The first brush strokes of paint are being applied to D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Public Art Mural celebrating its upcoming Kayak Education Program on the banks of the Delaware River at Bordentown Beach.
The program is designed to increase water access and awareness of watershed protection for all people who live along the Delaware, recently named River of the Year 2020 by American Rivers. The mural is to be completed by July 4. Meanwhile, the public is welcome to enjoy watching its progress at Bordentown Beach, maintaining social distance.
This announcement comes in June, celebrated as American Rivers Month across the country. More than 15 million people get their drinking water from the Delaware River watershed. To create a public statement about the importance of water and the river, and the diverse communities that benefit from it, D&R Greenway partnered with the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s youth program, FUTURO, and with the City of Bordentown.
The mural-in-progress is under the artistic leadership of Princeton, N.J., resident Marlon Davila. Like many of the students he worked with on this project, he is first generation, his parents having immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala. To design the mural, Davila and Nadeem Demian of D&R Greenway, also first generation, with parents from Egypt, worked with high school youth from Trenton and Princeton.
The students were provided presentations about the important historic and natural resources of the Delaware River, and invited to create art to express their cultural and individual views of environmental impacts on the Delaware. This spring, in two virtual workshops led by Tulia Jimenez-Vergara and Ana Obika of FUTURO, students presented their artwork for review by the mural artist and visiting artist Ryan Lileanthal of Princeton.
“It was enlightening, during these often challenging times, to see these young artists share their feelings about going outdoors and observing the trees, plants and water,” said Linda Mead, president and CEO of D&R Greenway. “Creative drawings interpreted river tides, the importance of clean drinking water and the impacts we as humans have on our environment. These colorful and unique drawings inspired the artist to incorporate the images into his overall mural design.”
The art will decorate the 40-foot shipping container in which will be stored the watercraft and equipment for D&R Greenway’s upcoming kayak program, based at Bordentown Beach, that will be offered as a scheduled educational outing for interested groups as soon as it is safe to do so.
Demian, Strategic Community Conservation fellow, managed this unique project. As part of his one-year Princeton University Fellowship with D&R Greenway, he oversaw the grant-supported activities.
For information, visit drgreenway.org