LONG BRANCH, NJ — It’s been called an “urban wasteland.” A “sad, sad place.” A “dump,” and even a “hell hole.” And that was just one paragraph in last week’s TriCity News.

When the artists of Imagine Long Branch look at lower Broadway, however, they see potential. Possibilities. Beauty, even.

At any rate, it’s certainly nothing that a few well-placed daubs of paint couldn’t fix. That’s why a group of dynamic, creative neighbors has been working closely with the City of Long Branch to transform the block between Second Avenue and Liberty Street into a destination attraction unlike anything ever seen on the Jersey Shore.

It won’t happen overnight. But, for one day, some of the area’s most dynamic and dedicated artists and musicians will sound the keynote — and wield the first ceremonial brushstrokes — when Arts Hits the Streets.

It all takes place on Saturday, June 26th, between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m., when the Imagine Long Branch crew will gather in the lot adjacent to the former Siperstein’s Paint store (140-150 Broadway).

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta

During these four hours, a diverse and eclectic bunch of visual artists, music makers, writers, photographers and other folks will be joining to celebrate the arts in our favorite seaside city, by doing it LIVE in Long Branch. That means live music, of course — as well as live on-the-scene painting, and other demonstrations of their stuff.

There are activities for the kids, too — along with a chance to meet the artists and talk about how you can get help put the focus on the arts in Long Branch, through events like our “Second Saturdays,” and organizations like the Long Branch Arts and Business Coalition. Or, bring your own easel or musical instrument and join in the fun!

Again, Art Hits the Streets, Saturday June 26th, beginning at 1 p.m. outside the old Siperstein’s store on Broadway. Everyone is warmly welcomed to come on out and attend this free event — and feel free to drop in that evening at Inspired Life Studios (560 Broadway, 2nd floor), for a free opening reception to the new group art show “Evolve.” Between the hours of 7 and 10 p.m., you’ll find live music, refreshments, and great art from David Carroll, Erika Rainey and more, as we celebrate the evolution of the former InSpirit Living to its future identity as Inspired Life. Call (908)433-2395 for more info, or email [email protected].


Meet the Artists


Thor Fister

Fister is a musician & music teacher, painter, photographer, and a yoga teacher at Inspired Life Studios. You will also see him leading donation-based yoga classes or drum circles on the beach in North End in the early evenings. He is on the “Second Saturdays” team and on the city-wide music committee of the Long Branch Arts & Business Coalition.


Matt Makrinos

Makrinos is best known as one third of the popular Deftet Jazz Trio which can be heard on a regular basis at the Wine Loft in Long Branch, the Oyster Point hotel in Red Bank and Chico’s in Asbury Park. He is also on the city-wide music committee of the Long Branch Arts & Business coalition, part of the Imagine Long Branch team, and one of the four main organizers of the April 10th “Second Saturday” kick-off event at Architectural Accents.


Josh “Dogmatic” Matson

Josh is a young local artist who, when he is not exhibiting, does live music painting.  You will usually see him doing his thing at the original live music venues on the shore like the Saint, The Stone Pony, and The Brighton Bar, among others. His art is on the walls of local musicians or currently for sale at the Healing Drum Tribe Shop in Asbury or at Sacred Circle in Long Branch. There is no place that he won’t set up and make art spur of the moment.


The Rev. Chris Murphy

Murphy owns and operates Inspired Life Studios, a donation-based yoga studio & art gallery on 560 Broadway, #202 in Long Branch. She currently leads donation-based yoga sessions on the beach (weather permitting) and in the studio.  She is also a curator, painter, and mixed media artist. Chris is taking a leading role in uniting the artists in Long Branch, and was another of the primary organizers of the “Second Saturday” kick-off event at Architectural Accents.  She is working with the arts council to kick off the Urban Canvas Project, among other city-wide events.


Becky Polenberg

Becky Polenberg is a multi-faceted artist who does painting, sculpture, photography, videography, comics, writing, and acting. Her brand is called FlammaBombo and her zine is an arts and culture magazine called FlammaBombo’s “Fill-in-the-Blank” which is still taking art and writing submissions for the first issue.


Kathy Polenberg

Kathy Polenberg is a hard-working painter and published poet living in Long Branch. Though she has no formal training or education beyond the 12th grade – her unsigned work has been seen on the walls, inside and out, of many Monmouth County historic places and educational nonprofit organizations. On this day, Kathy will be doing live art with children.


Andrew Ricci

Andrew Ricci is an artist and screen printer. He is a member of the Long Branch Arts & Business Coalition, and SICA in Long Branch. He also plays saxophone for Live Music Yoga at Inspired Life Studios in Long Branch.


Maxine Snow

Maxine Snow is an established renaissance woman in her own right. She is a self-taught artist creating styles and techniques that express the adventurous spirit within, working with all types of medium and materials. Maxine wants to help children discover and express their creativity.


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Avatar of Allan Dean

Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...