BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
The Montclair Center BID has announced the winners of the ArtConnects mural project, with muralists beginning in town by Nov. 4.
Four locations were identified throughout the Montclair Center area for the murals, including an alleyway on Bloomfield Avenue near the Bay Street train station, with others near three parking decks (one built, one under construction and one under contract).
Chady Abousleiman of North Brunswick has been chosen for 180 Bloomfield Ave; Holly Rader of Clifton will paint at 219 Glenridge Ave.; Amol Saraf of Johns Creek, Ga., has been chosen for 420 Bloomfield Ave.; and Jhonattan Arango of Palm Springs, Fla., will be painting at 50 Church St.
The artists are expected to complete their work by the end of the year.
“The jury had to pick from almost 90 applications from all over the country,” Jason Gleason, acting director of the Montclair Center BID, wrote in a statement, adding it was a difficult decision.
The jury was comprised of Jeff Beck, owner of East Side Mags; Petia Morozov, founder of Design Week Montclair; Tanya Poteat, member of the Montclair Art Museum’s African American Cultural Committee; Ruth Perretti, local business owner and former senior vice-president of design at Ralph Lauren; Mary Z. Scotti, director of the former 73See Gallery; Gail Stavitsky, chief curator at the Montclair Art Museum; and Sharon Burton Turner, lifetime arts advocate and former chair of the MAM African American Cultural Committee.
Final selections were made by the property owners.
According to the town’s application packet, the jury was looking for artwork that contributes to the positive energy of the downtown Montclair community, improves the cultural vibrancy of the district and highlights the important connection between art and community.
All artwork will be “family-friendly” and the murals will be temporary, with a five-year expected life.
The walls were chosen “at connection points where art can surprise and delight,” according to the BID’s website.
The murals will vary in size. The largest, 50 by 20 feet, will be located at 50 Church St., with another 21-by-8 mural a possibility. The mural at 180 Bloomfield Ave. is slated to be 13 by 20 feet, while the mural at 219 Glenridge Ave. will be 10 by 10. Four panels will be painted at 420 Bloomfield Ave., with varying sizes ranging up to 15 feet.
The ArtsConnect project was led by the BID’s Visual Improvements Committee. Funded in part by a $25,000 transformation grant from the New Jersey Main Street program, the murals will be a first step in infusing the downtown district with visual art, the BID states, with hopes of continuing the program in 2020.
“I am looking forward to seeing these world-class creations throughout Montclair Center,” Gleason said.