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Sculptures on The Ave

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland
By now, you have most likely seen or at least heard of the new company we are keeping on The Ave. As you read the front-page article in this week’s SNJ Today newspaper, you will learn about this very exciting project we have embarked upon, Sculptures On The Ave.
In my column, I want to share a little insight on why we are doing this and what we are looking forward to over the next aix months while having these sculptures in our downtown district. Art, in its many forms, has always been a way to bring people of different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds together. While we may not agree on politics or other topics, we can all agree that art allows us each to interpret what we see, feel or experience based on our own life experiences. Art, whether in the form of a painting, a mural, sculpture, music, dance, or whatever form it may take allows each individual to experience it in a unique way.
Several years ago, we initiated our “Urban Canvases On The Ave” projects by having murals painted on blank walls in our downtown district. We are proud of the three murals that we have completed already, which add to the original mural done by Cesar Viveros-Herrera in 2011. Our fifth mural is currently being completed—a mosaic tile and painted mural on the back wall of the First Methodist Church (Wood and 6th streets).
As an extension of this initiative, we contracted with the Seward Johnson Atelier to bring six life-size sculptures downtown in each of our historic blocks (400-800 blocks). We had two grants we were able to leverage to make this possible—thanks to the generosity of the Cumberland County Cultural & Heritage Commission and the Neighborhood Preservation Program.
We have no intention of just having these sculptures set in place for the next six months and left alone. We will be doing all kinds of fun things over this period. There will be micro-events centered around the sculptures and the neighboring business, which will help activate our murals. (Three of the sculptures sit in front of murals to complement them.) Be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages, visit our website and join our e-mail newsletter list. You will find out much more by visiting:
As an example of a micro-event, our first will be “Paws On The Ave” to celebrate National Dog Day. In front of the Landis Marketplace is a statue called “Yuck, Go Fetch.” On Saturday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. we will be celebrating our four-legged friends. We will have DJ Tony Gambino providing music, T&F Camera will take pet photos with the statue, and many vendors who cater to our pets will be on hand. There’s parking behind the Landis Marketplace on Elmer Street.
Stay tuned, there will be a whole lot more to come. Take a stroll on our “Walk The Ave’’ trail downtown and you will see all six of our sculptures on display. Feel free to take a selfie and don’t forget to tag us #TheAVE.
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Be sure to join us on Sunday, August 27 at our Food Trucks On The Ave event, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information may be found at:

On the Ave