Mayor Ravi Bhalla was joined by officials from the City of Hoboken and Hudson County on Friday to unveil a new public art mural of professional tennis player Michael Chang, above the Columbus Park Tennis courts. The mural, produced by local artist Ricardo Roig, depicts the Hoboken born professional tennis player and winner of the 1989 French Open. The mural is the first piece of public art as funded by an executive order by Mayor Bhalla last year declaring City bonds provide 1% for a public arts fund. Mayor Bhalla also announced the launch of an advisory arts commission made up of residents and local artists, to help choose various public art projects to be funded through the new public arts fund.
“Michael Chang exemplifies Hoboken the spirit of firsts, as the first Asian American to win a Grand Slam tournament,” said Mayor Bhalla. “His grit and determination on the tennis court is artfully depicted by Ricardo, whose work is a source of pride and inspiration for our City. I thank Ricardo for initiating this mural, and his contributions which reflect the diversity of our community. I am proud of the many talented artists in Hoboken, and look forward to working the newly formed Arts Advisory Committee to further beautify our City.”
“Murals are big but not necessarily for their size, it’s in their spirit. Murals are larger than us- larger than life. They transcend time and help to tell the stories,” said Ricardo Roig. “They inspire our daily life, and grow with our lives. As a solo artist who is normally working alone in a studio, murals help me to stretch out and work with others- like these wonderful individuals making policy better for our city, offering their time and talent to the greater good energy and nourishment we need as humans from the power of Art. This mural is BIG- not because of its 4 story size, but because we did it together with teamwork and a common goal of sharing color, wonder & Hoboken's history : )”
The tennis mural, officially named as “Michael Chang, Hoboken Hero” was hand cut and stencil spray painted by Ricardo, a 35-year old professional fine artist from Hoboken. Ricardo originally reached out to the City with the idea to paint the mural of Michael Chang, which was facilitated by Hudson County, County Executive DeGise, and Freeholder Anthony Romano through access to the tennis court. This is Ricardo’s second mural in Hoboken.
Mayor Bhalla also announced the formation of an advisory arts committee, established by executive order this week, to help allocate the funds from the 1% of all city bond ordinances set aside for public art installations. Thanks to the passage of the bond to fund the Northwest Park, over $540,000 of funds are set aside for public art installations to help beautify the City, including $25,000 for the Michael Chang mural, which will be on the City Council agenda Wednesday evening.
Any resident or artists interested in serving on the City’s arts committee is encouraged to apply by emailing a resume and letter of intent to Geri Fallo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once officially formed by the City, the committee will accept proposals for public art and recommend projects to be funded through the public arts fund, with approval by the City Council.