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The Barron Perspective

Painting with a Purpose: New Mural on Avenel Street

Cassie Ronk, Senior Editor

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Ms. Kim Zadigian (r) poses at the Avenel Street mural with Ms. Amanda Hatzikyriakou (l). The two collaborated on the design and execution of the mural project in conjunction with the Woodbridge Township Mayor’s Office. Photo courtesy of Felicita Ramos.

While summer vacation is a time for relaxation and a break from the hard work of school, volunteers worked on painting a new mural on Avenel Street in Avenel, a section of Woodbridge Township. as part of the mayor’s initiative to revitalize the neighborhood.

Ms. Zadigian, an art teacher at Woodbridge High School, worked alongside Ms. Hatzikyriakou,  a middle school art teacher in Cedar Grove, designing and painting the mural as a way to bring the community together through art.

The mural, a zoo theme based on Mayor McCormac’s vision, was painted by 98 Woodbridge volunteers under Ms. Zadigian and Ms. Hatzikyriakou direction. Not only did the volunteers work on some of the hottest days of summer, many were so dedicated to the mural that they helped daily.

“[The volunteers] brought a sense of community to the space and, years from now, will be able to tell their children or grandchildren that they painted the mural on Avenel Street,” Ms. Zadigian said. According to Zadigian, a number of the volunteers are current students from the Woodbridge Township School District’s elementary and middle schools.

Students were not the only volunteers to lend a hand. Mr. Lottmann, WHS principal, dropped off cold water to volunteers working in the heat. Mayor McCormac, Councilmen Cory Spillar, Patrick Kenny, Kevin Holly, Tom Patten, Brian Molnar, and A.J. Scott volunteered their time towards the project, and the custodians of School 4 & 5 also assisted the process.

“Each volunteer went above and beyond their positions to assure that we were taken care of,” Ms. Zadigian said.

The volunteers’ hard work paid off as the mural was completed. “The community seemed very happy with the mural,” Ms. Hatzikyriakou said. “Every day, local residents would drive past, honk their horns, and say nice things.”

The finished product was celebrated at a mural unveiling in Town Hall on September 19th. “Seeing our volunteers brought back memories of the outpouring of support in Avenel, and the care that is truly valued within the Woodbridge community,” Ms. Zadigian said. The overall goal of the mural was to welcome a sense of community for the citizens of Woodbridge, something that was ultimately accomplished.

“It was a huge accomplishment to work on the Avenel mural project,” Ms. Hatzikyriakou said. “Ms. Zadigian really put her heart and soul into the painting for three straight summers. To work alongside such dedication was a pleasure.”

Although the murals on Avenel Street are completely finished, Ms. Zadigian and Ms. Hatzikyriakou both said that they hope the idea of bringing the community together through art will be spread to other parts of the township.”It was an experience that will last a long time in the community,” Ms. Hatzikyriakou said of the mural.

Ms. Kim Zadigian (l) poses at the Avenel Street mural with Ms. Amanda Hatzikyriakou (r). The two collaborated on the design and execution of the mural project in conjunction with the Woodbridge Township Mayor’s Office. Photo courtesy of Felicita Ramos.

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Student Written, Student Produced
Painting with a Purpose: New Mural on Avenel Street