Dinner Plates that is part of her installation The Dinner Party which is on permanent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.




Here is a part of her triptych Rainbow Man Composite


We passed the Richard Meir Model Museum, which I would love to see one time


Took a look inside Gary Lichtenstein‘s Screen Printing Studio ( I wanna work there for a couple weeks and learn all about it- sigh)


We took a walk through some of the artist studios …hello …you and I have something in common 😉


And then we walked over in the rain to the Glass Building with the exhibition



Besides the stunning artwork – that building is just impressive – the light, the construction – and then you start taking in all the art work – again we had the whole space to ourselves – just the three of us…and the work of an unbelievable array of artists featured

Here are a few of my faves: This is by Serban Ionescu – Dow Isolation Town


Ai Weiwei with Colored Vases


 Jay Battle – The Execution of History –


and last but not least I show you this by Will Kurtz



There is so much more to see – so if you are in the area- go and take in the whole experience. If you are in NYC – it is super easy to get to Mana – and it is well worth it. Am I kinda proud to have this in my hood? – you bet I am – this is cool! You are surrounded by stunning artwork, you get the real deal with the breathtaking building and curation and …no admission…yes you heard right – ZERO…and you get a free tour -so …And btw…guess who is more than excited about the news that in her hood a  Street Art and Graffiti Museum will be opened by Mana too? Yep…yours truly.

And how to get to Mana from NYC? Check out this video ..and if you happen to go…shoot me a message – maybe I will join you and even have a nice coffee with you…because I cannot wait to go again – inspiration right in my hood! And if you do not wanna go…well your loss! 😉

Thank you Elena, for this great afternoon and a great tour – you are such an inspiration !








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Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke


    OMGosh…this is such an exciting place to share with us Nat!!!
    The tour must have been fabulous and the space is to die for…of course I love the dogs the most of what you posted. To see the art as it’s created is such a wonderful part of the art experience for sure. I will have to plan a trip at some point when life allows.


  • Sue Abell


    If I ever get up that way I definitely want to go there and check it out!!!


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Stroll Through The Hood

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Stroll Through The Hood



A lot of times I get asked what inspires me. And one of my key answers is always “a stroll through the hood”. It might be street art, it might be thoughts or feelings connected with certain sights, it might be stuff I find to buy…in one way or the other you might find the photos, the thoughts, the feelings, the colors or anything from those strolls in my art journal, a mixed media project or a scrapbooking layout.

I would love to show you once a month what inspired me while strolling through my neighborhood. I hope you like the little insights into my daily life where I live . This is also a wonderful way for me to remind myself on the inspiring things in the hood. Maybe you get inspired by those posts and even invite ME to a stroll in YOUR hood – feel free to grab the logo and leave a comment for me on the post and share!

Now that the weather is warmer, there is finally more strolling around in the neighbor hood and I discovered this:



which was by the way on the way to the art store- which I love because it has changing art work out side and has very knowledgable staff and …it is always good to support small businesses when they do such an awesome job


Perfect to also stop to get a yummie bread which was used with an awesome mask



On the way I love to see the obvious stated


And shake my European head in disbelief when stumbling upon adventurously installed power cables…in front of a window…in the middle of the pavement…




These are the things you still have to keep in mind and watch when you are looking for all this amazing street art work here



or smile at this



and then you can take the path and visit a friend in Hoboken and find inspiration in the subway station too -isn’t this color combination great? White, Blue, Black and Rost (forget the feeling that the subway station looks as if it is falling apart 😉 )



And when you arrived in Hoboken you can drive your friend Carla crazy by telling her that Hoboken is the 7th Borough of NYC 😉



It was an awesome day and I am so happy that the weather is now getting better and more strolls in the hood are coming up…and time on our deck too :)



Wishing you a gorgeous day!












This post currently has 2 comments.

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke


    Great pic of your friend with a bird in the background.
    The detail on the foot in that first pic is crazy good!


  • Joan vMetz


    Hi Natalie, I do so love your “Stroll through the hood” snap shots … The different infusions of colours and tones leaves me wondering what you wil be presenting on your next canvas’ ! Thanks for all your inspiration!!


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Mixed Media Classes at Scrap N Crop in Malaysia

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Mixed Media Workshop, Photos


I had a wonderful time teaching at Scrap n Crop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I taught my Über*Media Acrylic Paint with loads of techniques around making your own background papers, as well as a Texture Season Canvas and a PanPastel Class. Here are some pictures of the class



Scrap n Crop is an amazing store. A two story house filled to the brim with awesome products and a nice workshop room. It is massive. The coolest- not only awesome new product- but also older out of stock products that are still on high demand. If you wonder where all the cool Hambly Transparencies went…you can sniff those beautiful screenprinted beauties right there…and yes, some of them fell into my suitcase. With all the mixed media supplies and special treasures…makes your heart beat a bit faster!



Of course seeing my Stampendous! signature Stamps and my StencilGirl Products Stencils in the store made my heart beat faster too. It is kind of unreal to see those things so far away from home – pretty pretty cool. And oh we used them all in the classes too.



The first thing I learned myself on the first day was…you cannot talk to long when you have the acrylic paint laid out already. The paint dries so quick in this climate…unbelievable. Without a Slow Dri Medium it is really really hard to get anywhere. I have taught in pretty hot weather …unforgettable is Israel and Greece and one summer day in Spain makes me still faint, but boy this one beat it all. I had to change my teaching style instantly in order to make the demos work .




We created a lot of texture with my stamps, stencils and acrylic paint – and stacked loads of papers



and I loved seeing the results





The girls were so talented and it was fun seeing them play with different acrylic media








Of course we had to do a photo session the last evening.


This photo of Val, Penny and me cracks me up…apparently Val too- LOL- she couldn’t stop laughing.



It was sad to say good bye but we were sent of with freshly home made waffles and a loaf of yummie bread to the airport in the crack of the dawn. Thank you to all my wonderful students- it was wonderful to meet you. A special shout out to Saza who had her contractions during my class but was going to finish the first class because she waited so long for it. But then she really had to go…Congratulations to her wonderful baby she gave birth to the next day! I for sure will never forget this 😉

Thank you again to Val and Penny for inviting me to Malaysia for this Mixed Media event- it was awesome! Loves!

And that is it…Asia…so what is next on my teaching agenda? You can check my in-person workshops out here.

Huge hugs and have a gorgeous day





This post currently has 4 comments.

Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke


    How wonderful that you get to travel and bring our teaching skills to other countries Nat. One city at a time you could create a more colorful, peaceful world. I believe that it could happen.


  • Sue Clarke


    *your teaching skills that is:-)


  • Laura Strack


    Nat, You are loved the world wide. Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to delivery a baby? Congratulations to Saza! Love that story! We love our art time, don’t we?


  • Angeline


    GReat to be in your class Nat! HAd tons of fun :)


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