ELIZABETH, NJ - The Elizabeth Avenue Partnership (EAP) announced this week that they have been chosen to receive a Downtown Excellence Award by Downtown New Jersey (DNJ) for its “Student Art and Mural Project” spotlighting the magnificent collaboration with local art students to decorate, beautify and bring to life the seasons on Elizabeth Avenue.

According to EAP Executive Director, Dave Strochak, for the last few years the EAP has embarked on a downtown beautification and mural project which included working with art teachers and students from the Elizabeth Public Schools to create life-like wooden Toy Soldiers, Snowmen, Scarecrows and most recently colorful Flower Planter cutouts.” In addition to the vibrant seasonal decorations, the EAP also conducted an art contest from students in grades 8-12 where the winners were chosen to paint murals on city traffic utility boxes located throughout the district,” Strochak said. More than 25 students and art teachers from 11 different schools were chosen to paint the decorative murals, some depicting the history and culture of Elizabeth at several locations on Elizabeth Avenue. We are extremely pleased to be recognized for our efforts.”

The EAP’s nomination was for the “Tools of the Trade” Category under Creative Placemaking and marks the second time the EAP has won a DNJ Excellence Award, the first was for their creative Marketing Plans several years ago.

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“Congratulations to the Elizabeth Avenue Partnership and our young artists, on being chosen as the Downtown Excellence Award recipient for the Downtown Student Art & Mural Project,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage.  “With support from the EAP, these talented and remarkable students continue to elevate their artistic contributions throughout our community. Their creativity and interpretive abilities are extraordinary and their vivid, visual expressions continue to inspire all throughout our municipality.”

“One of our missions at the EAP is to foster a closer relationship with our community,” said EAP Chairman Angel L. Rodriguez. This award recognizes that accomplishment, and more importantly, shows what the kids in our district are capable of. Working hand in hand with the Elizabeth Board of Education and our local city leaders, this award enables us to show our best to a wider audience. We thank the Downtown NJ Conference for this award and look forward to closer collaboration in future endeavors!”

The wooden cutouts, designed by the art teachers and painted by the students, were used to decorate the Union Square Plaza area of Elizabeth Avenue while 14 murals were painted on the Traffic Boxes as well as the respective school and logo on each side of the box.

 “The Elizabeth Avenue Partnership has long been committed to bringing out the best of our city and showing the world why Elizabeth is a destination unlike any other,” said Board President Stephanie G. Pestana. “The Board is grateful that the EAP and the City of Elizabeth provide Elizabeth Public Schools art students with the opportunity to take pride in their community and give back to it through their artistic expressions. Projects like these allow multiple generations of Elizabethans to both connect with one another and to connect with the storied history of their city.”

“On behalf of Elizabeth Public Schools, I would like to congratulate Elizabeth Avenue Partnership for their well-deserved recognition by Downtown New Jersey Inc.,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “The art and mural project has been a wonderful collaboration between the EAP, the City of Elizabeth, and our art students and teachers. It truly is a win for everyone as our students and teachers are given the opportunity to share their amazing talents with such a large number of people, while the city and its residents benefit from a community beautified with art that celebrates Elizabeth’s rich history and diversity.”

The EAP will be presented with The Annual Excellence Award at an Awards Luncheon during the 2019 DNJ Conference at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, October 18th at Westminster Arts Center in Bloomfield, NJ.

“Our students and teachers who participated in the project were so excited to hear that their work was recognized with such a great distinction,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Supervisor of Visual & Performing Arts Tracy Monteiro. “They all put a tremendous amount of work and dedication into creating a more vibrant Elizabeth downtown and I am proud to see their efforts be rewarded. I would personally like to thank David Strochak and the Elizabeth Avenue Partnership for providing our students and teachers with such a unique platform to share their artistic talents with the residents and visitors of Elizabeth.”

 “For many years, DNJ has recognized organizations and individuals that have made important and sustained contributions to the understanding and promotion of downtowns in New Jersey,” said DNJ Executive Director, Courtenay Mercer. Thanks for your remarkable work, and we look forward to seeing you on October 18th in Bloomfield.”

DNJ is an organization of individuals, businesses, government agencies, and local and regional organizations that are passionate about downtowns.

The Elizabeth Avenue Partnership (EAP) is a non-profit organization, designated by the City of Elizabeth to manage the Elizabeth Avenue Special Improvement District (SID).  Since 1999, the EAP’s mission has been to revitalize and enhance all aspects of the shopping district.  By focusing on the following areas; aesthetics, safety and security, parking and quality business development, the Elizabeth Avenue Shopping district continues to become a more attractive and safer place for fun shopping, fine dining and first-rate merchandise.