SOMERVILLE, NJ - Work is expected to begin shortly on an outdoor mural in a walkway off West Main Street that will celebrate the life and art of Jerome Gonzalez, a prolific artist and author who played a major role establishing the thriving arts community in Somerville.
He died at the age of 44 in February, 2018 competing in an endurance race in North Carolina.
Gonzalez, a talented graffiti artist who was equally adept working on canvas or paper, graduated Somerville High School in 1992.
His good friend, Shaun Daley, co-owner of the Gallery on Main at 30 West Main St., is coordinating the project with partner Michelle Kassick, with a GoFundMe page established to raise funds.
The mural will be painted on the stucco facade of a building near Daley's gallery, alongside a walkway that leads to a municipal parking lot behind the Main Street buildings.
Artists are expected in the next few weeks to begin tracing the outlines of the artwork that will cover the walls, according to Daley
One of the artists working on the project, Alejandro Medina, created a poster of Gonzalez which is being sold at the gallery, with all proceeds donated to the project.
The Borough Council and the Arts on Division organization have given their approvals for the project, according to Daley.
The father of two young sons, Gonzalez was truly a modern-day Renaissance man, according to Daley.
Gonzalez was a high-profile, enthusiastic supporter of the arts in Somerville, eager and willing to pitch in wherever help was needed, from cleaning up a vacant store to host a pop-up gallery show to contributing his considerable artistic flair.
He played a key role in attracting fellow artists to produce graffiti murals for display during the annual Arts on Division outdoor shows the past two years.
Donations can be made to cover the expenses of the project online at https://www.gofundme.com/jerome-gonzalez-mural-project