Group beautifying Paterson, one storefront at at time

April 25, 2012 4:20:17 AM PDT
A group of artists is beautifying downtown Paterson, New Jersey, one storefront at a time.

The Ivanhoe Artists Mosaic is a volunteer group that is doing its best to beautify Paterson and give struggling artists a place to show off their talents.

Vacant storefronts dot the streets of Paterson like a checkerboard. With boarded up windows and signs begging for tenants, it's the kind of urban blight that Paterson has been fighting for years.

But the Ivanhoe Artists Mosaics believe some well-placed art can bring some hope.

"When you see are and something beautiful, it changes the way you think," the mosaic's Christine Conforti said. "An artist can do that, I think, with what they do. And that's why this is such a great opportunity for us, as artists, to not only get our work out there, but to change what's such an eyesore and a disappointment that is an empty storefront into something beautiful."

The group was sprucing up a window on Ellison Street for an installation highlighting Paterson's history. Another painting of the Great Falls was done by artist Ian Grinyer, who is thrilled to have a venue for his work.

"It's good to start getting the art out there and inspiring people and finding a lot of artists in Paterson," he said. "There's a lot of unknown artists all around town that really love to draw and paint, but they've got no outlet for their talents."

And there has been a surprising benefit to the storefront art.

A store on Main Street had been vacant for a year. But just three weeks after an installation went in, a lease was signed. The broker is convinced that having art instead of empty space made all the difference.

If you are an artist who would like to showcase your work or a building owner who would like your space used for art, you can contact the Ivanhoe Artists Mosiac at

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