ArtYard Announces its First Live Animation Festival for September 22nd - 24th

Pictured Above: Miwa Matreyek. Photo Credit: Contributed.

Newsroom Post: FRENCHTOWN, NJ


ArtYard Announces its First Live Animation Festival offering a weekend of unique cinematic experiences that fuse the real and unreal through live animation performances.  The Festival starts September 22nd and runs through September 24th, tickets are $45.

Frenchtown, NJ – The ArtYard Live Animation Festival, a weekend of unique cinematic experiences fusing the real and unreal through live animation performance, kicks off Friday at the McDonnell Theater at ArtYard.

Curated by Richard Herskowitz, the ArtYard Live Animation Festival features works by animator performers Laura Heit, Melissa Ferrari, Stacey Steers, and Miwa Matreyek – four talented artists whose work emerges at the intersection of visual and performance art, installation, and film.

“The Live Animation Festival is not something that can be contained on a screen. It has to be experienced live,” Herskowitz said. “There is something wondrous about experiencing animated films merged with live performance, whether it’s an artist creating visions before your eyes with an antique ‘magic lantern’ or another artist shadow dancing inside her animated landscapes.”

Pictured Above: Left: Melissa Ferrari, Right: Stacey Steers. Photo Credit: Contributed.

The Live Animation Festival begins with a performance from Laura Heit’s The Matchbox Shows on Friday, Sept. 22. Laura performs teeny tiny cabaret-inspired puppet shows inside matchboxes that will be simultaneously projected on ArtYard’s two-story filmscreen, making the tiny details of her uncanny micro plays larger than life.

The afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 23 focuses on the world of early cinema through two live artist presentations. First, Melissa Ferrari presents her mesmeric magic lantern performance, Relict: A Phantasmagoria, an experimental documentary examining the zeitgeist of pseudoscience, fake news, and religion. Second, Stacey Steers presents a trio of her short films composed from thousands of collages placing silent film actresses in dreamlike settings — Phantom Canyon, Night Hunter, and As Evening Falls.

Miwa Matreyek takes to the McDonnell Theater stage on Saturday evening to present her most recent performances: Infinitely Yours and This World Made Itself. Matreyek — who has performed worldwide, including at the Tate, MoMA, Lincoln Center, and the Exploratorium — uses computer-generated animation mixed with live performance in silhouette to create her own form of storytelling that has intrigued audiences of every age.

Pictured Above: The work of Stacey Steers will be featured at the ArtYard Animation Festival. Photo Credit: Contributed.

The festival culminates with a closing talk with the curator, artists, and a special guest on the afternoon of Sunday, September 24. Award-winning director and animator Lynn Tomlinson joins Herskowitz to lead a lively conversation with all four animators revealing their creative journeys and their art of fusing the real and unreal through live animation.

Visitors can also experience Stacey Steers: Edge of Alchemy, an exhibition featuring Steers’ collages and sculptures from her latest film of the same name. A display of collages used in the animated film will be accompanied by three of Steers’ sculptures based on scientific instruments from the 18th and 19th centuries. Each instrument contains a screen that loops the film, heightening the precarious, trapped conditions of her silent film heroines. The exhibition is on view From Aug. 1 through Sept. 30 in ArtYard’s Laboratory Gallery.

Tickets and passes

The ideal way to experience ArtYard’s Live Animation Festival is with a full festival pass, which provides access to all events and an exclusive opening reception. The full pass is $45. Individual tickets to performances are also available.  To learn more, please visit


Please contact ArtYard’s Box Office during gallery hours at 908-996-5018 or email


ArtYard is an incubator for creative expression and a catalyst for collaborations that reveal the transformational power of art. To learn more about ArtYard, the exhibitions and to register for related events, visit

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