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RED BANK: STREET ART GETS QUALIFIED OK

rb-mural-050115-500x375-4708301Street artist Elle, at left, with Metrovation’s Amanda Cheslock as Elle created a mural at the Anderson Building on May 1. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-2130637Red Bank’s transit hub may be getting a fresh splash of color from a well-known street artist.

Actually, three splashes, though it’s already got one: an on-the-spot piece that went up a bit prematurely earlier this month, at least by borough government standards.

Commissioned by real estate developer Metrovation, Brooklyn-based street artist Elle executed three spray-paint images on May 1 in conjunction with an event at the Glen Goldbaum’s Lambs & Wolves hair salon on Bridge Avenue.

One of those paintings went up immediately on the east side of the long-vacant Anderson Storage building, at Bridge Avenue and Monmouth Street, which Metrovation has approvals to transform into stores, a restaurant and offices.

But uncertainty over whether the piece violated the borough’s signage ordinance prompted the code enforcement department to intervene.

The work “went up, but got stopped by code enforcement,” said Council President Art Murphy.

That led Metrovation’s Amanda Cheslock to appear before the borough council last week for clarification and permission to display a total of three Elle paintings.

“This is government red tape at its finest,” said Councilman Mike DuPont, an attorney, who called the public artworks “a wonderful idea.

“I didn’t realize that if you want to paint something on your house, you have to get permission,” he said.

Administrator Stanley Sickels, though, said the hangings prompted safety questions.

“It just showed up all of a sudden,” he said of the first work. “Nobody knew how it was fastened down,” and whether it might fly off in a gust of wind and cause injury or damage.

There’s also an ordinance that prohibits murals, though he noted a handful of exceptions visible around town, and questions over signage.

A townwide public art display called Heads, in which large paintings were hung on buildings throughout the business district in August, 2012, was allowed only after borough officials were satisfied that the works would be securely attached, Sickels said.

In the end, Cheslock was told the piece that’s already hanging could stay, pending approval by the borough’s special events committee, which next meets on June 1, and remain through the end of the year if approved.

At that meeting, Cheslock told redbankgreen, Metrovation will also seek OKs for two other Elle pieces: one envisioned for the south side of the Anderson building, opposite JBJ Soul Kitchen; and one overlooking the parking lot at 25 Bridge Avenue, where Metrovation’s east coast headquarters shares space with Town & Country Kitchen and Bath and several offices.

Metrovation plans to start construction on the Anderson project in the fall, and “our intention is to keep the two artworks there up for the duration,” Cheslock said. The additional works, also created on the spot earlier this month, are in storage, she said.

Resident Kate Triggiano told the council that Elle’s works are “exactly what we need in town if we want to compete for culture with places like Asbury Park.”

 

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