Eighty-eight artists are vying for four prime spots in Montclair’s downtown to showcase their larger-than-life art. 

In August, the Montclair Center BID announced it would be looking for muralists to infuse downtown with visual art through the commission and installation of several large artworks within the district. The BID received a $25,000 transformation grant from the Main Street New Jersey Program to commission the murals, with a completion date of Dec. 15.

As of Monday, Sept. 16, the deadline to submit proposals, the BID received 88, between 10 to 25 for each of the four sites, said acting BID director Jason Gleason.

Four locations were identified throughout the Montclair Center area for the murals, including an alleyway on Bloomfield Avenue near the Bay Street train station, with others near three parking decks (one built, one under construction and one under contract).

“They are walls at connection points where art can surprise and delight,” according to the BID’s website.

The locations are:

  • 50 Church St.: The mural’s size is to be 50 by 20 feet, with possibility of another 21-by-8 mural;
  • 420 Bloomfield Ave.: Four panels, sizes range up to 15 feet;
  • 180 Bloomfield Ave.: Size is 13 by 20 feet;
  • 219 Glenridge Ave.: Size is 10 by 10 feet.

Judging began Wednesday, Sept. 18 and will finish next Wednesday, Sept. 25. Artists are expected to be notified of their application status on Sept. 30. 

The jury is comprised of Jeff Beck, owner of East Side Mags; Petia Morozov, founder of Design Week Montclair; Tanya Poteat, member of the Montclair Art Museum’s African American Cultural Committee; Ruth Perretti, local business owner and former senior vice-president of design at Ralph Lauren; Mary Z. Scotti, director of the former 73See Gallery; Gail Stavitsky, chief curator at the Montclair Art Museum; and Sharon Burton Turner, lifetime arts advocate and former chair of the MAM African American Cultural Committee. 

“We are all energized to work with such a prestigious group of Montclair community members on this project,” said Gleason. “I anticipate dynamic and thoughtful works of art chosen for downtown Montclair.” 

According to application packet, the jury is looking for artwork that contributes to the positive energy of the downtown Montclair community, improves the cultural vibrancy of the district and highlights the important connection between art and community.

All artwork will be "family-friendly" and the murals will be temporary, with a five-year expected life.