EAST HANOVER, NJ - Banksy Beware!  East Hanover now has an outdoor mural to rival the urban areas!

In cooperation with the East Hanover Board of Education, artist and East Hanover resident Doug Spier has created a 12' x 30' installation "Follow the Light" on school property overlooking the playing fields of Middle School.  The theme of the composition is a celebration of the values of elementary education.  The artist comments on the historical and contemporary roles that murals serve are as follows:

"Mural making is a natural human impulse, as many parents discover with creative children and living room walls.  Paleolithic cave paintings are wall murals 20,000 years old and the oldest known human artistic achievements.  In the Middle Ages, European religious murals conveyed stories and ideas to an illiterate populace.  More recently, artists employed murals for political statements.  Within the past forty years, the emergence of urban street art including graffiti and murals has assumed a vibrant and exciting dominance of public art in cities on a global basis. 

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Though prolific in the urban landscape, murals are largely absent in suburban and rural areas.  Urban murals, like graffiti, are often not commissioned or permitted and frequently represent elements of vandalism not tolerated beyond city limits.  City street art requires large amounts of architecture (frequently decrepit)  that is not available elsewhere.  I would suggest that city living has a level of mental and emotional intensity that favors artistic expression, done often on a public basis. There are many similar social, cultural, and logistical factors that favor the incidence of urban versus non-urban street art.

This mural is therefore unique in part based merely on its location, but also represents notable cooperation between artist and authority.  I therefore offer my profound appreciation to the Superintendent of the EHBOE, Ms. Natalee Bartlett who has been supportive and approving of it's conception and intent, and to the crucial logistical support of the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Mr. Joseph Urso without whom the project's installation would not have been possible.

As stated, the meaning of the mural is a reflection on the values and benefits of a liberal arts education at the elementary level.  I consider the blessings of quality education literally as light coming into our lives.  The depiction of a dawning is therefore imagined and certain key areas of concern and achievement are stated.  Elements of the sky-scape are presented in a stylized fashion for composition and interest. Complimentary colors add to visual impact.  The title is an encouragement.  My intention is, when public health conditions allow, that students will add their painted hand-prints to the lower third of the mural;  my hope is that this practice will continue on-going as a tradition.  This will add to proud awareness and increased individual student identity with Middle School.

My other hope is that this mural will be enjoyed and appreciated as an expression as described by the entire town.  This mural is dedicated to the respected memory of Mr. John Howard, past Principal of EHMS (and my Shop Teacher in the early 60s), and to the loving memory of mother, Mrs. Emma Spier, Elementary and Ist Grade teacher with the EH School system for many years."

To view the mural, enter the EHMS driveway and the mural is on the right.  For further information please contact the artist at: dougspier@gmail.com