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Hackensack Mural Brightens Main Street, Explores City's Roots

Dancers hold sway behind a giant purple guitar on the road to the Court Street Bridge. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Founding Fathers of Hackensack? Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Sponsors and artists. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
A young couple frolic in a mythical, verdant brook. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
A train passes a forest of giant mushrooms in a pastel-tinted landscape. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Seen from the corner of Bridge and Moore Streets, this demolition site is both secured and screened from view. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A brightly colored mural depicting Hackensack's roots has sprung up at the corner of Main and Bridge streets.

There is the Court Street bridge, with two dancers on the path leading across. The sign for Packard’s department store hangs in the sky of one, while three multi-cultural ancestors face Main Street.

The project painted by local artists, and informally called “the Main Street mural,” was the brainchild of Albert Dib, Hackensack historian and city IT employee.

“One night I was walking by the corner with some frieds, where a fire destroyed a Brazilian rodizio restaurant several months ago,” Dib told Daily Voice. “The contractor had erected a barricade, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to beautify the site and also help promote our focus on the arts in Hackensack.”

Dib, who has a longstanding relationship with the Main Street Business Alliance, pitched the plan at the very next meeting -- and the membership agreed. ArtsBergen was also a sponsor and organizer of the project.

Together they raised $6,000 and gave awards of $1,000 each to five artists who were selected from proposals the committee requested. Materials were bought with the last $1,000.

From the gaze of the Main Street native American to the train passing through a mushroomed, pastel landscape, the mural aims to call viewers to look and muse, to enjoy the scenes, and to consider the city’s history.

It also wants you to know that Hackensack is serious about art and artists, Dib said. The city now has an arts director, Greg Liosi, who is actively engaged in trying to get artists to relocate, work here and exhibit in the city.

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