After checking out the mural and Baptist church on Perry Street, I got back in my car and proceeded east on Perry Street. For no particular reason (as I was merely driving around with no real destination in mind), I took a left turn on Montgomery Street, which turned out to be a fateful left turn, because once I reached the intersection of Montgomery and Allen Street, I saw the most-fantastic mural-filled street yet. Turning right on Allen, I pulled over and parked my car. On the right side of the street were the first five pictures from the slideshow below. Pictures #6 and up were on the building on the left side of the street, right off of Hogerty Alley. This building, as I would later find out, is the home of the Trenton Atelier, which is described as “Trenton’s Urban Arts Center.” As their website explains, “The Trenton Atelier is a multi-disciplinary group of emerging and established artists cultivating a community engaged in experiential learning, dedicated to the environment and committed to explore, experiment, and exhibit. Our Mission is to create a self-sustaining community of collaborative artists, engaging people through tangible endeavors – making, doing, creating, and experimenting by bringing art to the streets and communities within Trenton and Beyond.”
The whole street was quiet and there were no signs of people anywhere, which I again assumed was simply the result of it being a quiet Sunday afternoon. But then a car turned the corner and pulled up right next to me, with a woman and what appeared to be her grown son in the car. She rolled down her window and asked what I was doing, and when I explained, she said “you should talk to them and see what they’re up to.” Her son then pulled out his cell phone and called someone, and then handed the phone to me … I thought, what’s the likelihood of me being on a desolate street photographing street art, only to have someone pull up in a car and put me in touch with the artist who made it?
Next thing I know, I’m talking to Will Kasso, who I find out was involved in all of the fantastic murals I’ve been seeing today. He said he had just left the Trenton Atelier a few minutes before I happened upon the building, but to look his name up on Google and then I would find out more about what he does. This unlikely phone conversation helped me better understand what I had been seeing all day, but in some ways I thought, how cool would it have been if this chance encounter had actually gotten me inside that building to see all of their creative endeavors currently underway? Oh well, I guess this is the consequence of going on a spontaneous and unplanned arts adventure.
At this point, it’s late in the day, so I decide it’s time to head home. But I figured there should be one last thing to see on my way out of town: the famous Lower Trenton Bridge, which is known for the large letters on the side that spell out “Trenton Makes, The World Takes.” The bridge spans the Delaware River and connects Trenton, NJ to Morrisville, PA. The slogan was the result of a contest sponsored by the Trenton Chamber of Commerce in 1910, meant to promote civic pride for Trenton’s leading position at the time in the manufacturing of goods such as steel, rubber, wire rope, linoleum and ceramics. This particular location was chosen due to its visibility from the passing trains on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s main line which connects New York to Washington D.C. The first photograph below is my own daytime shot, which on a cloudy day, makes for a hard time seeing the letters. But below that is another photo of the bridge at night when the words are lit up.
And with that monument having been seen, I hit the road and go home. The maiden voyage of The Arts Adventurer is complete, and now it’s time to plan the next Arts Adventure …