August 2020
Summit Public Art Update
Greetings from Summit Public Art! Summer is here, downtown is coming to life again, and we at Summit Public Art are excited to share a whole new slate of dynamic and thought-provoking works of art with you as we enter our new season! It's been a year unlike any other and we're pleased to be able to bring a little light (quite literally, as you'll see) to our community. If you like what you see here, please forward this email to your Summit-area friends and neighbors. And, as always, thank you for supporting Summit Public Art!
Interactive Mural Debuts in Summit
“I believe that art should not be separated from the human experience.
Instead the human experience should have a hand in creating the art itself.”
Artist Kelsey Montague
Downtown Summit got a big lift this August when acclaimed artist Kelsey Montague stopped by to paint one of her distinctive murals here on Maple Street. Known for her highly popular interactive street art, Montague and her sister Courtney worked into the night painting a pair of the artist’s signature angel wings on the wall behind the future Bar Bacoa restaurant at 11 Maple near DeForest Avenue. 

Titled What Lifts You, this interactive mural invites passersby to stop and try on the wings for themselves. “I really love to have people step into my work and become part of it and share something positive about life,” says the artist, who invites you to snap a photo of yourself with her work and share it online at #WhatLiftsYou or @KelseyMontagueArt.

Summit's mural also features several elements that evoke the character of our "Hill City": a tree (for our many parks and tree-lined streets), a train (for Summit's Midtown Direct line), a dragonfly (which can be found in any garden here), and a large sunflower, a nod to the patch of sunflowers growing nearby.

Montague’s art has been featured in scores of publications, on the Today show, and on social media by fans worldwide, including pop star Taylor Swift, who commissioned a special pair of wings to promote the release of her song “Me.” Since painting her first angel wings mural in New York’s Nolita neighborhood in 2014, Montague has painted hundreds of murals on six continents and dozens of cities around the world, from Buenos Aires to Dubai to Singapore—and now, Summit, New Jersey!

This specially-commissioned work was brought to Summit through a joint partnership between Summit Public Art, Summit Downtown, Inc., and Summit’s own Dylan Baker of Summit House Restaurant and Bar Bacoa. We're excited to be part of this true community effort!
Above: Artist Kelsey Montague poses in front of her mural What Lifts You in downtown Summit.
Pictured: Artist Kelsey Montague (left) and her sister Courtney (right) paint a new pair of wings on the wall behind 11 Maple Street.
Detail from one of the wings showing
sunflower and train.
Two New Works Debut in July
Summit Public Art kicked off its new season in July with two new installations: Andrew Light's Anomie Exquisite on the Village Green and Kate Dodd's Efflorescence downtown at Kaus Way. Both artists have a reputation for turning discarded materials into beautiful works of art and these two works offer perfect examples of that principle in action.

Light, an academically-trained artist who maintains an active studio in Lexington, KY, began Anomie Exquisite after a random series of scrapyard finds. The resulting steel sculpture, defined by its central arc, rises on curved wings to evoke what Light calls the "echo of a movement."

Dodd, an award-winning artist who has exhibited widely throughout New Jersey and New York, created the eye-catching Efflorescence specifically for the Kaus Way passage from thousands of recycled plastic water bottles. Composed of fourteen flower-like stalks, this whimsical grove demonstrates Dodd's talent for transforming otherwise ordinary settings into fantastical spaces.

We invite you to see and experience both works in person the next time you're downtown. Our open-air gallery is always open and perfect for social distancing!

To hear the artists discuss their works, click on on the video links below or visit us on Facebook or Instagram where you'll find even more photos and behind-the-scenes footage.
Above: Kate Dodd's Efflorescence, a site-specific installation made from over 3,000 plastic water bottles
Andrew Light's Anomie Exquisite, sculpted from repurposed machine parts and reclaimed steel.
Sculptor Andrew Light with Anomie Exquisite and his dog Nash on the Summit Village Green.
Artist Kate Dodd and Efflorescence at Kaus Way, where Woodland meets Springfield Avenue.
Look for two new works this summer that promise to light up the night in Summit.

Aurora Robson's Troika was inspired by the recurring images that haunted her dreams when she was a child. This curiously-shaped trio, sculpted from plastic debris, is the result of Robson’s practice of transforming bad into good by turning “displaced abundance” into works of art. Seen at night, her sculptures, lit by internal solar-powered lights, become “enchanted objects” that glow from within.

Inspired by Argentina’s colorful corner stores, Tom Fruin’s Maxikiosco celebrates the familiar neighborhood structures that reflect the vibrancy and variety of city life. Constructed from recycled plexiglas and reclaimed steel, Fruin’s illuminated art house creates a sense of wonder through the abstract collision of light and color, becoming a "kaleidoscope of color" during the day and a "beacon of light" at night. 

Watch for Robson's Troika on the Village Green and for Fruin's Maxikiosco at City Hall in the weeks to come!
Above: Aurora Robson's Troika.
Tom Fruin's illuminated art house Maxikiosco.

“I’m not looking for an ‘art’ audience.
I really just want to reach everybody.”
– Artist Tom Fruin
Summit Under Quarantine
Online Photo Exhibit Coming to the Green
If you follow Summit Public Art online, you likely remember In This Together, our online collaboration with artist Joanie Schwarz that captured life here in Summit during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. An award-winning photographer, Schwarz spent several weeks walking the streets of Summit, showing us the closed shops and empty streets of our city under lockdown, neighbors helping neighbors at GRACE's "Giving Tuesday," and signs of our community taking its first small steps towards a new "normal." The result was a moving and inspiring piece of work that reflected both the uncertainty of our times as well as the resilience of our community.

Based on the enthusiastic response we received online, we are excited to announce that we will soon be offering the chance to see the exhibit in person when it comes to downtown Summit later this summer. Summit Under Quarantine will appear in three separate installments, beginning with an outdoor exhibit on the Village Green in September followed by two indoor exhibits at public civic centers whenever conditions allow. The exhibit will feature 25-30 photos including some not previously seen in the online version.

Our hope is that seeing this shared history will give even more people the chance to witness the empathy and hopefulness that got our community through those first dark days and perhaps provide a way for all of us to begin to reframe and reimagine our lives as we head together into the future.

As Schwarz says of the photos she took during the early days of the quarantine, “When you see the emptiness of the streets, don’t see the negative, see it as people staying home in order to keep each other safe. It is an active expression of Love.” 

Watch for Summit Under Quarantine, coming soon to the Village Green!
Above: The Summit train station last April, its benches rolled back and police tape covering
the walls, another sign of life during quarantine.(@joanieschwarz).
Amanda Block from GRACE food pantry helps a team of volunteers distribute food and essential supplies to over 500 families in one night.
Summit father Neil Wilson and son Rajah at Summit Health & Body Works last May.
SPA Hosts 1st Annual Sidewalk Art Contest
In May we debuted our first-ever Chalk Your Walk community sidewalk art contest and were delighted by the response. Dozens of young artists and their families decorated their sidewalks and driveways and submitted photos of their creations online. Entries ranged from a large-scale maze to fantastical drawings of dragons, space aliens, and family pets to inspirational messages to our local frontline heroes. Thank you to everyone who participated––we look forward to seeing what you come up with next year!
Above: "Together But Apart" by Summit resident Carolina H.
Artists: The family at 59 Karen Way.
Artists: Bethany and Kelly S.
Artist: Kareena W. (age 13).
Stay in Touch!
Explore SPA Online
Stuck inside? Need a little art in your life? Explore our online gallery at to see inspiring works from both the past and the present.
Or visit us on Facebook and Instagram where you'll find family activities to inspire the young artists in your home as well as special features like our Close-Up and In This Together series and the latest Quarantine Art from SPA artists.
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From our followers:

“Truly one of the best perks of living in Summit is
the public art displayed. Thank you and looking
forward to the next installation!”

“I LOVE that Summit is doing so much public art!”

“Go Summit Public Art! I so enjoy all of your selections, and really look forward to seeing what pops up next.

“Amazing & brilliant works of art! Love them all!”

Summit Public Art Needs You
As a 100% volunteer-run, donor-funded, non-profit organization, we rely entirely on the generosity of Summit residents to provide the public art and community projects that you, your families, and visitors to our town enjoy on a daily basis. If you would like to help us continue to enrich and inspire our community through public art, please click on the button below:
Stay safe and stay inspired!
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