Run, Don’t Walk To The 7th Annual ArtWalk In Paterson
Many adults can still remember the magnificent piece of abstract art lodged in their memory from the days of their youthful journeys to Alexander’s Department Store on Rte. 4 in Paramus. The 200-foot-by-50-foot mural was a welcoming site with its exciting, bold splashes of blue, red and orange colors, offering a hint as to what awaited you inside the store
Take a trip down memory lane at the 7th Annual ArtWalk in Paterson, New Jersey where the iconic former Alexander’s mural, owned by the Bergen Museum of Art and Science since 1998, will be on display to the public for the first time in over twenty years.
A decision to relocate the 250-ton, 280-paneled, Stefan Knapp enamel mural from Bergen County to Passaic County created a tug-of-war not only between the two counties, but within Bergen County, as well. Carlstadt’s Mayor Will Roseman, who claims “he saved the mural from the wrecking ball almost twenty years ago”, advocates the artwork was donated to the Bergen Museum of Art and Science in 1998 for ‘the people of Bergen County, and, therefore must remain in Bergen County”. The mural was temporarily stored in the town’s DPW garage until the museum could find a place to display it. Due to its massive dimensions, this became an impossibility -besides sheer size; it became a challenge to find a new location to accommodate its weight. Apparently it had been commissioned specifically for the Paramus site, and in turn, the Alexander’s building was constructed with the intention of supporting such a heavy display on its side wall. As recently as this past winter, the mural had no prospects for a new home
James Waldron, president of the non-profit museum, said the borough’s public works director recently gave them a July 1st deadline to get the painting out of storage, and he accepted an offer from the Art Factory in Paterson, who “gave the Bergen Museum a 200-foot-by-40-foot area to display the long-unseen work. It’s leaving Bergen County, because no one in the county could handle it. Now several panels will be on display at Art Factory’s ArtWalk for everyone to see up-close”.
Earlier this year, when a New York Times article was published about the mural facing a July 1 eviction deadline, it came to the attention of Art Factory director David Garsia. “I thought, this might be something these folks needed,” he said, adding, “They can come with us for as long as they want to stay and maybe we can have some type of agreement where we can open this up and show this to the public. If they want to leave, they take it with them. It belongs to them.” The Art Factory covered the costs of transportation, which ran close to $15,000.
Dorothy Nicklus, Vice President of the museum added, “We loved the idea. An agreement was then drawn up between Art Factory and the museum that Art Factory would be stewards of the mural by transporting it, storing it and displaying what it could of the mural. The ownership of the mural would remain with the museum”
However, Mayor Roseman, who has not seen that agreement, voiced concern that “it is being moved out of Bergen County to Passaic County, and the mural will make its way out of that county and ultimately be sold”. As a result of his fears, Mayor Roseman refused to release the last of three pallets containing additional panels of the mural.
7th Annual ArtWalk
70 Spruce Street
Paterson, New Jersey 07501
June 13th and June 14th
11:00am until 7:00pm
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