Song of the Passaic
Riverfront Park, 537 Raymond Boulevard
Newark Murals / Newark Public Art Program
Community Partner: Ironbound Community Corporation
Artists: Lead Artist Kevin Blythe Sampson with James Wilson, Cesar Melgar, and Daniel Brophy
Wall Owner: Seidler Chemical Company
Arts Administrator: City Without Walls
A partnership between the wall’s owner, Seidler Chemical Company, and the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) nominated the wall to the Newark Public Art Program‘s annual Call for Walls, explaining that the story of community organizing behind the new park deserved to be told through public art in the park itself. As one of six selected sites for 2012, the Newark Public Art Program convened and led a team of artists headed by Kevin Sampson to work with ICC and Ironbound residents to develop the design and produce the mural.
The painting shows a fantasy steampunk version of the area’s relationship to the river, visualizing how the river, the city, and residents have mechanically grown into one another in both amazing productive and frighteningly poisonous ways. Most of all it shows how people have come together to improve this system, including creating the park that the mural overlooks.