Jose Bustamante, known as Busta, stood spray painting the front of Artworks. His mural is a combination of afro styles with a futuristic take. It depicts a young African American woman with cybernetic enhancements.
“I sketched it and then built it up with the colors. Just sculpting layers and layers of color until you get to the final result,” Bustamante said.
This is the first thing residents and tourists saw when coming down to Artworks on Saturday as Art All Day turned the city into a live art show.
Trenton events have become significant and prominent as the COVID-19 pandemic goes further in the rearview mirror, Craig Shofed, Managing Director of Artworks, explained that this year had grown from the previous years.
“Because of COVID (last year) was like a last-minute decision….(This year) we planned… We were probably still a little bit behind, but we had enough runway where we could get the trolleys, we could talk to our sites, our usual partners, and add some new people, and people wanted it, they were hungry for it.”
Last year, Shofed’s role was an artist, this year, he saw how the machine works to make Art All Day happen, and the reviews he got were stellar.
“I heard, like, this is the best one ever. And I’m like, really? Because it’s a different perspective now because I can go out and see it,” Shofed said.
Part of the charm of Art All Day was tours that gave tourists and residents alike an in-depth into the art culture in this city. Vance Smith, a board member of Artworks, was head of one of the Trolley tours. They started at the Community Outreach Garage before hitting other spots like the Mercer Cemetery and The Trenton House.
At the COG, they met with Leon Rainbow, a well-known local Trenton graffiti artist finishing his peace with Raz, another Trenton graffiti artist. He was the last mural in a set of three across Trenton with the theme of “Peace in our Streets.”
“A lot of people don’t know Trenton…it’s nice to get people away from the core of Artworks itself…to show how much is going on in other different nodes in Trenton and the other sort of small arts communities in Trenton,” Smith said.
If the Trolley or Bike tour weren’t available, or if art seekers decided that they just wanted to walk around the city in the warm weather, they were given a map and more than enough information to send them on their little tour of Trenton’s artists.
Kathleen Hurley-Liao, Mixed Media Abstract, displayed her work at Base Camp near Artworks. “I’ve done art on art all day, a few times over the last ten years. And I keep coming back because the Trenton art family is fantastic. They are the sweetest people in the universe are always willing to, you know, gather that’s community-driven, and I enjoy that.”
Trenton residents like Hope Blackburn were happy to come by and check out everything. “It’s a beautiful day, and we always do art all night, and every once in a while, we do art all day now that it’s back open,” Blackburn said.
She explained that it is thanks to the artist that will see Trenton return to its former glory. “This brings people back into the city. And it becomes vibrant. I was born here. I watched the city die. And because of the artists. It’s starting to have somewhat of a life.”