Photo of Chapin Hall, home of the Cali School of Music

Montclair’s Newest Public Art: Reverberations of Reawakenings

Three Montclair State Alumni create a mural in tribute to those lost to COVID-19.

Posted in: Alumni Success Stories, Department of Art and Design News

The first of three sections of the mural
The first of three sections of the mural, Reverberations of Reawakenings, Oct. 10, 2021. (KATE ALBRIGHT / FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

The community gathered in the heart of Upper Montclair on October 10th, 2021 for the opening ceremony of Reverberations of Reawakenings, a 35-by-8-ft. painted mural by local artists and Montclair State University Alumni Lauren Vroegindewey, Marguerite Kaufer, and Nicole Nuzzolo. The mural is in partnership with Montclair Diner currently on view at 613 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ.

The artists present Reverberations of Reawakenings as a reflection on community appreciation and hope for more vibrant days. After living through a pandemic that has resulted in islands of loss and isolation, these artists offer a tribute to those lost due to the pandemic, including Jordan Tassy, who became a Montclairian local hero by pitching in when sanitation workers were hit with a COVID outbreak. Using their vibrant tools of creativity, they have crafted an uplifting vision for this next chapter of Upper Montclair’s history.

The mural is an interactive gift to the public as the community is encouraged to write the names of those lost due to Covid-19 in the clouds of the mural with pens provided by the artists. Norma Tassy, the mother of Jordan Tassy, was the first to write her son’s name on the mural at the opening ceremony; followed by Jordan Tassy’s best friend, Imran Khawaja, adding Jordan’s nickname: Polo. Now months later, dozens have utilized the safe space to write the names of loved ones they lost to Covid-19.

Vroegindewey, Kaufer, and Nuzzolo studied under Professor Julie Heffernan who initiated and proposed the project to the artists through the College of the Arts and Department of Art and Design as a community partnership. The artists conceptualized separate renditions of bright abstract shapes, pop figurations, and romantic landscapes. With further collaboration, the contrasting styles were merged together through the lens of the pandemic; telling the narrative of isolation while offering tribute to those lost due to the pandemic.

The pen remains on the wall of the mural as the public continues to add the names of their loved ones.

Artist Bios:

Lauren Vroegindewey, multimedia artist and humanitarian born in Sonora, California is a video and performance artist, sculptor, and painter exploring notions of sustainability and vulnerability in art, often using her body as a tool. Exhibiting locally and internationally, Vroegindewey is the recipient of a number of awards, including Best Sound Design and Experimental Short for My Bed, Crane Wife, and Achromatic, Stream of Consciousness, which premiered at L.I. MoCA. Her film Cleansing premiered at Costa Rica’s La NoBienal, and a performance art piece entitled My Bed exhibited at Ethan Cohen’s KuBe in Beacon, NY.

Marguerite Kaufer’s work explores the relationship between art and the emotional experience. As abstractions, they are open to interpretation by the viewer; however the work is a physical representation of the emotions Kaufer was feeling at the time she created each artwork. Her work was exhibited in the Rockland County Virtual Arts Festival in 2021. Marguerite’s senior thesis series Visions was exhibited through Fresh Air Montclair at Lackawanna Station, Montclair NJ.

Nicole Nuzzolo‘s creative mind gravitates to a kind of art that explores concepts of identity, complicating our ideas of what constitutes an individual within a society. Founder of Carpe Art for Fresh Air Montclair, Nicole’s artistic education at MSU has expanded to include exploring the entrepreneurial side of teaching art in high schools. As much as Nicole is passionate about making art, she is equally passionate about educating others in the arts.

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