BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- The Bloomfield Cultural Commission (BCC) has received grant funding for two public art murals to be strategically placed in the Township of Bloomfield in 2018. The funding, totaling $2,125, comes from the Essex County Local Art Grant for Public Art Murals.

In addition to two new public art murals, this grant will help jumpstart a project that began in June of 2017, when the Bloomfield Township Council selected a mural design submitted by local artist Valerie Light of Infinite Scenic LLC, East Orange to be painted onto a vacant building. The original building is no longer scheduled for design; however, the Bloomfield Center Alliance contacted a nearby building owner to make the project a reality and the parties are currently ongoing negotiations.

"The approved ‘Welcome to Bloomfield’ mural will add character to a building in the commercial center of downtown Bloomfield, continuing the revitalization of our downtown district as a whole. Adding aesthetic beauty to this area is one of many ways the Township Council has sought to show our residents and businesses that we understand quality of life extends beyond taxes, education and essential services. The BCC and specifically Michael Sceurman and Freeholder Carlos Pomares have done a fantastic job ensuring Bloomfield is a home for the arts community and our local artists have the opportunities and resources to add beauty to public facades,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “I look forward to the completion of new murals in Bloomfield in the coming months."

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“During my term as a Bloomfield Councilman and now as an Essex County Freeholder, I have sought opportunities to recognize the important role public art plays in shaping our communities. I was an early advocate for publicly funding art murals by local artists to bring added character to public spaces, and I am excited to see new projects come to life,” said Freeholder and former Bloomfield Councilman-At-Large Carlos Pomares, who is also the Executive Director of the Cuban Artists Fund. “I am confident the BCC and Bloomfield Township Council will use this funding to select enriching projects in keeping with the sensibilities of our community and its artist population.”

Founded in 1976, the BCC’s  mission is to contribute to the cultural enrichment of Bloomfield and support local arts. The BCC is comprised of five appointed commissioners to oversee the cultural and arts programming, and operates under the Township’s Department of Recreation. To select artists, the Township will put out a call for artists by request for proposal for each specific site. The BCC will accept proposals and review them and then present the top three recommendations to the Mayor and Council who will select the winning mural for each location.

“We are grateful to the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs for acknowledging the public benefits of constructing artistic murals in public areas to rejuvenate entire neighborhoods. This funding will allow us to go forward with Valerie Light’s vision of a ‘Welcome to Bloomfield’ botanical postcard style mural, which residents in the community are very excited about,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Sceurman. “This grant funding will also enable us to select another local artist’s project to rejuvenate two additional locations.”

Founded in 1966 under the New Jersey Department of State, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts provides grant funding various local agencies including the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, which manages the Essex County Local Art Grant for Public Murals.