What Is It?
The Bernardsville Mural Project is a collaborative project with the Borough of Bernardsville and Somerset Hills School District and the first of many projects Downtown Bernardsville will be directing through its Place-Making initiative. The train track overpass on Mount Airy Road has recently been a victim of graffiti and a rather unwelcoming entrance into our town.What is it?The Bernardsville Mural Project is a collaborative project with the Borough of Bernardsville and Somerset Hills School District and the first of many projects Downtown Bernardsville will be directing through its Place-Making initiative. The train track overpass on Mount Airy Road has recently been a victim of graffiti and a rather unwelcoming entrance into our town.
Placemaking is a community-led process that helps activate downtowns and community gathering places. Through appropriate planning and creation of an affordable strategy, communities can make immediate changes to public spaces while also building local support and demonstrating to stakeholders the potential for further long-term projects and investments. This is what we hope to accomplish with this project.
Since 2017, Downtown Bernardsville has been developing a plan of action to improve our town, utilizing a system to demonstrate change quickly without heavily impacting the town. The mural will be a permanent attraction that will cover both sides of the bridge on Mount Airy Road, coming into (or departing) downtown Bernardsville. We hope this will mark the beginning of projects that will improve our downtown and, in turn, all of Bernardsville for the long term.
Meet Our Artist
Caren Frost Olmsted has been the owner and principal of CFO Design for over fifteen years. Her projects are wide and varied, and she loves it that way – large and small scale murals, corporate, educational, project management, and art direction. Each day holds the promise of something different- new people, new art, new challenges. Her works have appeared on national television and print media, as well as numerous galleries, schools, businesses and homes across the country. Caren is a Bernards High graduate and former Bernardsville resident. She is also the artist of the mural on the Bernardsville Cinema building in the alley between the old toy store and the theater. She holds a degree in Theater Design from Bates College, and a degree in Art Education, from Appalachian State University, and holds a New Jersey State Teaching Certificate. Prior to CFO Design, she worked for several years in professional theater as a Set and Lighting Designer, and four years as an Art Educator. www.cfodesign.com Find Caren on Facebook & Instagram!
We want to thank our community for being involved in this project from the start. On October 16, 2019, a community meeting was held at Bernards High School where we invited all Bernardsville residents, business owners, and community members to attend. With a room of 70 individuals, our artist, Caren, led a huge brainstorming session, asking questions like “What’s Your Favorite Memory” and ” “. In addition, we asked individuals who could not attend to complete the same questions on an online survey. Home mailings, articles in the Bernardsville News, social media postings, and event attendances invited the community in every way possible to contribute to ideas and thoughts for the mural. Following the community meeting, Caren also met with art students at the high school to help come up with various ideas for the look of the mural itself.
We look forward to inviting the community to paint the mural itself in September 2020! Groups, individuals, families, businesses, and all members of the community will be able to sign up for a day and time to paint their portion of the mural. More to come on this portion as we get closer to our timeline for the project start.
Until then, we thank everyone who contributed ideas and participated in this process so far. With so many wonderful thoughts and ideas, it was difficult to narrow down into the mural design. Ultimately, the most common ideas prevailed and we are so excited to share the design with everyone and complete this beautiful project for our community!
If you’d like to donate to the Mural Project, scroll down to submit your contribution. Thank you so much for your support!