Public art adds interest to downtown Rahway landscape

Mural LabRAHWAY — Rahway Arts District celebrates new public art by local artists. Arts Guild New Jersey, the train station plaza, and a former public service building on Irving Street are brightened with sculpture and murals. Other sculptures can be seen in front of, and inside, UCPAC’s Hamilton Stage, and by the Union County Performing Arts Center.

The Arts Guild New Jersey features a large sculpture on its front lawn, which was recently transformed by Rahway artist J.D. McGuire. McGuire found inspiration in paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Amerighi da Caravaggio, and Johannes Vermeer. Using recognizable imagery from art history, McGuire applied his own graphic style and a bold color scheme to create an engaging work of public art.

“J.D. has definitely taken the ART sculptural piece up several notches as a very wonderful work of art that sings out to visitors and passersby,” said Lawrence Cappiello, executive director of Arts Guild New Jersey.

Woodbridge artist Glenn Murgacz has also contributed to the public landscape with three outdoor sculptures, located at the train station plaza, behind Union County Performing Arts Center, and in front of UC PAC’s Hamilton Stage on Hamilton Street. A permanent sculpture can be found in the Hamilton Stage lobby.

Murgacz specializes in creating unique steel and copper sculptures, drawing inspiration from the surrealist sculptures of Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti. Murgacz’ works are provocative, ethereal and delightfully unpredictable. He seeks to capture in each subject a fundamental kinesthetic quality that reveals the inherent motion, drama and spirit within the figure’s frozen-in-time pose.

“Public art is a major part of creative placemaking,” said Jim Kennedy, former Rahway Mayor. “For a number of years, plans have been circulating for a sculpture walk. With Glenn’s and J.D’s works kicking things off, we’re hoping to find more Rahway area sculptors who might be interested in contributing to the project.”

Glenn’s sculptures are popping up around Rahway as “seeds” for a series of public art projects that Rahway Arts District is creating throughout downtown. One of its newest initiatives is the Rahway Mural Lab, a mural arts program engaging Rahway teens.

“Rahway Mural Lab gives students an opportunity to participate in all levels of large-scale art production,” said Rachael Faillace, executive director of Rahway Arts District Inc. “At the end, they get to enjoy the final product as a part of the everyday landscape in Rahway.”

Rahway Mural Lab’s first collaborative mural will be unveiled on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m., at its location on Irving Street, between Elizabeth and Elm Streets. A reception will immediately follow a few blocks away at 1591 Irving St.

The mural’s subject is the RahwayRiver, a theme reflecting the central role that the river plays in Rahway. Students worked with artists on brainstorming ideas, drawing, and painting the mural over a period of a few months.

For more information on Rahway Arts District and community art projects, visit