The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s (NNJCF) ArtsBergen initiative announces the selection of artist Damien Mitchell to create a public art mural for Creative Hackensack’s “Demarest Place Walkway Mural” in Hackensack, New Jersey. NNJCF’s ArtsBergen works with the Hackensack Creative Arts Team (CAT), the Main Street Business Alliance, the City of Hackensack, and Alexander Anderson Real Estate Group. Working together, the group collaborated on this project at 135 Main Street located on the corner of Demarest Place. In addition, Alexander Anderson Real Estate Group granted permission to use the building’s north sidewall.
The selection committee was comprised of representatives from the Main Street Business Alliance, CAT, the City of Hackensack, and the arts community, as well as the Hackensack community-at-large. Together they selected Mitchell after a competitive call to artists in 2018. The committee used these criteria: artistic excellent and quality, creativity of design and fresh interpretation of theme, and experience, as well as the presentation of the application. The work on the public art mural begins this spring in April.
Public Art Reflects the Community
Artists submitted original designs using themes the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen and the CAT gathered from input through public engagement. The themes included A Tribute to Hackensack’s Rich Music/Jazz History and The Lenni Lenape Indians. Additional themes were Key Events in Hackensack’s History or A Contemporary Theme of the Artist’s Choice.
“The best public art has meaning to the community where it is located, while also vitalizing the space. The mural brands and and enlivens Demarest Place, as a unique public walkway from the bus station to the HACPAC, engaging those who live, work, and travel to the city. This will also attract visitors and encourage civic pride,” said Danielle De Laurentis, Associate Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.
Artist Damien Mitchell
Originally from Wagga Wagga in Australia, places and people around Mitchell influence his work. His murals appear worldwide in several locations. This includes Hartford Paints the City in Connecticut in a citywide public art project. Another site is Meeting of Styles in Frankfurt, Germany. Mitchell’s work also appeared in the Empire Insurance office building in New York, New York. In addition, Mitchell’s work graced the Major League Baseball Allstar game in San Diego, California. His work appeared on an album of the year award at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York, New York, among others.
The Hackensack CAT is a group of artists, merchants, organizational leaders and public officials. They collaborate to implement a creative placemaking plan for the City of Hackensack. Creative placemaking integrates arts and culture into a neighborhood, town, or region. Furthermore, this builds community and livability, while boosting the local economy. The “Demarest Place Walkway Mural” is among several projects the CAT identified to implement the city’s Creative Vision Statement. They also developed this with input from various members and sectors of the community.
For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation or ArtsBergen, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-568-5608.