What does it take to beautify a mile-and-a-half of crumbling retaining wall on a busy stretch of urban highway?
Newark’s answer was 1500 gallons of paint wielded by 18 world class muralists. Gateways to Newark was painted in 2016 to become second longest mural in the United States, stretching the length of 25 football fields (or the length of the Lincoln Tunnel, if you’re more transit inclined). It was painted during the night with massive floodlights to avoid disrupting traffic, forcing the artists to view their work from across busy traffic during daylight hours.
The mural is located near Newark Penn Station and lines one of the main arteries of the city. Artists were commissioned to bring the city’s diversity into vibrant relief, and their efforts span the local experience from early European explorers to a gay teenager struck down by homophobic thugs.
In our attempt to do justice to this brilliant visual journey, we chose to use an interactive platform called Verse, which allowed us to layer content in a chaptered format. As you travel down the mural, take some diversions by clicking the dots along the way. These will transport you to an aerial tour of the mural or into the artists’ studios where you can learn more about their cultural inquiry and creative approaches.
Over a million cars pass down McCarter Highway each month, and for years it was an eyesore. Today, it is one of the most vibrant examples of public art on the East Coast.