Montclair, NJ – Come see “Jerry in Bloom,” a show of eight new additional sculptures to the Hillside Sculpture Park, created by the late Jerry Gant, a Black American artist whose work is associated with abstract expressionism, Neo Dada, and street art practices. Gant is best known for his depictions of urban Black expression in the forms of fashion, poetry, street art, painting, sculpture and performance.

Linda Street, a longtime colleague of Gant’s and manager of his estate, will be on hand to answer questions about his work. The opening reception, catered by Montclair’s Events by Joni, will take place Friday, May 19th from 6 – 8 pm at 8 Hillside Avenue, (intersection of Orange Rd. and Church Street) in Montclair.

Art Outdoors

Hillside Sculpture Park is curated by Charlie Spademan on the grounds of Hillside Square, a building owned by Bob Silver of the Bravitas Group. Spademan most recently worked with Nina Cooke John as fabricator and engineer of the central figure of the Harriet Tubman Monument in Newark.

Bob Silver (left) of the Bravitas Group with Charlie Spademan in front of one of Jerry Gant’s work, “God Knows Our Name” at Hillside Sculpture Park. Photo: Debbie Galant/Baristanet.

“Bob and the Bravitas Group have been huge supporters of the arts and artists in Montclair,” says Spademan. “All of Mr. Silver’s properties have gallery spaces and curated shows, but they were unavailable during the pandemic. Bob and I realized  we could create an outdoor gallery space, a sculpture park, and Hillside Sculpture Park was born. The park is completely underwritten by Bob Silver. The only conditions were that I had to curate it, and that my work had to be represented in it.”

Jerry Gant, Newark and Montclair

Jerry Gant. Photo: Estate of Jerry Gant.

“A few years ago I was most fortunate to meet Linda Street, one of the most interesting people I have ever met,” says Spademan. “I learned later of her connection to Newark artist Jerry Gant. I was an admirer of Jerry’s work, but sadly never had the opportunity to meet him before his passing.”

When Spademan put together the inaugural show at Hillside Sculpture Park, he was thrilled to be able to include two pieces of Gant’s work.

“I like how they really anchored the Park,” says Spademan. “Though well known in Newark, Jerry’s work seems virtually unknown here. Montclair is practically next door, yet seems a world away in some ways. Jerrys work deserves to be seen.”

Charlie Spademan at Hillside Sculpture Park.

A couple of months ago, Spademan was approached by Luna Stage to inquire whether they could use the Sculpture Park as part of their original performance of “The Ground on Which We Stand”, a multi-writer, site-specific performance exploring the history and impact of The James Howe House from 1780 to the present day.

Luna Stage will be performing the work at the Hillside Sculpture Park on May 20th, the day after the opening reception for “Jerry in Bloom.”

“Jerry in Bloom” runs through mid-August. Hillside Sculpture Park is open to the public at all times; artwork is illuminated for a few hours after sunset.