Off the Wall
Local artists brighten a vibrant city even more through public paintings.
Members of the Newark Arts Alliance take their mission seriously. “We are about developing community through the arts, and we are not limited to a physical location,” says Terry Foreman, executive director of the organization, which was founded in 1993.
For proof of that, you need only ride the train. Newark Arts Alliance artists are putting the finishing touches on the underpass at the Amtrak railroad station near the former Chrysler plant. The work depicts a tree shaken by a passing train. Books, newspapers—even a cat—are caught up in the whoosh that the train creates. “It’s a glamorized version of what the whirlwind would create,” Foreman says.
The alliance has also created murals at Market East Plaza on Main Street, where the organization is headquartered. The art includes a mosaic tile installment, a small painted mural on a wall between two buildings and a painted picnic table. The plaza is also home to a weekend farmer’s market and the Newark Natural Foods Cooperative.
“You can sit and have coffee, and from the table you can experience all three murals,” says Foreman. “We want to bring as much artwork as we can into that complex.”
The murals complement the art that Foreman on her own created on the railroad overpass on West Main Street. “We’re always coming up with new ideas,” she says.
And that’s just fine with the city. “Murals are definitely something we’re looking to continue,” says Maureen Feeney Roser, assistant planning director for the city of Newark.