LAMBERTVILLE, NJ - The gazebo at Mary Sheridan Park, in Lambertville, currently features the Black Lives Matter Garden of Remembrance and Reflection, which will stay through at least July 19.
The installation was done by a group of Lambertville artists, and sponsored by Indivisible Lambertville/New Hope.
According to a release, it was created by artists Alexis Berends, Katie O'Neill and Dolores Dragan, and is a candlelit gazebo that features a large image of a silhouetted mother and child, reminiscent of George Floyd's cry for his mother at the time of his death.
"After the Black Lives Matter demonstrations globally, we felt it was important to continue to create awareness locally about the history and damaging effects of systemic racism," O'Neill said in the release. "The garden was intended to create a space for the community to come to process and reflect as well as provide educational tools for our continued call to action. The doors that accompany the mother and child image are representative of the past and the lives that have been lost, as well as the light of hope for envisioning a more equal and loving path forward together."
Mary Jane Legere, a leader with Indivisible Lambertville/New Hope and liaison to the artists, said Dragan had done a display several years ago, around when Tamir Rice was killed, for Black Lives Matter
"When everything happened with George Floyd, Alexis was talking to a friend and said she wanted to get together with Dolores and do some sort of installation," Legere said.
Legere said they talked about creating an image of a mother holding a child.
"I got the permission from the people in the town to use the gazebo at the park," she said. "It's set up, very quiet and peaceful, and people are leaving notes on rocks and stones."
Legere said the installation was set up by June 19, and it has been going very well and been very well-received.
The release said visitors to the site can put messages or images on rocks that have been provided for that purpose. They can also take a copy of the "Say Their Names Pledge" that lists all the people of color who have died at the hands of law enforcement, and it includes a pledge to commit to be an activist in the fight against systemic racism.
Berends and O'Neill designed the installation, and sought assistance from Dragan, who was Berend's art teacher, and is well-known for the Halloween display she creates on Union Street each year.
The display is currently scheduled to be up through July 19, but Legere said she is hoping they will get permission to keep it up through at least the end of July.
"It's going well, there have been no issues," she said. "Some kids are doing marches to keep up the momentum, and sometimes they end up at the park and do a couple speeches. This is the center of town."