We will utilize funds raised on CrowdRise to expand efforts started in 2017 to activate a pedestrian alley between Main Street and the Pearl Street Parking lot. The prior phase of the project involved painting a colorful inscription on the pavement with the quote “Imagination is more important than knowledge” as attributed to Albert Einstein. Other additions included plantings, movable chairs, patio string lights with Edison bulbs, and Adirondack chairs made from shipping pallets to further accent this much-loved community space. Immediately upon completing “Imagination Alley” last October residents flocked to it, took pictures, and an impromptu children’s play was even staged.
Through utilizing an iterative project delivery approach, we seek to further refine the place through low-cost short-term experiments. The primary intervention will be an approximately 20x80 foot mural undertaken by local artist Edward Wetzel. The mural will touch on themes relating to the history of Metuchen from Native American times through present. Anchoring one end will be a reproduction of a classic Metuchen home and details including a front porch. Sitting on the porch will be Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, both of whom lived in New Jersey and were known to pass through Metuchen at times. Their portraits will be framed in such a way that people can stand beside them and create “Instagrammable” photos that can be widely distributed and shared. Other subjects we hope to feature are a cross section of Metuchen residents from past to present, interspersed with depictions of items taken from material culture from periods being explored such as a plow, a carriage, and a soccer ball.
To enhance the function of this space as one where performance may occur, we’ll design a temporary stage/platform that can be brought in for official poetry readings, concerts, and events.
The funding we raise through CrowdWise will go towards the artist commission and any material costs associated with this next phase of the project. Should we be awarded additional grants through A Community Thrives, this will help with activation of additional public spaces throughout Metuchen, including a series of murals and street banners by internationally famed artist Stephen Powers.