Art Walk Englewood Showcases Local Talent
June 3, 2019 - Hillary Viders
Mayor Michael Wildes and Scott Reddin (back row, second and first from the right) with youngsters in the Freeze dance contest. | Photo by Hillary Viders
ENGLEWOOD, N.J.—On May 18, Art Walk Englewood was a spectacular celebration of the arts and the Englewood community.
From 1 to 5 p.m., artists of all ages and from all disciplines showed off their talents at Depot Square in Downtown Englewood.
Art Walk Englewood was the first of several community-inclusive events sponsored by Mayor Michael Wildes’ Cultural Affairs Arts and Entertainment Committee, together with the Chamber of Commerce, Englewood Special Improvement District and Age-Friendly Englewood.
Throughout the afternoon, local galleries set up in Depot Square showcased the works of accomplished professionals, as well as hometown artists.
There were displays of painting, crafts and sculpture, some of which was for sale, including from artists Laura Hoyos, Tay Wilson, Kenia Akridge, Samantha W., Angel Duran and more.
Tay Wilson, 18, of Dante’s Style, displays his talent. | Photo by Hillary Viders
There was also a student art gallery with works created by students from the Englewood Public Schools, the Dwight Englewood School, Moriah School, Englewood on the Palisades Charter School, the Ability School and the Bergen Family Center.
Marco Santini, Englewood native and award-winning street artist, fashion designer, photographer and inventor, created a community mural titled, “One Love,” and he invited community members to add their own words.
A centerpiece of the art festival was a Community Mural canvas, “A Place For Everyone,” on which community members signed their names.
The Art Walk also showcased musical and dance performances from the bergenPAC, Geno Five, The Jahz and the Ermito Brothers Band.
The art of makeup was demonstrated by Laura M. Hoyes on model Vanessa Ceballos. | Photo by Hillary Viders
In a highly theatrical performance, Englewood resident Chris Gagliardi belted out several songs, including “Rappers Delight,” by the Sugar Hill Gang, the pioneering rap group from Englewood.
At 3 p.m., it was dance time! In a two-hour procession of dance contests sponsored by Age Friendly Englewood, DJ Scott Reddin had everyone up and rocking. People of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents, showed their snazziest dance moves as Reddin played hip-hop, salsa, rock ‘n’ roll and oldies.
In a particularly hilarious session, Reddin conducted a “Freeze” dance contest for kids with chocolate bar prizes.
Art Walk Englewood also had many more activities for youngsters. The first 200 children received an Art Walk passport. They then earned passport stamps by completing activities at a variety of stations, where they made projects such as a super hero name tag, sand art, CD Case Art, a free-form mural and a custom design on the “Art Walk” using sidewalk chalk.
Children who filled in their passports with activity stamps were rewarded with airbrush tattoos, face painting and there were free gifts to the first 100 kids who collected every stamp.
At the Englewood Public Library booth, kids made necklaces and decorative CD covers. | Photo by Hillary Viders
‘A wonderful collaboration’
Art Walk Englewood and its many activities was the result of a wonderful collaborative effort. The concept of an Art Walk was created and produced by Omar Lopez of the Englewood Family League. He is a member of the cultural affairs committee and runs Englewood Art Walls, an initiative dedicated to bringing public art, community activities and cultural enrichment to Englewood.
Lopez created the design and built the Art Walk Englewood’s student gallery with the help of his personal team. He also produced marketing videos and social media materials to recruit and promote the artists and the event.
Other committee members found sponsors for Art Walk Englewood posters and flyers that were circulated and distributed with the help of local artists, volunteers and the teachers from the participating schools.
DJ Scott Reddin showed his moves to Bethany Rabinowitz. | Photo by Hillary Viders
The Englewood Chamber of Commerce provided public relations and marketing support in addition to logistical support with food, parking and prizes with a donation from Land Rover of Englewood.
Janet Sharma, co-chair of the cultural affairs committee, provided sponsorship from Age-Friendly Englewood for the DJ, the dance party, face painting and materials such as art supplies. Many dedicated residents, such as JoEllen Knie, also volunteered their time and talent to make Art Walk Englewood a success.
Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Dominic Roncace, CEO of the bergenPAC, and the staff of the Performing Arts School at the bergenPAC brought in their wonderful students and rounded out the event.
Looking over the bustling crowd at Depot Square on May 18, Mayor Wildes declared, “The turnout is robust.”
“Englewood City, which is named after trees, is blossoming today, with all the wonderful talent that has come out, both young and old, people of all faiths and backgrounds taking pride in the community and the next generation. I extend my thanks to Omar Lopez and to the Cultural Affairs Committee that I empaneled for this event,” Wildes said.
Gagliardi said, “Today’s event shows what I have always believed, that Englewood is for everybody, just as America is for everybody. In today’s world, we need to show that the greatest events are by people from all walks of life, from all parts of the world. When it comes to art, you have your Picassos, your Van Goghs, your Monets and all sorts of artists. But, you also have local artists who care about life and bring art and talent and all sorts of contributions that make Englewood the people’s city. It’s important to have events like this to make Englewood a place to call your own.”