Sculptures, mural lab jumpstart public art plan

 There’s one behind the Union County Performing Arts Center. Another pokes out of the shrubbery at Train Station Plaza and another is on loan in front of Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts.

The sculptures are considered “seeds” for a series of public art projects that Rahway Arts District is creating throughout downtown. The sculptures are by Woodbridge artist Glenn Murgacz, who also has pieces in Woodbridge, near the Avenel Train Station and the Avenue Fire House on Route 1.

There’s also the Rahway Mural Lab, a mural arts program for Rahway teens, that will be unveiled tonight at 6 p.m. at 1530 Irving St. The single-story former Public Service building was approved for a restaurant more than four years ago but later ran into a dispute with the city over sewer fees. It’s unclear what the status of the planned restaurant is today. The Arts District was granted permission to put the mural on the building facade until the owner is ready to start construction, Executive Director Rachael Faillace said.

Former Mayor James Kennedy hopes to get the public art initiative jump-started and eventually have 20 to 30 pieces in all. “With Glenn’s and J.D’s works kicking things off, we’re hoping to find more Rahway area sculptors who might be interested in contributing to the project,” he said.

Kennedy has talked about attracting more public art for years, including the idea of a sculpture walk downtown. The public art, he said, would be an ongoing process and might depend on what funding could be obtained. The Redevelopment Agency last month authorized $3,000 as partial payment for a piece inside Hamilton Stage featuring a ballerina, which is appropriate, he said since there are three ballerina troupes at the facility.

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