Longest Mural on the East Coast Will be in Newark, NJ; Mayor Ras J. Baraka Kicks Things Off With the Newark Downtown District

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Mayor Ras J. Baraka and the Newark Downtown District Announce "Gateways to Newark: Portraits" Longest Mural on the East Coast and Second Longest Mural in the Nation 1.39 mile project along Newark's Route 21 welcomes visitors, residents and commuters.

Gateways to Newark: Portraits Mural Gera

Artist: Gera

These murals not only enhance our city's entryways, but also serve as strong visual reminders of the creativity, commitment and authenticity of the 330,000 people that work and live in Newark

Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Deputy Mayor Baye Adofo-Wilson City of Newark Department of Economic & Housing Development (EHD), Newark Downtown District (NDD) CEO Anthony McMillan, and Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark Community EDC) Acting President & CEO Scott Blow announced today the transformation of the walls under the Amtrak train tracks along Route 21 in Newark into the country's second longest mural -- approximately the length of 25 football fields. Phase I of the Gateways to Newark project, "Portraits," is one of several beautification initiatives that will spur economic growth, enhance city views and markedly improve visual aesthetics for travelers entering Newark from both Newark International Airport and Newark Penn Station.

Rebecca Pauline Jampol will serve as curator for this epic, 1.39-mile-long mural. Stretching along the Route 21 (McCarter Highway) Amtrak retention wall, “Portraits” will be created by 17 highly-acclaimed local, national, and international artists. Their pieces will reflect the City's rich and diverse culture, foster communal dialogue, and celebrate the arts, while beautifying Route 21 for the 1.1 million monthly-commuters who traverse the highway.

“The Gateways to Newark project—and specifically the Portraits mural—will have a monumental impact on people's perceptions of the City,” said Newark Downtown District CEO Anthony McMillan. “The NDD has worked for nearly two decades to make downtown Newark cleaner, greener and safer. The results of our hard work are evident throughout the district and now along McCarter Highway. Portraits represents our continued commitment to our partners, residents, Mayor Baraka and the City to develop downtown Newark."

As the City celebrates its 350th anniversary, the artists have designed pieces that pay homage to Newark's history while also celebrating its present and future. Coming from as far away as Brazil, and as close to home as Newark, the diverse group of male and female artists reflects the ethnic and cultural tapestry of the region.

“Portraits” celebrates the uniqueness and oneness of our City," said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. "The murals honor our rich history, cultural intersections, and narratives of day-to-day life here in Newark. The images represent a powerful, yet entertaining and spirited, compilation of visual expressions."

"These murals not only enhance our city's entryways, but also serve as strong visual reminders of the creativity, commitment and authenticity of the 330,000 people that work and live in Newark," said Deputy Mayor Wilson. "While Portraits will be completed in a few short weeks, they are sure to stimulate the City's economy for decades."

"We are proud to partner with the City and the downtown district in cultivating Newark's social and economic capital," said Newark Community EDC Acting President & CEO Scott A. Blow. "We understand and value the role of the arts in stimulating economic growth and look forward to supporting future Gateways to Newark.

NOTE: High resolution images can be found at http://www.mediadaynewark.com

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Cheryl McCants

Lena Corbo
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