If you haven’t been to the Paterson Art Walk before, this is the year to go. We told you all about last year’s Art Walk and the 2015 event—the 7th Annual one—is going on tonight until 7:00pm and tomorrow between 11:00am and 7:00pm. This year’s Art Walk has the famous Alexander’s mural on display as individual panels all over an entire floor of one of Paterson’s amazing old mills.
The mural was gifted to the Bergen Museum of Art and Science which has been looking for a place to house the mural as well as the rest of their permanent collection. They plan to move into The Art Factory in the Fall of 2015 where the Alexander’s mural can be on display all the time. The mural hasn’t been seen in public since 1998 when it was taken down from the store’s facade on Route 4 in Paramus.
Commissioned by Alexander’s Corporation head, George Farkas, Polish artist Stefan Knapp was asked to build a 50 feet high by 200 feet long mural that would cover the entire wall of the Alexander’s store being built in Paramus in 1960. It was designed, built and completed in 18 months and was ready to display in 1961. The panels are metal with enameled paint applied in a technique known only to Knapp at the time. This technique made the art weather-proof and able to hang outside in the rough NJ weather without special treatment. It’s probably also the reason that it stayed looking great all those years in storage, too.
Close inspection of the individual panels show the degree of skill that Knapp had. Each panel could stand alone as a piece of art. He was photographed creating the mural using paint brushes the size of mops but many panels look painstakingly created with much more delicate tools. In fact, I think that being up close with each individual panel was my favorite part of seeing the mural like this. We spent several minutes at a time looking at some of the more intricate panels.
The Art Factory is an amazing historical landmark that rents out space to working artists as well as to groups and individuals for events. The Art Walk encompasses other buildings up and down Spruce but The Art Factory is the hub of the entire event.
Check out all our pictures of the Alexander’s mural below (including a visit with Rep. Bill Pascrell) and stay tuned later this weekend for our coverage of the entire 7th Annual Paterson Art Walk.
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