PATERSON, NJ - There will be no missing Paterson’s long and proud history by those entering or leaving the city through one of its main gateways thanks to the completion of a mural on the New Jersey Community Development Corporation’s (NJCDC) building at 59 Spruce Street.

The art, part of the Great Falls Mural Project, was commissioned by the NJCDC, designed by the team at Brightwell Design, and meticulously painted by local students with the guiding hand of David Thompson and Halls That Inspire, a non-profit he launched that is already responsible for beautiful art in 27 of Paterson’s public schools, one at the Great Falls Overlook Park, and yet one more on a wall adjacent to the historic Hinchliffe Stadium.

“Paterson is ready for a renaissance, and that starts with the arts,” Mayor Andre Sayegh declared at the mural’s unveiling on Friday. Thanking the NJCDC for keeping true to their mission to “promote what’s positive about Paterson,” Sayegh continued that “we are painting Paterson with a different brush.”

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Pointing to the various panels depicting Larry Doby, Lou Costello, and Alexander Hamilton, as well as references to the city’s former silk mills and locomotive manufacturing factories, NJCDC Founder and CEO Bob Guarasci said that the project was part of his organization’s effort to reviving the neighborhood they serve. 

“Arts are a vital part of community development and bringing a city back,” Guarasci said, adding that if visitors want to learn more about Paterson’s “illustrious” history they need now look no further than the corner of Spruce Street and Oliver Street.

Thompson, who always seems poised to take on another project to further his own organization’s efforts to “encourage, inspire, and motivate,” participating students to do great things, acknowledged that this project really pushed the artists working under his watchful eye “to the limit.”

Among them was Crystal Pena, a Paterson student about to enter her junior year at Rosa Parks High School for the Fine and Performing Arts. Pena said it was a “good feeling” not just to have completed the project but to know that it’s one that will encourage people to come to her city to explore more.

Art, she said, “brings light to things,” and this latest masterpiece, she concluded, is helping to “bring beauty to Paterson.”