Downtown storefront transformed into pop-up gallery for student art


As a result of a collaboration between Bloomfield College and the Bloomfield Center Alliance, a vacant downtown storefront now displays some eclectic winter-themed art. The windows and doors at 625 Bloomfield Avenue are now home to an artistic display of eclectic reindeers and stars created by staff and students from Bloomfield College.

The new outdoor "gallery" is the first effort of BCA's Vacant Window Initiative in which empty downtown storefronts become a temporary home for artwork that can be seen and appreciated by people passing by as they dine and shop in Bloomfield Center. The BCA reached out to a few owners of downtown properties with an empty storefront to see who would be willing to offer it up for this cause. The owner of 625 Bloomfield Avenue enthusiastically embraced the concept and the artwork was installed the week leading up to the Christmas holiday.

To help with the artistic element, the BCA turned to Bloomfield College and the faculty of its Division of Creative Arts and Technology. Division Chair Yuichiro Nishizawa connected BCA Director Ollyn Lettman with Adjunct Professor Elizabeth Seaton who immediately expressed an interest in the effort as it provided an opportunity to showcase work from some of her student artists. Expressing his support for this initiative, Chairperson Nishizawa shares, "I am very grateful to Ollyn and the BCA for bridging our College and Bloomfield Township! There are so many talented members of our College, and this provides an opportunity to share that with our community."  The student artists whose work adorns the storefront windows include - Cynciere Amon, Edwin Ayala, and Taylor Galyean. Explaining how the students' work came to be part of this display, Professor Elizabeth Seaton states "After making some monumental drawings earlier in the semester using oil pastels and bright tempura on recycled cardboard, the student artists were enthusiastic about offering similar pieces, but with a wintery theme for this initiative."

Speaking on behalf of the BCA, Ollyn J. Lettman shares "We are always looking for new ways to promote the downtown and it's exciting to see what other artwork we can bring to Bloomfield Center in the new year with the cooperation and support of other property owners. I am grateful for the support of the Logothetis family who agreed to have their storefront host this display of colorful reindeer and stars. I also want to thank the faculty and students/artists at Bloomfield College for helping make this happen." The initiative is supported with a grant from the state's Main Street New Jersey Program.

The art pieces, collectively named "Winter Reindeer Under Starry Skies," will remain up and on display through the winter (or until a new tenant takes the space). The BCA hopes to find another storefront next spring in which to place new artwork. Their ultimate goal is to bring attention to these vacant spaces in the hope of helping to find entrepreneurs interested in opening businesses needed in the community (i.e., clothing shops, bookstores, etc.).