David Adjaye leads top team of international artists to create 30ft Art Wall for Newark

by Kim Megson | 23 Mar 2016

British architect David Adjaye is collaborating with an energy company, a team of top international artists and the City of Newark to create a 30ft high ‘Art Wall’ for the US metropolis.

The project is designed to beautify the protective façade of an electrical switching station in the city’s Fairmount Heights community, which is operated by the Public Service Enterprise Group. It will create construction jobs, provide opportunities for artists and pave the way for a new community centre and green spaces.

Fourteen ethnically and racially diverse male and female artists have been invited to visually interpret the themes of youth, education, history and community culture into creative pieces. Six of the artists are local to Newark and the remaining eight hail countries around the world, including Jamaica and Venezuela.

They will use various mediums, including glass, aluminium and solar-powered metallic sculptures, to create pieces that will be installed near the top of the 48,000sq ft (4,460sq m) wall.

Community forums with architects, artists, local politicians, residents and local leaders were held to develop the Art Wall project and themes the project will explore. It is the first time such an initiative has been implemented in the region.

Adjaye Associates will collaborate with architecture and project management firms WSM Associates and CHC Construction, in addition to the RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation and the Aljira Center for Contemporary Art.

"We reached out to this team because of their proven track records in effectively, respectfully and uniquely representing communities through art,” said the city’s deputy mayor Baye Adofo-Wilson. “We are confident in their ability to oversee the artists and make the residents' visions of the walls come to life."

Nearly US$1.6m (€1.44m, £1.1m) has already been invested in community initiatives and employment schemes in preparation for the project, which will be developed over several years.

Other major urban art projects reviving communities in the US include the Section1 Urban Park in Baltimore and the 100 Gates project in New York’s Lower East Side.

Adjaye Associates recently completed work on the Ashti Foundation in Beirut and have designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open in Washington D.C. on 24 September 2016.

David Adjaye  Newark  Art Wall  New Jersey  architecture  design  urban art 
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British architect David Adjaye is collaborating with an energy company, a team of top international artists and the City of Newark to create a 30ft high ‘Art Wall’ for the US metropolis. The project is designed to beautify the protective façade of an electrical switching station in the city’s Fairmount Heights community, which is operated by the Public Service Enterprise Group. It will create construction jobs, provide opportunities for artists
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The Art Wall project is designed to beautify the protective façade of an electrical switching station in the city’s Fairmount Heights community / David Adjaye Associates
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