A new mural is coming to the Glassboro community and Jon Laidacker, the co-artist, discussed the creative project and how COVID-19 affected its production.
Glassboro’s newest artistic endeavor, the “Glassboro Legacy Mural,” will be fully installed in early July on the north-facing exterior wall of the Town Square restroom pavilion located at 1 West High St., Glassboro, NJ.
This project looks like an arch that features bits and pieces of Glassboro’s iconic history and landmarks. The mural is very close to completed, but it won’t be publicly displayed until after an event on April 17. During the event, members of the Glassboro community have the opportunity to help finish painting it.
Laidacker and Eric Okdeh, the co-collaborator of this project, were chosen as finalists because they worked together on past projects for 16 years. After gaining approval from the committee and re-applying to work as a team, the artistic duo started designing the mural. Laidacker expressed his fondness for working with Okdeh because of how their styles complement one another.
With the exception of COVID-19 slowing down the process of the mural creation, Laidacker said working on this project has been very similar to other things he’s done. The “Glassboro Legacy Mural” project was started in the fall of 2019, and Laidacker said that he and Okdeh were about halfway done with the mural design by the time the pandemic started, putting them in a really good spot to continue the project.
In what he hopes to achieve with the mural, Laidacker has two goals: to create something that has the artistic integrity that he and Okdeh put into every project, and to create something that belongs to the people of the Glassboro community.
“Part of the goal, on top of those things, is to allow a viewer to take a look at it and begin to put together stories that they might not have known before,” Laidacker said.
Like with any piece of art, this one came with its own set of unique challenges. Upon designing the mural, Laidacker wanted to account for as many voices as possible, without making the mural look messy and cluttered. Finding the balance was tricky, but he is finding ways to make the mural accurately showcase Glassboro’s history as much as possible.
The mural committee brought the idea for the design and location, and it was up to Laidacker and Okdeh to bring it to life. Laidacker mentioned the frustration he faced as an artist working with a committee.
“From an artist’s perspective, there’s things that you incorporate into the design and you’re just like, ‘This is really smart. This is really good. People are gonna like this,’” he said. “Then you present it and they’re like, ‘No, that sucks. Get that out of here.’”
Laidacker also reflected on his career and how it has shifted during the pandemic.
“There honestly has not been one second where I thought I’d do something else. As an artist, it has been very difficult the past year,” he said. Laidacker became a self-proclaimed “part-time artist” due to the transition of adjusting to the pandemic.
Once international traveling is safe again, Laidacker talked about some options for where he’d like to create murals next.
“I’m pursuing a couple of options and organizations in Western Europe, London and Dublin,” he said.
You can be a part of the “Glassboro Legacy Mural” project on April 17 (rain date April 24). Click here to register and for more information.
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