Welcome to the Heights Section of Jersey City, NJ

Arts District in the Jersey City Heights

The Heights neighborhood of Jersey City welcomes artists. In addition to its public art, the Heights now has the "Riverview Arts District" (RAD) attracting the attention of many New York City Artists looking for accommodating housing alternatives. Combined with its close proximity to NYC, many mass transit options, affordability, great parks, and 240 storefront main street, the family friendly Heights neighborhood is a great place for artists to live.

First proposed in the early 1980s by then Councilman Tom Hart, the RAD was forgotten for almost three decades. On February 27, 2013, a city zoning amendment was approved to create an Artist Overlay Zone covering a large portion of the eastern Heights (see map) and allows artist to have studios or work/ live units within the District.

In the amendment, an "artist" is defined as "a person regularly engaged in the fine arts as a career and not as a hobby. This does not mean that the art the artist creates generates the artist's main source of income, nor does it require that the creation of art occupies the greatest portion of the artist's day...as used herein, the "fine arts" shall include, but not be limited to, painting, sculpture, choreography and the composition of music."

Within the RAD, artists can have an "artist studio workspace" to make their art or sell it as an accessory use to the studio; they can also have a work/live artist studio defined as "a single, enclosed, private space of 900 sq. ft or more, where at least one-half of the total space is devoted to work space for the creation, display and sale of art, and the remainder is used for living purposes..." 

Want to live in the "Riverview Arts District?" Click here to learn more about living in the RAD and Jersey City Heights.

Jersey City Independent - RAD: Imagining the Future

By Laryssa Wirstiuk | Apr. 16, 2014

River View Arts District SummitOn Saturday, April 12 from 9 am to 5 pm, at PS #8 on Franklin Avenue, a group of more than 100 dedicated and passionate community members attended the Riverview Arts District (RAD) Summit, a visioning session to help imagine the future of the RAD as an arts destination and home for working artists and their families.

Many people don’t realize that the Riverview Arts District (RAD) was first proposed in the early 1980s by then-Councilman Tom Hart. Nearly three decades later, on February 27, 2013, Jersey City approved a zoning amendment to create an Artist Overlay Zone, which allows artists to have a work/live artist studio defined as “a single, enclosed, private space of 900 sq. ft or more, where at least one-half of the total space is devoted to work space for the creation, display and sale of art, and the remainder is used for living purposes…”
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Jersey City Independent - An Arts District is Overlayed in Ward D

By Matt Hunger | Feb. 28, 2013

Heights artists came out to City Hall  in support of the Riverview Arts District in Feb. 27, 2013One of Jersey City’s biggest arts districts – in fact if not on the books – was made official at Wednesday night’s Council meeting when the Council approved the Heights’ Arts District Overlay Zone, 9-0. The approval codifies a resolution passed in 1984 and permits what was already there: a vibrant arts scene, work/life studio space, galleries and arts events. “The passage of this amendment will help the artists already well-established in the Heights and attract additional artists,” said Becky Hoffman, the president of the Riverview Neighborhood Association and a key proponent of the arts overlay zone. “The arts is an economic driver for our neighborhood, and this distinguishes the area as a creative Mecca,” she continued, noting “some artists go back 30 years.”
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Jersey Journal - Zoning Change in Heights will lead to 'creative Mecca,' artists say

By Terrence T. McDonald | Feb. 27, 2013

Jersey City Heights resident and WPA member Mory Thomas speaks in favor of the Riverview Arts DistrictA plan that would allow Jersey City artists to live and work in studios in The Heights was adopted by the City Council tonight. The plan, which supporters said will distinguish the neighborhood as a “creative Mecca,” was approved unanimously to cheers from the dozens of artists and Heights residents in attendance. “The passage of this amendment will help the artists who are well established in The Heights, as well as attract additional artists to our area,” said Becky Hoffman, president of the Riverview Neighborhood Association. “This will provide an economic boost to our area.”
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The New York Times - Photos of artists doing renovations; Artists Colonize The Jersey City Heights

By Nicole Simmons | July 18, 1984

Quietly in recent years, artists have been settling in the section of this city known as the Heights, an old ethnic neighborhood perched on a cliff at the low end of the Palisades. Lately, the migration has become something of an explosion, as artists forced out of Bayonne, Hoboken and New York's SoHo section by rising prices and soaring rents have moved here. The newcomers say this quiet, residential neighborhood has everything an artist could want: low rents, a sprinkling of 19th-century industrial buildings ripe for conversion and views of the Manhattan skyline. About 250 artists now call the neighborhood home. On May 10, the City Council made it official by designating the eastern portion of the Heights the River View Arts District.
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