A Whitney Houston mosaic mural comprised of 1,000 pounds of hand-cut glass being created by Newark artist Maude Lemaire will grace a building near Teachers Village in the Central Ward.
Installation of the 19-foot by 28-foot mural began recently and is expect to be completed in late-November with a virtual unveiling event featuring one-on-one interviews with Artist Maude Lemaire, as well as key stakeholders from Prudential Financial, Prudential Center, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District.
Prudential Center and Prudential Financial Inc. worked in partnership with Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District and Baldwin Equities to make the determination to install the mural on the façade of William House, a new community-focused mixed-use project featuring apartments and a variety of amenities. It will be placed directly next to Teachers Village and sit just three blocks from Prudential Center.
The collaboration is another example of revitalization efforts underway in Newark and honors the city’s rich musical roots.
“We are excited to collaborate with the City of Newark, Newark Arts, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, the Estate of Whitney Houston and the Prudential Center for the Whitney Houston mosaic mural project,” said Shané Harris, vice president, head of Social Responsibility & Partnerships, Prudential Financial, Inc.
The economic and intangible benefits of public art are well known, including the power of murals to celebrate the unique and rich cultural history of a place, while transforming spaces that increase foot traffic and tourism, and contributing to the growing vibrancy of a neighborhood, Harris said. The newest mural installation is the second of five murals planned for the city.
“This second mural continues Prudential’s commitment to creating new cultural spaces which celebrate Newark’s vibrant arts community with residents in the Central Ward."
Houston was born in Newark and began singing at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, led the music program for many years. Her cousin, singer Dionne Warwick, also sang in the choir.
Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles in Feb. 11, 2012. Her funeral service was held at New Hope and she is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield.
Natasha Moody, the senior vice president of Business Operations for the Prudential Center said Whitney Houston’s dynamic career remains one of the most decorated in music history and the mural will forever celebrate her connection to and impact on the city of Newark.
“We are honored to bring this extraordinary mural to life in Newark’s Central Ward," Moody said. "The mural serves as another powerful reminder of the Whitney Houston’s legacy, as well as the rich music history of the city and the state of New Jersey.
“We are excited to collaborate with the City of Newark, Newark Arts, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, the Estate of Whitney Houston and the Prudential Center for the Whitney Houston mosaic mural project,” said Shané Harris, vice president, head of Social Responsibility & Partnerships, Prudential Financial, Inc. “This second mural continues Prudential’s commitment to creating new cultural spaces which celebrate Newark’s vibrant arts community with residents in the Central Ward."
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said Whitney Houston is one of Newark’s most legendary figures in the Newark long history of being a city of great diversity and distinct voices.
"Her voice may have come only once in a lifetime, but her songs and her sound will move and inspire generations for years to come," Baraka said. "Creating a mural in her honor in her native city not only recognizes her great talent but enables today’s talent to shine, adding new pages to our artistic history.”
Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica R. McIver, Council Member, Central Ward, City of Newark, said she was thrilled to have a mural of Whitney Houston installed in her ward.
"This dedication has been in the works for a very long time and is long overdue," McIver said. "Whitney Houston is an icon to the world and especially to us here in Newark. This honor is so well deserved. Thank you to all the partners who made this possible.”
Pat Houston, executor of the Estate of Whitney E. Houston said having a mural in Newark is an honor for her legacy.
"This Mural represents a continuation of an iconic legend who undoubtedly will be remembered as the greatest voice for centuries to come," Houston said.
Maude Lemaire is a self- taught artist with glass medium and her objective is to bring more vibrant colors and shapes with an avant-garde touch into the world. Her works consists of modern, timeless, and unique mosaic concepts and have depicted famous portraits created in a variety of colored tiles and sizes.
Lemaire has been commissioned by the cities of Newark and Jersey City to create and install personal conceptual mosaic works in several locations.
Houston has sold over 200 million combined albums, singles and videos internationally throughout her career with Arista Records and is the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 songs.
Houston was also the first woman to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 with her second album, Whitney.
Whitney is a 2020 inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which will broadcast on November 7 on HBO and an estate-sanctioned biopic is currently being planned for a 2022 release.