Near the Great Falls in the Historic District of Paterson, New Jersey sits the Essex and Phoenix Mills. An industrial center of buildings that were once meant to harness the cascading water power, now transformed into an area where artists can live and create their work.
“It’s a community of interactive people reinforcing each other’s thoughts, visions, and sometime’s frustrations,” said Professor Vince Parrillo, director and narrator of Silk City Artists and Musicians, his forth documentary on the city of Paterson. “I was born and raised in the city. Like many ex-Patersonians, you keep a love affair with the city. Every Patersonian I’ve ever met has that connection. I feel the city gets bad press in so many ways. There’s so much good there and stories that want to be told.”
There’s still a lot of music being played in Paterson, a scene rooted in jazz.
“Bucky Pizzarelli talks about it a bit in the film,” said Parrillo. “There were so many jazz artists and clubs in Paterson at one time. There are no jazz clubs now but there are lots of jazz musicians living in the Mills.”
Visual masterminds find at the Art Factory, a 22-building complex Parrillo says is the heart of the arts community.
“Besides will over one-hundred private studios, there’s all of this open space that people utilize for open sized paintings. Film crews and photographers come in to capture indoor scenes and outdoor scenes.”
Parrillo says the Art Factory is expanding.
“One full floor of one of that factories will be covered similar to Chelsea Market in New York City. There will be 21 craft stores on that floor where the artists themselves can sell their wares.”
In June, the Art Factory will have a direct entrance from the Great Falls walking tour, forging two important parts of the city’s rich history.
Professor Vince Parrillo’s documentary Silk City Artists and Musicians is showing at the Jersey Shore Film Festival in early August.