Local Artist Stefania Panepinto Talks Curation
Fine artist Stefania Panepinto first developed a passion for art over seven years ago when she began putting together her Jersey City gallery and became interested in art curation. Panepinto currently works in oil paint, mixed media, and sculpture. The Jersey City-based artist and curator has had her work featured on CBS News, NY Observer, WCBS-TV, CNN-TV, Hyperallergic and The Times UK.
“I was drawn to my passion in art and ultimately pursued a Masters of Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art,” Panepinto said. Panepinto’s love for art continued to blossom after her studies, which led her to open up two business ventures; Panepinto Galleries and Panepinto Fine Art in Jersey City. “Panepinto Galleries and Panepinto Fine Art was a way to connect local New York and New Jersey artists together with building owners and developers,” Panepinto told me.
These galleries acted as a vehicle for Panepinto to work with incredible artists, curate art shows and collections, and develop shows throughout the region. “While I was working on the gallery, I developed Panepinto Fine Art to curate art collections for hotels, offices and residences as part of a building’s permanent collection,” said Panepinto.
Panepinto Fine Arts’ projects include: The Element Hotel by Starwood, the luxury residences at Harrison Station by Ironstate Development, the Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel in Jersey City, 3 Journal Square Plaza luxury residences, and the newly-renovated Jersey City Medical Center.
As Panepinto began her venture into art curation, she soon learned that a successful project is one that will create an experience, make an impact, and make a memory to think about once the guest leaves. “If a visitor comes in and wants to learn more about an artist when they leave, that’s real success for me,” Panepinto added.
Connection to space and place is essential when deciding on an artist for a curation project. “Curating art and tailoring art for specific spaces is a project-based service that can move quickly, and artists have to be open to working in a partnership toward that end. I always look for local artists who can bring a sense of the building’s surroundings, inside,” Panepinto said.
Panepinto strives to create human and emotional experiences within the space being curated. “I am drawn to artwork that is visually compelling, inspiring, and positive; particularly those with an interesting composition, unique brushwork or a human element that makes a strong visual connection to the viewer,” Panepinto said.
Strategic placement of art in a building can help create a unique atmosphere for visitors, which is precisely what Panepinto aims to do. In addition, location of art and what works best where in a building can be essential when designing. Panepinto searches for that perfect look and design when curating that will take the guest away from their day-to-day lives and transport them emotionally to another experience. “What I look for is a way to create ‘moments’ for the visitors and residents – places where art creates a setting for the building user – whether it’s a seating area, over a small couch, near a computer station, or over a building lobby front desk,” she explained.
Panepinto predicts the future of art in Jersey City to develop into an art district comparable to Miami’s Wynwood, a renowned creative hotspot with lots of cafes and restaurants popping up all over the city. “The art community, just like the rest of Jersey City, is growing. Artists are coming not only from other nearby cities, but from all over the world. I work with many artists who have immigrated to Jersey City from locations such as South Africa, Korea, India, Japan to name a few. All we need next is a museum.”