Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) received a $25K grant from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts (NJSCA) to support continued community-based arts programming, including popular “Murals on Front Street” project.

This much-needed financial boost has made it possible for TDA to partner (a fourth consecutive year) with Trenton artist Leon “Rain” Rainbow for live mural paintings on Front and Broad Streets in downtown Trenton. Murals on Front Street provides different artists each week the opportunity to transform boarded-up panels of old parking garages into astonishing, meaningful works of art. 

The live painting began last week and will continue with the creation of new murals by dozens of local artists through September 20th

“We are overwhelmed by the support we have received over the years from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts,” says Meaghan Singletary, Development and Project Manager for TDA. “This year we are especially grateful to have the opportunity to redirect funds originally slated for the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series concerts in a way that positively impacts our community and shines a light on Trenton when the city needs it most.”

Trenton Downtown Association sponsored-series of 10 free concerts in Mill Hill Park, consisted of living mural paintings which have taken place on Front and Broad street during the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series for three consecutive years.

“Our goal has always been to reach a wide audience through art that resonates on multiple levels. By painting during the concerts, which brought so many people into the city, we were able to do that,” says Rainbow, who is curating the 2020 live art show. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 concert series has been postponed until 2021, but that won’t stop them as a virtual concert has just been announced to premiere August 16th, with Trenton-native, phenomenal music legend and city ambassador Sarah Dash highlighting the show! 

“Right now, we could all use a little more positive energy and joyful, creative expression in our lives,” says Rainbow. “Murals on Front Street, along with the virtual concert, brings the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series back to life, in more than spirit.” 

Rainbow is best known for combining graffiti, street art, and other art forms into innovative projects and events. He has planned an exciting lineup of local talent, beginning with Dean “RAS” Innocenzi and R Fab, who will be creating the first two murals. 

RAS, who picked up a can of spray paint in 2007 and never looked back, is best known for his signature style of semi-realism. R Fab is an experienced self-taught artist who works primarily in aerosols, acrylics, and tattooing, but has experience with a wide variety of mediums.   

“This has been such a wonderful collaboration with Leon that would not have been possible without the generous support of the Trenton Parking Authority, who has allowed us to use the panels on an old garage and turn them into art,” says Singletary. 

“The NJSCA grant is also making it possible for TDA to bring two additional arts initiatives to the community: another mural series called ‘We are Survivors,’ created by Rainbow and in partnership with the Trenton Health Team, and a neighborhood-based sidewalk chalk project. 

With the continued effort of encouraging art and masterpieces, we can expect our thriving creative community within Trenton to spread a strong message of strength and resilience among others.