The Coaster

Area artists painted these murals on the Asbury Park Sewage Treatment Plant - by WILLIAM CLARK

Area artists painted these murals on the Asbury Park Sewage Treatment Plant.

The Coaster, Aug 9, 2023

What began as just the drab, brown bricks of the Asbury Park Wastewater Treatment Facility became four vibrant murals for beachgoers and those driving along Kingsley Street.

The continuation of the collaboration between the city’s Public Arts Commission and the Asbury Park Arts Council has brought murals from artists Judith Hull, Chloe Evangelista, Jude Harzer and Zachary Manning to the east side of the building, as part of a project that started last year.

“In the fall we opened up submissions for the four panels that face the water,” Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn said. “We received over 75 submissions from artists and we picked four, including two local arts.”

The goal, according to Quinn, is to one day have the entire building covered in artistic works.

The project is funded by the city’s Public Arts Commission but received help from the Arts Council when it came to choose submissions that would grace the walls for residents and visitors. The Arts Council also provided financial assistance to bridge the gap for part of the project.

Jenn Hampton, chair of the Public Arts Commission, said that the members of the commission each picked their top 10 which didn’t provide much overlap.

“Barely any of them matched,” Hampton admitted.

As the process moved forward, they took special care to give priority to local artists from the city itself.

In the end, Hampton was thrilled with the choices the commission made.

“This year was interesting because we chose different skill sets, backgrounds and aesthetics,” Hampton said.

Evangelista of Ocean Township chose to show the activity of the boardwalk from a different perspective, creating a mural of different legs and feet as they pass by.

Hampton, an admitted extrovert, appreciated how another person may see the world a bit differently.

The youngest of the muralists, Evangelista impressed Hampton as she saw her move through the work putting the piece together.

“Watching her excel so well will give her the confidence boost to do it again,” Hampton said. “I think she’s really good.”

This project was the second time Hull worked with the art commission. Last year Hull, provided a timely piece on Ukraine. This year she focused on the ocean creating a striking blue fish surrounded by colorful sea plants.

“It’s a motif we are all really familiar with,” Hampton said.

Harzer, an art teacher from Brick Memorial High School, made her contribution to the wall after helping students fill the halls of the school with their murals.

Harzer was also a second time participant of the project.

“She was also more confident and excited,” Hampton said.

Hampton said that Harzer, a Brick Township resident, has one of the only programs within a school that helps support student muralists.

Finally, mixing art and science is Manning’s piece.

“He had an online quiz where he would ask you five questions asking you rate how you feel about certain things,” Hampton said. “He took all the responses and created an algorithm to create the design.”

Hampton appreciates the participatory nature of Manning’s piece which is titled Life in Color.

“It’s a beautiful color palette and really nice to see something different in terms of an artist’s process,” Hampton said.

Manning also lives in Asbury Park.

The Wastewater Treatment Facility is located along the oceanfront north of Convention Hall.