Part beehive of artistic activity and part raw space, the Art Factory isn’t like anything else you have ever seen. While others work to create an industrial chic appearance, this place is the real McCoy. The Art Factory occupies a former textile mill dating to the 1800s. Comprising 26 buildings, the mill manufactured jute for riggings on sailing ships but closed in the 1950s. Much like the city of Paterson itself, which once enjoyed worldwide renown and was nicknamed “silk city,” the complex sat in disrepair for decades. Owner David Garsia’s father purchased the complex in the 1970s and the two spent the next 35 years repairing leaky roofs and broken windows while leasing to small manufacturing companies. That is until 2012, when a local art teacher walked through the door. She was seeking space for a temporary art show, but what began as temporary ended as permanent.
The two were married a year after meeting and today, Donata and David Garsia have transformed an abandoned mill into a hotbed of activity, splitting their time between acting as landlord to the many artists and independents who rent studios from them to serving as venue specialists, working with the event planners who rent the more than two dozen spaces within the complex. There are six spaces that can accommodate up to 1,000 and from the European-style brick courtyard and loading dock to the vaults carved into the side of the mountain, these event spaces sport something for everyone. The Art Factory’s raw, industrial look and feel is the ultimate blank canvas and is a creative event planner’s dream. It’s just one of the reasons the place is often used for music videos, ad campaigns (Victoria’s Secret and Nike were recent clients) and even reality TV (an episode of a Kardashian spinoff show was recently filmed here).