Local Arts Organizations and Youth Team Up To Paint Community Mural

July 18, 2017
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The wall outside Kitch Organic in Red Bank was transformed into a mural celebrating the upcoming Indie Street Film Festival and Two River Theater’s Crossing Borders Festival. Photo by Matthew Brys Yee Photography

By Cassie Galasetti |

After a successful mural painting at Elsie’s Sub Shop in 2016, Indie Street Film Festival and popular Ukrainian street artist, MDot, came together with new partners Two River Theater and Kitch Organic to bring art, fun and community to the streets of Red Bank this past weekend. This year’s mural was painted by local youth from Two River Theater’s Education programs, Red Bank Middle and High Schools, JBJ Soul Kitchen, and more on the wall of Kitch Organic, located on the corner of Leighton Avenue and Catherine Street on the West Side of town.

It all kicked off on Friday night when participants gathered to paint the colorful abstract background of the mural and meet and greet with MDot, Indie Street Film Festival and Two River Theater representatives. Besides providing the canvas, attendees enjoyed a fabulous kickoff dinner by Kitch Organic. Joe Durso, owner of Kitch Organic is a West Side resident himself. “Having this mural on the west side of town is a great chance for people to come see and meet the people in our neighborhood,” he said. “I’ve lived on this side of town for around six years now and I couldn’t be happier with where we are located. The neighborhood has so much character and I hope that this mural can add to and complement that character of how everyone lives and works together on an everyday basis. All and all, I think something great happened this weekend and I couldn’t be prouder to have MDot’s work of art on my building for years to come.”

Volunteers from Two River Theater’s education programs, Red Bank schools and others showing their creativity. Photo by Matthew Brys Yee Photography

Misha Tyutyunik aka MDot is a graduate of Pratt Institute and has traveled the world painting on various walls and has been commissioned to paint and illustrate for many reputable brands, publications and collectors. Red Bank’s second mural was worked on all weekend and officially completed late on Sunday night, after more than 20 hours of painting. “This personally was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had in my life and easily was one of the most fun things I have done at the restaurant involving our community,” said Durso. “Working with Jay Webb and MDot and his team on the mural was a unique experience that will stick out in the minds of all the kids in the neighborhood who helped for a long a time if not the rest of their lives.”

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Indie Street and Two River are both hosting events this summer, and like the community mural, hoping to inspire Red Bank’s diverse community through multiple channels of art. From July 26 to July 30, the Indie Street Film Festival will gather filmmakers from all over the country to display their work at various venues in town, including Bow Tie Cinemas, The Count Basie Theatre and Two River Theater. Festival passes are on sale now at indiestreetfilmfestival.org.

From Aug. 2 – 6, Two River Theater is hosting its 7th Annual Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) Festival of New Latino Plays drawing more than 700 audience members to Red Bank for a weekend of new play readings, receptions with the artists, and a community block party with free food and live music, all open to the public. Since its inception, Two River has been leading the way in creating opportunities for Latino artists and bringing together the West Side of Red Bank, building a strong, friendly relationship with the theater. To reserve your free tickets visit tworivertheater.org.

The project brought people together on Friday. Photo by Matthew Brys Yee Photography

Red Bank Community Mural project was sponsored by Red Bank RiverCenter. “This community mural project is a perfect example of what the arts in Red Bank are all about – inspiring the community to unite around the arts,” said James Scavone, executive director, Red Bank RiverCenter. “The Indie Street Film Festival and Two River Theater’s Crossing Borders Festival are both events that reach out into the community to engage them in the arts. RiverCenter is thrilled to partner with them to help present this mural to the community of Red Bank.”

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This article was first published in the July 6-13, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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