In a year defined by distance and division, Summit Public Art strove to do what we do best, drawing on the unique power of art to inspire, comfort, and bring us together.
When the virus first hit, we commissioned artist Joanie Schwarz to collaborate on an online photo series that movingly captured the strength and resiliency of our Summit community during the pandemic.
After lockdowns forced us all indoors, we featured weekly online Quarantine Art exhibits by SPA artists and sponsored our first annual city-wide Chalk Your Walk sidewalk art contest to help get Summit families outside and making art again.
When a makeshift mask appeared on one our artworks downtown, the colossal head sculpture known as Brickhead LOVE, we commissioned a proper replacement to remind us all to do our part to help one another during the pandemic. The sight of the "Brickhead Mask," as it came to be known, made for a powerful and timely image that reached more people, both here and online, than any work we've ever done before.
By the time summer arrived, Summit Public Art had already installed several new artworks downtown, including a specially-commissioned piece by award-winning NJ sculptor Kate Dodd and illuminated works by artists Tom Fruin and Aurora Robson that literally lit up the night both on the Village Green and at City Hall.
We also partnered with Summit Downtown, Inc. and Dylan Baker of Summit House Restaurant & Bar to commission a special interactive mural by noted artist Kelsey Montague to help give downtown Summit a much needed lift.
The arrival of fall brought the opening of our first-ever outdoor photo exhibit, Summit Under Quarantine, first to the Village Green and then to the Summit Public Library. We also made significant progress behind the scenes, successfully transitioning to a freestanding 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a crucial step that will help to ensure the strength and continuity of our organization for years to come.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work of our board members who volunteered their time and effort to keep Summit Public Art moving forward despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic. We would also like to thank Mayor Nora Radest, David Naidu, Aaron Schrager, and the Public Works Department of the City of Summit for their continued and invaluable support.
Most of all we would like to thank all of our supporters and the many donors who have kept us going throughout this difficult time. As a 100% volunteer-run, donor-funded nonprofit, we rely entirely on the generosity of friends and neighbors just like you. We are truly thankful to live in a town that embraces artists and their work and responds so positively to public art.
Best holiday wishes to you all and may we all remember the many things we have to be grateful for as we head into the new year!