On Tuesday, March 6, the first concert took place at the Bayonne Community Museum. The performance featured Irish-born musician and author Larry Kirwan. He was accompanied on selected numbers by Bayonne musician Andrew Sharpe.
Mayor Mark A. Smith introduced Kirwan, and expressed gratitude to the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee for sponsoring the museum’s first concert. Mayor Smith also thanked Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and local historic preservationists for supporting the transformation of the former bank building into its new role. The museum building began its life in 1912 as the Bayonne Trust Company. Performing on a stage in front of a large open vault, Kirwan quipped, “I’ve never played a bank before.”
Kirwan presented a combination of songs and readings from his published works. The County Wexford native, who is best-known as the leader of Black 47, a New York-based band, read from his stories about the immigration experience and the Irish nationalist movement in New York. His musical numbers offered a mixture of contemporary rock and Irish traditional styles.
The Kirwan concert was the first in a series of cultural events set for the museum this year. The City will host its first annual Citywide Art Show at the museum next month. The opening reception will be on Friday, April 13. The show will be open to viewers on weekdays, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 27, 2012.
On May 2 and 3, a local string orchestra will use the building for rehearsals and a public performance. From May 7 through 14, the museum will host the annual Hudson County Alliance of Teen Artists Exhibit. On May 18 and 19, the annual Art Show of the Bayonne public schools will take place at the museum.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will host several public meetings at the museum during the next few years. Those meetings will concern the reconstruction of the Bayonne Bridge. The Port Authority has donated chairs and tables for use in the building. Details of the Port Authority’s meetings will be announced.
Recently, the City Council awarded a contract for the upgrading of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system at the building. City officials said that the museum would still be available for various events during the construction.
Anyone interested in applying to use the museum building should contact Bernadette Nestico at the Bayonne Department of Public Works at 201-858-6070.
Acquired a decade ago from Fleet Bank, the City of Bayonne has restored the appearance of the building’s interior in the style of the early 20th century. The restoration was made possible with the support of funding from the County of Hudson, the State of New Jersey, the Bayonne Urban Enterprise Zone, and private donations.