According to Geri Fallo, the city's arts and culture coordinator, the project started over two years ago when she bounced the idea off the mayor's 150th anniversary committee. The committee approved it, and she approached local artists Justine Uva-Sgaramella and Stefanie Ashby to coordinate the Community Student Mural Project. The two artists went to all of the city's schools to meet with students.
It was the students who came up with most of the concepts for the mural. They visited the Hoboken Library, the Hoboken Historical Museum, and spoke with local historian Lenny Luzzi for ideas.
Then, at a special drawing session, the students drew their concepts for the wall. Some of the drawings included City Hall, the public library, Sybil's Cave, the Erie Lackawanna Train Terminal, several notable Hoboken churches and restaurants, and city parks.
There are also depictions of famous firsts of Hoboken, such as the ice cream cone and the Oreo cookie, both of which were first sold here, and the first organized baseball game.
The kids' designs were sketched on the wall last month. Then, starting on Saturday, Sept. 24, children, their parents and other community members grabbed some brushes and got to painting. Because the wall spanned about 325 feet in total, it took a few weekends to finish.
As of this week, the only work that remains is for adult artists to add minor details and tighten the design. Ashby said that for the 150th Anniversary celebration, there have been many events geared for adults, but the mural project was specifically intended to involve the city's children.
"This mural really is their vision of Hoboken's 150 years of history," Ashby said. She added that 8-year-olds that helped paint will still be able to see the mural when they graduate from high school a decade from now. "This is going to be something that will last," she said.
Mayor David Roberts said Tuesday that he thinks the project was great success and will be a nice addition to the waterfront for the next decade.
"The kids really did an excellent job," he said.
Fallo added that there are a lot of people that made the Community Mural Project possible. Benjamin Moore Paints donated all the paint, and City Paint and Hardware donated all the supplies like brushes, drop cloths, and rollers. The county gave a $3,000 grant, and local developers George Vallone and Danny Gans donated $2,500 to the project.