New Sculpture Walk on River Road Brings Visual and Physical Benefits

Residents are invited to share in the creative joy experienced by strolling along the Highland Park Sculpture Walk, opening on April 30, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. The Walk comprises seven sculptures lining the path along River Road leading to the beginning of Johnson Park. The project, a collaboration between the Highland Park Arts Commission and the Mason Gross School of the Arts, seeks not only to beautify areas of Highland Park, but also to display the art and hard work of local artists.

The sculptures  were created by a group of Masters of Fine Arts students at the Mason Gross School. The featured artists include: Joshua Araujo, Sam Ashford, Ryan Chin, Yu Rim Chung, Julia Hickey, Renana Neuman, Shark Senesac, Jett Strauss, Bryan Volta, Jack Warner, and Stephen Williams.

Supervising the students and the installation was Professor Patrick Strzelec.“When I think of Mason Gross students, it’s more about free-thinking in how they work,” said Professor Strzelec while watching one of the sculptures being pieced together. “They come in as artists and leave as independent thinkers.

“They had to present it to the arts committee here in Highland Park, which was great. The students kind of blew the arts committee away. I was think the arts committee members were going to choose just two pieces of art. Instead, the committee accepted all of them,” said Professor Strzelec, referring to the submission process.

Some of the pieces that will appear along River Road are the product of two years of brainstorming and creation, while others were created solely for this venture. The artists could be seen around their sculptures with shovels, drills, ladders, and even a crane as they positioned their designs and mounted them in their temporary homes.

“The exhibit will be here through Labor Day,” said Highland Park Councilman Phil George, also overseeing the installation. “We hope to make this a more ongoing program with Mason Gross and our local artist community here in Highland Park.”

“I’d also like to give special thanks to the Middlesex County Freeholders and Rick Lear with Middlesex County Parks and Recreation for their help with this project,” said Councilman George.

In addition to the Highland Park Arts Commission and the Mason Gross School of the Arts, other sponsors for the project include County Concrete Corp., Harry Gordon Studios, Smooth-on, The Home Depot, and Digital Atelier.

When asked about the scope of the Sculpture Walk and adding new sculptures in the future, Professor Strzelec mused, “It could be a year project and have a big event at the end. To do this in two months… is a big undertaking for one class. They worked their butts off.”

The grand opening of the Highland Park Sculpture Walk will be Sunday, April 30, 1:30 p.m., the Eugene Young Environmental Education Center, 20 River Road, Highland Park, NJ.


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