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Fran Bartowski, an English professor at Rutgers University-Newark's Center for Migration and the Global City, had a vision to bring a public art project to Newark, being inspired by a city-wide project in New York's Central Park. Then it hit her: "Cherry Blossoms in Winter."

UPGRADED | CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN WINTER (PARK)

When is the last time you saw teenagers and grandmas create epic art together? It happened here!

Fran Bartowski, an English professor at Rutgers University-Newark’s Center for Migration and the Global City, had a vision to bring a public art project to Newark similar to project in New York’s Central Park. She thought: “Cherry Blossoms in Winter” at Newark’s Branch Brook Park. And so, she united local foundations and institutions, high school teachers and students, community artists and senior citizens (aka “Granny Bombers”), as well as professional artists, like Rebecca Louise Law, to transform the site of the largest cherry blossom tree collection in the US.

View more at the Cherry Blossoms in Winter website.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

We are all homeless until we can express ourselves.
We are homeless until we can move how we want to move and do what we love to do.

The Christo Gates project in Central Park that was a project that really stunned me in terms of how it brought strangers together. I had this vision. I thought “Cherry Blossoms in Winter.”
Installations in the color spectrum of the cherry blossoms against the bare trees. This is a spirit of renewal that marks this amazing multimedia public arts project in this spectacular park
bringing together past generations.

Renewal over and over. And most importantly in the spirit of the next generations who will lead this forward. All the students who participated received a step and they were able to do their art
whether it was words, symbolic, abstract, or realistic. The way we created the steps that will be spiraling around one of the large cherry blossom trees.

The risers of the steps were created with actual branches and twigs from trees. We thought that would be a strong visual connection with the cherry blossoms. I spoke to one of my students, Kayla
who always writes these beautiful poems. She came up with the poem which is now the name of our installation piece “Art is Home.”

I wanted to find a way to include everyone in this umbrella poem. It was a house. It’s a home. It holds many people at once because that is what art does. I was delighted that there was a Newark senior group that jumped on this. So Granny Bombers is a project that is meant to be intergenerational.

We are inviting senior citizens especially from the Newark area to create, crochet, knitted and tulle flowers. We are going to be doing a public art installation as part of Cherry Blossoms in Winter where we decorate a cherry blossom tree with your tulle cherry blossoms.

A number of people said, “Why not professional artists?” With us in the room, from London is Rebecca Louise Law.

The whole thing will be an interactive natural installation that people can walk around and physically experience themselves. I try to let these students know that they have the possibility of being happy for the rest of their life with art.

So whether you are up down happy sad or alone.
Art says, “Welcome home”

Thank you.

Art in the environment
design
and natural.

Reminding us that there is a natural cycle.
There are seasons.
There are generations.
There is renewal.
But that you have to design it.
You’ve got to make it work.
You’ve got to enact it.
You got to bring people together.

UPGRADED | Original series

Meet the visionaries who are bringing big city dreams to life. Never underestimate what a small group of dedicated dreamers can accomplish as they improve the public commons in their city.

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DREAMPLAY TV’s video channel featuring city-inspired artistry, craftsmanship and culture of those advancing locally made and locally treasured. These are the inspired women and men who prove that local can also mean world-class.

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