EDISON, NJ – Internationally renowned artist, Fernando Silva, unveiled the gift of his extraordinary talent to the township of Edison on Wednesday, September 28 at The Edison Municipal Complex. The air was charged with anticipation as state and local dignitaries were on-hand to witness the revelation of two distinctive murals, created, crafted, and now attached to the two walls that provide the breezeway into the once stark municipal complex.
Edison Arts Society President, Gloria Dittman, whose vision it was to beautify the entry way to the complex greeted the crowd enthusiastically. “Eighteen years ago Kathryn Spadoro and Angelo Orlando got together to create the Edison Arts Society to bring the arts into the community. Our mission is to educate, entertain, cultivate, and foster a love for all the arts, including theater, music, poetry, dance, and the visual arts. Today's event marks another moment in the history of the EAS that illustrates our dedication to the cause.”
Dignitaries included Senator Patrick Diegnan, Edison Mayor, Tom Lankey, Edison Police chief, Bryan, Council President, Joe Coyle, Councilmen Len Sendelsky, Bob Diehl, and Sapana Shah. Theresa Ward and Beth Moroney, members of the Edison Board of Education were present as well.
One of the most distinguished guests to attend was Pedro Olivero, the Consulate to Portugal, who made his second trip to Edison in a year in honor of Fernando Silva, who was born in Portugal. Olivero greeted the crowd by praising Silva's latest achievement, saying “I would like to congratulate Fernando and the Edison Arts Society for this wonderful work.”
Dittman explained the process of making her idea into a reality, which took years of perseverance. “Years ago I envisioned having a mural created for this entryway, a mural that would depict the 'Wizard of Menlo Park' and also businesses and individuals who have contributed over the years to our great community.” Dittman had conceived the idea of a painted mural originally, but Fernando Silva had a more enduring idea. Since painted murals are subject to severe climate issues, Silva wanted to create a tile mural, which ultimately amounted to making 400 handmade and painted tiles, taking over 3000 hours to design, paint, glaze, and affix to the wall of the Municipal Complex.
While Silva worked on the style of the artwork, Dittman furiously solicited names of businesses and people who had made contributions to the township of Edison over the years, making sure to include the most distinguished she could find. Dittman also sought benefactors from the business community and acknowledged all of them for their largesse in making her dream a reality.
The contributors to the project, without whom it would not have been possible, were Ardex Americas, Certified Kitchens, Community Hospital Group (JFK), Devine's Pharmacy, Dittman Incentive Marketing, Edison Arts Society, Edison Chamber of Commerce, Edison Fire Department, the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park, the Edison Police Department, the Edison Water Company, Federal Business Centers, Firestone Auto Care, George Maneira, Green Construction Inc.
The Heritage at Clara Barton, International Technidyne Corporation, Middlesex County College, Jade Dynasty Restaurant, the Jewish Community Center of Edison, Magyar Band, Mark. L. Polansky, New Age Stone, LLC, Picture-It-Awards, the Pines Manor, Provident Bank, Reilly Financial Services, Robert Karabinchak, St. James Episcopal Church, and Unity Bank.
Each of the generous benefactors received a tile done personally for them by Silva to commemorate their part in this historic event.
Also, an original song, written and sung by musician Andy Bernstein, was played to honor the contributions of the township's name sake, Thomas Alva Edison. The song, available on CD, is entitled “The Incandescent Light Bulb Blues,” and just added to the ambiance of an event that truly honored the proud history of Edison Township.
Dittman noted in her opening statements that Edison has just been cited in Money Magazine as one of the top fifty American towns in which to live. “We were given the ranking 19 in America, and fourth in the state of New Jersey. It is because of events like this, making sure that the arts are recognized in our community that we were given this ranking.”
Dittman also introduced Allison Paellelo, an Art teacher at J.P. Stevens High School and several of her students from Stevens as well. Dittman explained, “We asked every private and public school in Edison to create their own tiles to include in the mural. Some did, and some were not able to. For those schools who were unrepresented, the Art Students of J.P. Stevens created tiles for them so that all the schools in the township are now represented.”
Dittman mentioned, also, that the EAS provides several scholarships to underclassmen to pursue a love of art, at the high schools and one a Middlesex County College each year to help youngsters pursue their dreams of achieving great things at an early age.
Mayor Lankey presented Dittman with a plaque, acknowledging her great efforts in bringing this incredible project to fruition. He thanked his personal staff, the Public Works Department in getting the site cleaned up and ready to have the mural installed, and the town council for their support in moving forward as well. “Make sure that you visit the Edison Art Society Gallery on the Third Floor of the Municipal Building,” Mayor Lankey recommended to those assembled. Dittman added that the magnificent work of Nella Zadri, another internationally acclaimed artist, is displayed currently in the Gallery.
The Mayor closed the festivities by reading a proclamation in Silva's honor for all the fine work and talent that he has brought to the township of Edison. A delicious buffet, provided by the Pines Manor, punctuated an exhilarating evening in Edison Township.