In May of 2011 we drove down to Vineland in Cumberland County to witness the first day of painting on a large scale mural project. We revisited the muralists through out the summer and were there when the piece was dedicated in December.

The concept was to create a significant work of art through the involvement of a diverse community. The hope was and continues to be that public art projects bring communities together, foster pride and inspire revitalization.

Most everyone we met told the same story about the town. It had seen better times. It had declined. It was ready for a rebound and efforts were already underway to help draw out prosperity again. It sounded a bit like America to me. And the art part of the plan sounded familiar too. Somehow, changing the perspective, even superficially, focusing on the exterior, beautification...has the power to draw out what's inside, what's left, what's needed for rebirth. And that appears to be true for both commerce and people.

And the most striking and interesting surprise of the time we spent with the people of Vineland, the muralists, was how the process, the painting invited their openness and encouraged them to share pieces of themselves as they worked. Mural designer Cesar Viveros Herrera crafted the imagery, the history and heritage of the town into the design, but there was a sense through out the painting that it was personal history that was mixing and blending on the canvas or through our cameras.

            Enjoy Driving Jersey: Vineland...a video mural of the power of art.

The Vineland Mural project, created through the auspices of Appel Farms Arts & Music Center (Elmer, NJ), was one half of a two part project. A second mural was painted in neighboring Bridgeton. Both murals were sponsored by PNC Bank's Arts Alive program, a 5 million dollar initiative designed to support the visual and performing arts. The process was facilitated by Main Street Vineland. Painting began in May and concluded in August. The official dedication came just a few days before Christmas 2011.






Music for Driving Jersey: Vineland was created by Ryan Bott, the following and Helena Espvall. If you'd like to find out more about Appel Farms Arts & Music Center, check them out on the web at: Among other cool things that go down at the Farm, Appel produces an annual music and arts festival the first Saturday of June that never disappoints.