More than 75 people visited All Fit Studios on Broadway by Silver Street to either view various artworks or to pledge their assistance to the newly founded Beautify Bayonne group. Many attending did both.
The beautification movement is the brainchild of Deb Peveler, who took up the gauntlet following the municipal elections this spring when the city’s physical condition, and worries about a growing litter problem, were discussed.
Peveler and husband Lou Segura, proprietors of All Fit, a fitness center specializing in yoga and kickboxing, hosted the art show/signup drive from 7 to 11 p.m.
Twenty-eight people signed up for Beautify Bayonne at the event. That’s in addition to the 300 who have already done so online, according to Peveler.
“I’m very hopeful that since we did have such a good reception, and there were new faces, that there are people interested in taking Bayonne back from the brink,” she said.
Peveler said some areas are “blighted now, but that there are good things going on.”
With the new administration of Mayor James Davis, she said she feels support for her project.
“The mayor said, ‘You go for it,’” Peveler said.
Segura said the studio has hosted several art shows over the last year and a half. This one was conceived with the dual goal of art appreciation and civicmindedness. Many of those who came signed up for the cleanup scheduled for Sept. 21.
Elaine Green of 27th Street felt motivated to attend the show to offer her assistance.
“I’ve lived here all my life, and this is not the Bayonne I grew up in,” she said, referring to trash thrown on city streets.
“It makes you angry. I know it makes me angry,” Green said. “There’re garbage cans everywhere. Just throw it in the garbage.”
Gene and Jane Smith of 3rd Street are concerned about the garbage and its effects on property values and outsiders’ perceptions of Bayonne.
“We want to raise awareness,” Jane Smith said. “That’s done with numbers.”
City Council President Sharon Nadrowski came to the event to show her support as well.
“It’s about bringing the community together,” she said. “I think it’s refreshing that people are coming together to clean up and make this town more aesthetically pleasing for them and anyone else.”
Vanessa Velez attended the art show to present her works, but also to back the beautification efforts.
“I think that there’s a synergy,” she said. “I think it’s a good idea to combine the two to get interest.”
Velez said the event served another purpose: drawing people out of their homes for fun.
Anyone interested in joining Beautify Bayonne should call Segura at (201) 851-2349.