LOCAL AND NATIONAL ARTISTS WILL DEVELOP ARTWORK
The first-ever “Art Wall” in the region will deco- rate PSE&G’s Fairmount Heights Switching Station on Central Avenue in Newark. The project will provide jobs for Newark construc- tion workers and allow PSE&G to connect with the community by both creating exciting pub-
lic art and a new community center at the switching sta- tion. So far, the project has put $1.6 million into the local community through the hiring of Newark residents, ven- dors, and firms.
Fourteen local and international artists, six from Newark and eight from as far as Jamaica and Venezuela, will display their talents on the walls of the building’s 30- foot-high, 48,000-square-foot wall. Glass, mosaic, alu- minum, and solar-powered metallic sculptures interpret- ing themes of youth, education, history, and community culture will decorate the upper third of the structure. Newark Deputy Mayor for Economic and Housing Development Baye Adofo-Wilson gave credit to architect Dave Adjaye, who helped with the vision for the project. Adjaye also worked on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“We are happy to announce that once the station is complete, the Urban League of Essex County will lead the development of a new community center and the revitalization of Liberty Park so that residents can enjoy more green space and meaningful recreation while enjoying the station’s Art Walls,” said Vivian Cox Fraser, president/CEO of the Urban League of Essex County.
“This wall is a tourist attraction for this entire city,” said Baraka. “People from all over the world will be com- ing to see international, national, and local artists who’ve collaborated to make beautiful artwork, right here in the Fairmount community, in the West Ward, in Newark.
“We are very pleased to work with PSE&G and its con- tractors to bring jobs and opportunity to Newark’s neighborhoods. But, we are especially pleased to do it in a way that complements the artistic aesthetic of our community,” Mayor Baraka continued. “Superstorm Sandy made it clear that we needed a backup facility in the area, and building one that respected the personality and spirit of the neighborhood was critically important to us. There were lots of voices to be heard in develop- ing this agreement and the collaborative partnership that exists around this project was only possible through the concerted efforts of everyone at City Hall, PSE&G, Councilman McCallum, Vivian Cox Fraser, and of course the community.”
“Today, we are launching a project that reflects PSE&G’s commitment to Newark for more than 100 years,” said Rick Thigpen, PSEG vice president of State Governmental Affairs. “PSE&G’s mission is to provide safe, reliable service to our customers. We also strive to strengthen the communities in which we do business. We’re pleased that we can build this critical facility for reliability while investing in the local economy and cre- ating much-needed local jobs.” Mayor Baraka says the wall will stand out in Newark like nothing else does in the city. —TPC Staff