Arts & Culture South Orange

4 New Murals Brighten Valley Street in South Orange Village Center

From the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs:

When Scotland Avenue becomes Valley Street, you enter downtown South Orange. Just past the traffic light, on the right side of the road, four new works of art grace the walls of a low-slung building. These works utilize the large covered windows on the back of the Pandang Restaurant as surfaces for a particular form of art that is inspired in part, by contemporary commercial sign making practices.

“Coming and Going” by Kate Dodd, playfully address the iconic architecture of Village Hall and its current transitional status. The image combines her interest in site specificity, architectural landmarks, and patterns that result from cutting away a surface to reveal what lies below. Dodd’s image was commercially printed on a substrate and applied to the window surface.

Lisa Festa’s work, “Practice the Art of Listening”, combines a designer’s focus on clear messaging and utilizes text, image, and graphic elements supported with commercial sign manufacturing techniques. Tim King designed his initial images on a computer, and then once printed, layered them with cut vinyl and other vinyl scraps garnered from a sign shop where he worked.

Roberta Melzl utilized the existing white window surface as a vital part of her cut vinyl design. The hard shiny surface becomes an added layer of sleek that compliments the richness of the gold fleur de lis pattern and adds a note of materiality to the other architectural motifs merely suggested in vinyl.

Peter Polow manages the building at 4-12 Village Plaza where the back windows face Valley Street and now house art for passersby to enjoy. His father has owned the building for over 40 years. Peter remembers visiting downtown South Orange as a child and going to various stores and restaurants, spending time with friends and family.

“I volunteered to host this installation because I thought it would be a nice feature for the town and that people would get enjoyment out of seeing it. The art looks great. I grew up in South Orange, so it is important for me to promote the culture and development of the town,” he said.

The Valley Street windows as an exhibition space came together through the efforts of the South Orange Village Center Alliance and Pierro Outdoors, a program of the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs. Curator Caro Kalb-Marr, from Gallery OVO; Sandy Martiny, Curator and Director of the Pierro Gallery and Director of Cultural Affairs; and Bob Zuckerman, Executive Director of South Orange Village Center Alliance selected the work from the many artists’ submissions received through an open call for the project. The murals were paid for with a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

The works will be on view for several months after which new works will be installed.

“Art in public places reminds us who we are and makes us happy,” said Sandy Martiny. “We are very lucky to have partners in the business community who support the arts and who help to create opportunities for art to be seen and enjoyed. “

Pierro Outdoors is a new initiative of the Pierro Gallery of South Orange. The Pierro Gallery offers experience and exposure to contemporary visual artists and to our communities through exhibitions, educational programming and community involvement. The project is sponsored by the Pierro Gallery and the South Orange Village Alliance. It is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and donations made from sales of art in the Pierro Gallery.

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