Jersey City to host first annual mural festival

New event seeks to highlight local art

Murals like this one by Fermin Mendoza at 771 Ocean Ave. will be on display in the city's first annual mural festival next weekend.
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Murals like this one by Fermin Mendoza at 771 Ocean Ave. will be on display in the city's first annual mural festival next weekend.

Jersey City will host its first annual Jersey City Mural Festival from June 5 and 6.

It will take place throughout the city, celebrating vibrant public art, fostering community, and benefiting small businesses affected by the pandemic.

“We started our Mural Arts Program seven years ago, and to be here today announcing the inaugural showcase for our esteemed public arts program is a testament to Jersey City as a known destination for international artists as well as the incredibly talented artists who live and work here,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “This festival aims to uplift our local businesses, while also inspiring creativity through the shared experience of public art with our first large-scale event in over a year.”

The murals will be on more than 30 walls, with free open areas for restaurant popups and food trucks.

Featured artists include Ron English, Queen Andrea, Dragon76, Woes, Boy Kong, Jose Mertz, L’Amour Supreme, and local artists Distort, Pawn, Emilio Florentine, Clarence Rich, Will Power, Paws, Mustart, RORSHACH, Joe Waks, and more.

It features new works by more than 50 artists and is anchored with a new large-scale mural by celebrated artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya.

‘Soothe grief, amplify joy, rally to action’

“Art has the ability to soothe grief, amplify joy, and rally people to action,” said Phingbodhipakkiya. “Stand With Us is meant to be a love letter to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Jersey City. You are seen, you are heard, and you have allies beside you.”

Phingbodhipakkiya, a recent NYC Artist in Residence, is known for her multidisciplinary public artwork that addresses human rights, specifically the rise in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 crisis.

In her large-scale work for the festival, Phingbodhipakkiya will paint the exterior wall of 581 Monmouth Street, near the Holland Tunnel entrance. The mural will be approximately 115 feet wide by 35 feet high, and painted with carbon dioxide-capturing paint, Airlite. According to the company, a 10,000-square-foot section of Airlite can capture the emissions equivalent to 80 to 160 cars per day.

“We believe in the power of art to unify and uplift communities,” said Mana Chief of Staff Theodore Ward. “As longtime members of the Jersey City community with Mana Contemporary, we are thrilled to inaugurate an annual tradition that underscores the importance of shared cultural experiences that also benefit Jersey City small businesses.”

The festival will offer limited edition Beer Cans with Ghosthawk Brewing, proceeds benefiting the NJHRA’s Beverage and Food Employee Crisis Support Fund (BFECS).

Jersey City began its mural arts program in 2013 funded by a Clean Communities Grant.

It is a Mayor’s Office Initiative that links established and emerging local, national, and international mural artists with property owners citywide as part of a beautification program that reduces graffiti, engages local residents, and is transforming Jersey City into an outdoor art gallery.

“We have established Jersey City as a regional anchor for arts and culture in recent years, and an annual festival is a great way to amplify the City’s public art efforts,” said Christine Goodman, director of Jersey City’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Visit www.jcmap.org for more information.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.