629 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
908-278-1597                         art629gallery@gmail.com


Upcoming Exhibition





OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday June 4, from 6-9 pm

On Saturday June 4 from 6-9 pm, art629 will be hosting an opening reception for a pride month exhibition which will be on display through 4th of July weekend. This exhibition, titled “Pride” will feature 13 LGBTQIA+ and ally artists. In honor of NJ Pride Month and in commemoration of the 53rd anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, an event which helped spark the LGBTQIA+ rights movement, we will be showcasing art in a variety of media that represents the culture of the LGBTQIA+ community. Some of the art celebrates the love, fun and enjoyment to be found within the community, and some brings awareness to the discrimination they face.

The “Pride” exhibit will feature the following artists:

Allison Kolarik (AK)

Amie Wuchter

Carol Magnatta

Dominíck Severino

Ernest Wildenhain

Joe LaMattina

Kevin Jakubowski

Maggie Fischer

Mallory Massara

Michael Pyrdsa

Michelle Renee Bernard

Shaune Pony Heath

Zachary Delacruz

We will also be featuring a poem by local poet Blush Ellis.

Art629 curator, Brittany James, says “This show is going to be so much fun, not only because it coincides with NJ's Annual LGBTQ Pride Celebration, but because we have so many artists participating and such a wide variety of work on display; some with an important message such as “Trans People Are Not Your Teachable Moment” by Allison Kolarik and some with a more comical, playful approach like Kevin Jakubowskis image of a cat in a rocket ship with a rainbow wearing Elton John style sunglasses. We have multiple pieces done in a unique combination of pastel and gel pen by Ernest Wildenhain that are inspired by Walt Whitman poems. There’s everything from original photography by Jersey City based artist Dominíck Severino to large mixed media pieces by Joe LaMattina. Michael Pyrdsas painting style is more realistic, while Zachary Delacruz is more abstract. There’s something for everybody.”

“I want to promote equality, respect, an awareness. Pride month is about being proud of who you are, and recognizing the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world. These artists’ works are so different from one another, and that’s what makes this exhibit so beautiful as a whole.”

Gallery hours vary, and it is suggested to call ahead for hours of operation. To make an appointment, contact Brittany:

(908) 278-1597.

About the Artists

Allison Kolarik (AK)

Allison Kolarik, also known as AK, is a graphic designer, founder of Futile Device Co which has raised over $15,000 for various charities around the world since its launch in July 2021, co-founder of Asbury Park Dinner Table, Muralist, apparel designer, activist, and "general thorn in the side of right-wing christofascist asswipes."

Amie Wuchter

instagram: @amslyq

Amie Wuchter is a visual artist who creates photorealistic drawings and paintings in order to make sense of the world around her. Inspired by her upbringing in a racially and socioeconomically diverse community on the Jersey Shore, she aims to spark conversations about the intricacies of various social justice issues both close to home and around the world. The time consuming and often tedious process of creating her art serves as a way to meditate and reflect on the subjects she focuses on. Wuchter graduated with her BA in Visual Arts and Education from Ramapo College of New Jersey. She is currently an art teacher in the same town where she grew up, and hopes that by teaching art to her students, she can help empower them to take up space and create change in the world. 

Her painting in "Pride" comes from series called Greetings From Asbury Park, which serves as both a love letter and a criticism of the community that she grew up in. Each painting is linked together both formally and conceptually, featuring similar visual elements throughout. This project explores themes of LGBTQIA+ rights, poverty, housing insecurity, and crime. "Using photographic references, I created these paintings in order to provide a candid look into the town that has become an epicenter of tourism on the Jersey Shore and to continue the discussion about the impact that gentrification has had on all parties involved. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I am immensely grateful for the safe haven that this community has provided for so many. Despite that, it is impossible to ignore the effect that gentrification has had on socioeconomically disadvantaged members of our community, with a particular impact on minorities."

Brittany James


Brittany an artist, art teacher, and curator at art629. She graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA degree concentrated in oil painting in 2009 and has been a full-time artist ever since. As a Jersey Shore native, James began painting in Island Heights with mentor Elaine Sgambati in 1994. She currently lives and works in Asbury Park with her partner Patrick Schiavino. Her paintings are of mostly surreal images, inspired by the relationships between women in nature, society, and astrology. 

Brittany teaches painting and life drawing classes for adults at art629 Gallery and runs an open studio for local artists. She also teaches art classes for children and teens at Inspired Minds Fine Art School in Lincroft. She is experienced in oil painting, acrylic murals, performance art, charcoal drawing, pastel, life drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.

Carol Magnatta

My immediate surroundings and the natural world are what move me to paint.  And of all nature's facets, color is the driving force.  Whether creating a still life or figurative work in my studio or nature out in the wild, I work primarily from life.  Sometimes I feel like nature uses me as a conduit to capture its wonders on canvas and share them with the world.  No matter what the subject matter, this immediacy of approach is the common thread that ties my work together.

I find my joy interacting with the world to make art.  Working in oil paint in the tradition of generations of plein air painters, I see subjects in my own back your and places as diverse as the hills of Italy, a Greek island, or the Jersey shore.  From braving the elements to find just the right view, to interpreting and pushing nature's color and light with my paint, to laying down brushstrokes that demonstrate the intensity of my experience, each painting is an adventure.  I hope they bring my viewers  along for the ride.

Dominíck Severino

Born in New York, 1986, and currently residing in Jersey City, New Jersey,  Dominíck graduated from Montclair State University, after transferring from Seton Hill University, of Pennsylvania. They earned a BFA in multimedia (Sculpture, Photography, Painting) and Minor in Dance. 

In this series of self-portraits on display for art629's "Pride" , the artist chose the photographic medium & production process of analogue color, to physically inhabit the spaces/confines of past abuse, and visually express symbolism of trauma.  Catharsis was not the intention.

 They describe their work as “Queer retellings of past trauma’s, representative of repressed emotions, … a symbolic chrysalis.”

Ernest Wildenhain

Two years ago I retired from the practice of law and renewed my lifelong interest in art, drawing, and painting.  After a busy legal career. the solitude of the creative process is very appealing.  Now, instead of “painting pictures” with words, I enjoy creating images through art.
As a boy, I was always drawing and sketching.  Later, as a young art student at Rutgers University, I painted with oils and was fortunate to sell some pictures to help with my tuition.  During the law years, I occasionally found time to produce some casual pencil drawings which, in contrast to my recent paintings, are more traditional.  Recent works – post retirement – are created with gel pens, inks, and pastels. These media produce very colorful and vibrant contemporary images.
The subject matter of my artwork has evolved over time.  Of course, as a gay man, I find myself frequently drawn to themes employing male faces and physiques.  I try to attract the viewer’s attention by providing tastefully erotic renderings of male forms while endowing them with abstract designs and vivid colors to create results which are pleasingly seductive without being salacious.  For me, art should stimulate the mind and nourish the senses.  Sadly, in my opinion, some “gay art” bypasses beauty and sinks into lewdness.  Pornography may be its own art-form, but that’s not my goal.
I’m sometimes asked about the inspiration for my work.  Many of my images draw upon two humanistic concepts; 1) animism and, 2) transcendental realism – as expressed in the words of the great gay poet, Walt Whitman.  Perhaps I should explain.  In 1968 I was an advisor to Montagnard tribes people living in the central highlands of Vietnam.  They were frequently ostracized by the majority Vietnamese population due to their primitive lifestyle, Polynesian origins, and darker skin color.  I was inspired by their gentleness and belief in animism (the conviction that objects, places, and creatures all possess a spiritual essence and beauty).  As a young Army officer, struggling with my sexual identity, I was very moved by their warmhearted acceptance of everyone.  Similarly, the transcendental realism of Whitman’s timeless poetry is akin to animism. He believed that respect for the individual requires mercy and that, “Whoever degrades another, degrades me.”  Plainly stated, the sanctity and acceptance of every person requires compassion.  As such, Whitman’s ethos remains relevant and contemporary more than a century after his death.  In fact, I have used some of his words and phrases to name many of my pictures.  Hopefully, these two tangent concepts - animism and transcendental realism – will help to give my artwork the soulful and timeless appeal I strive to achieve.

Joe LaMattina


Joe LaMattina’s figurative paintings narrate the journey into the concept of imagination, exploring the creative process through mixed media. A recently retired art educator of thirty-six years, this artist has preserved a focus on the exploration of the creative mind by teaching others and pushing the boundaries of his own working practice. His works are intuitive, usually starting with graphite drawings and mark-making on the support, and continuing with the artist both building up and tearing down layers of visual information. LaMattina is able to respond to the canvas in an uninhibited manner, layering collage materials and paint, only to subject his surfaces to the possibility of temporary ruination via his method of ripping and scratching. Any clear subject matter that begins to form is typically figurative, and often in the shape of figures in physical or otherwise active states. He states that, “interpreting the human form is what excites me and fuels my spirit to create,” a passion which transfers clearly to his canvas.! 

Joe LaMattina lives and works in Hackensack, NJ.

Zen of Colors Article in Out in NJ Magazine

Kevin Jakubowski


I was born in Central Jersey, I grew up on Star Wars and Saturday morning cartoons.  I always enjoyed drawing and painting.  I loved making art on my Commodore 64, and I was obsessed with Mario Paint.  I enjoy doing portraits, illustrations, fan art, anything creative and challenging.
I would consider myself a classically trained illustrator, artist and painter.  I graduated from Kean University with a Bachelors in Fine Art.  After graduating, I taught myself software for graphic design and entered the commercial art world.  I joined the art department of a children's book publisher where I learned how to combine my painting and graphic art ability. I slowly began to play more with the digital aspects of painting.  It was a slow and painful process, but I made the transition to digital painting with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop.
I am an artist, illustrator, digital painter and graphic designer.  I enjoy doing portraits, illustrations, fan art, anything creative and challenging. I basically make things "unblank." 

Maggie Fischer

instagram: @maggiefischart

My process all begins with scavenging. I gather objects with interesting textures to create the foundations of my paintings. I adhere things such egg crates, cheese cloth, recycled paper pulp, and sand to canvas or wood. This provides me a myriad of opportunities to manipulate the surfaces, as well as play with space and shape. The first part of my process dances between two-dimensional and three-dimensional building. I then paint compositions inspired by the organic forms of nature, landscape, and seascape. Finally, I continue layering each piece with more found materials and texture until it is finished. This method allows me to capture textures, which exist due to industrial byproducts as well as the natural world; both have stages of renewal and decomposition. 

Maggie Fischer is an abstract artist specifically working with acrylics and texures. Born in Ocean, NJ, she studied at Marymount Manhattan College where she obtained a degree in Studio Art. Brown has exhibited her work throughout New York, New Jersey and Columbus, Ohio.

Mallory Massara

instagram: @mallorymassara

A lifelong ally, Mallory Massara has been a regular fixture at rights protests, parades, remembrances, and resident bar fly here in Asbury Park since the early 90’s. In 2017 she co-produced a special for NJ PBS focusing on the impacts the LGBTQ+ community has had on Asbury Park, which was nominated for two Emmy Awards.

Mallory Massara is a creator, painter, videographer, editor and graphic designer who takes her inspiration from the world around her. She is a multi-talented maker, driven by her work ethic, self motivation and the need to create.

“ Taking inspiration from the beauty of a sunrise, or the way light dances on the surface of water, my works are not literal or representational. Instead focusing on the aesthetic; shapes, colors and compositions that are pleasing, soothing and joyous. ”

Michael Pyrdsa


Michael Pyrdsa is an artist currently residing in PA, originally from Asbury Park. The painting in the exhibition "Pride" was the result of a visit to Sea Hear Now music festival in Asbury.

Michelle Renee Bernard


I like to say that my art is what happens at the intersection of wit and whimsy… but it’s also about differences of all kinds. I love to pull you in with bold colors and playful subject matter, engage you with pattern, amuse you with metaphor, confound you with irony, and allow the tension of contradictions expand your mind and stretch the imagination. As an advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community and someone who loves to celebrate differences of all kinds, it was important to communicate my support through my art for this PRIDE Exhibition.

As a graphic designer, Michelle became infatuated with composition, color and text. These components make their way into her work and are responsible for the oftentimes advertorial nature of her paintings. The remainder of Michelle’s inspiration comes from a fondness for street art, tattoos, old carnival rides & games, and sweet summer days spent at the boardwalk.

Michelle lives in a 100-year-old house in the quaint victorian seashore town of Ocean Grove, NJ where she makes art in her home studio.

Shaune Pony Heath

instagram: @ponypiano


Shaune Pony Heath is a South African born artist that made their way to America at the age of 23. First residing in New York City and then ending up in Asbury Park about 11 years ago and pursuing art and music all the way.

Zachary Delacruz


Zachary Delacruz is a New Jersey based artist who acquired a Bachelor’s of Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in May of 2012.  During his stay at SVA, his ambition and highly prolific discipline enabled him to explore many different subjects in many forms of media.  These medias include screen-printing, lithography, sculpture, oil and acrylic painting, video and photography.  The subject of his works vary from figurative work which eventually led to his strong focus of fashion and the depiction of notorieties.  With the exploration of figurative work, Zachary adapted a strong influence of DeKooning and Frank Auerbach where the figure became a sandbox for abstraction and gesture.  

While in his first year at SVA, Zachary acquired two important occupations, which highly influenced his future work.  Assisting a casting agent within the fashion world and becoming a celebrity photographer would pinpoint his focus in regards to his subject.  With the constant drive for success and the intense expectations from his professors, Zachary was constantly exploring and taking risks.  This led to shoe sculptures, which became a proven success and a step in the right direction.  He used pre-existing women’s shoes and, for example, would cover them in cigarettes covered in glitter or penis shaped candy to explore the underlying sense of fetish in regards to shoes.  The work became very “camp” but it worked.  Photographs of these shoe sculptures led to experimental printing with silkscreen and lithography.  

Currently, Zachary is exploring his obsession with abstraction, gender, pattern, deconstruction and camp.