Dunellen, NJ – Residents, business owners and visitors are invited to share their opinions and ideas on possible locations, themes and more regarding future mural installations in the Borough of Dunellen. All are invited to complete the five-minute Dunellen Mural Survey at tinyurl.com/2021DunellenMuralSurvey by Friday, September 10.

The survey is being administered by the Borough of Dunellen in partnership with Dr. David Listokin’s graduate level class at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. This is Dunellen’s second time partnering with Dr. Listokin and, this time around, Professor Raul Ayala from Mason Gross School of the Arts will be involved as well. The Fall 2021 studio class, “Analysis of Murals as an Arts and Economic Revitalization Strategy: National, New Jersey and Dunellen Perspectives” will use the Dunellen Mural Survey results as a starting point to gauge the community’s interests in murals and develop an appropriate plan of action for the studio. Anticipated outcomes will be a community engagement activity for the creation of a potential mural installation, in addition to a report about the benefits of murals, case studies, planning framework and visual arts mural framework. Recommendations from this work may influence future policy and artwork in the Borough. “I am excited to announce this relationship between Dunellen and Rutgers University,” Mayor Jason Cilento said. “In classic downtown corridors such as Dunellen, public displays of art tend to attract people, help energize spaces and create more visually appealing environments. I am happy that – through this studio – we will be planning the implementation of a public vision of art for our downtown. We’re really excited to work with Dr. Listokin again and look forward to hearing the community’s ideas about murals,” he continued.

The 2017 Dunellen Community Survey by the Dunellen Arts and Culture Commission (DACC) and 2019 Dunellen Transit Hub study by Together North Jersey/North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority both revealed a general interest from the community for murals in Dunellen. “Paintings or other works of art executed directly on a wall are important aesthetically,” according to Dr. Listokin, “as well as for fostering community engagement and catalyzing business and other economic activity in downtowns and other areas.” Many municipalities such as Metuchen, Somerville and Asbury Park employ this strategy in their downtowns. Consistent with the Borough’s recent initiatives such as Dine In Dunellen, the Pop Up Park at North and Prospect, and Green Brook-Dunellen Rotary Club’s small business grant program, economic development in downtown Dunellen is recognized as integral to the health of the overall community. DACC’s chairperson Heidi Heleniak stated, “This study will assist DACC with its mission of providing all Dunellen residents opportunities to experience arts and culture and be used to focus our Mural Committee’s efforts.” This partnership with Rutgers was facilitated by Mayor Cilento and supported by the Borough Council and Borough administration. Questions regarding the survey should be directed to Julie Grof at jgrof@dunellenborough.com. All other questions should be directed to Borough Administrator William Robins at (732) 968-3033.

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