Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
Free Community Arts Event at the Gateway Totems
at The Early Street Community Garden
The Gateway Totem Project is a public sculpture celebrating Morristown’s immigrant community – past, present and future. One of the first of Morristown’s Percent for Art Projects and sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and private donors, the sculpture was installed in November of 2016.
Located in the Speedwell neighborhood, The Gateway Totem Project connects the entryway to Grow it Green Morristown’s Early Street Community Garden to Morristown High School, as well as existing low income senior housing, new high-end condominiums and local ethnic businesses.
Gabrielle Hiltl-Cohen, a master stone carver, was commissioned to create the piece. Two ten-foot-tall, Indiana limestone pillars feature 16 panels of symbols evoking the multiple immigrant communities who have called the Speedwell Avenue area home over generations: Italian, Irish, Jewish, African American, South and Central American and more. This “Gateway” sculpture establishes a permanent gathering place for residents from across our diverse community.
For 100+ years, the Speedwell Avenue neighborhood has been home to new immigrants who enjoy affordable housing close to schools and within walking distance to social services. The demographic has changed over the years from Irish and Italian immigrants, to African American families, to Latino and other new immigrant families and businesses today that represent many countries and cultures for whom English is a second language.
Morris Arts is currently organizing programming that will take place at the site of the sculpture that will include music, poetry readings and other creative events that will enliven the space and increase foot traffic to the area.