During what has felt like dark times in Jersey City following the devastating anti-Semitic attack on the kosher supermarket in the Greenville section on December 10, some members of the community are coming together to bring the light back in. Green Villain, a creative platform that uses public art to drive community engagement throughout Jersey City, has partnered with Rabbi and artist Yitzchok Moully, a N.J.-based artist and member of Chabad Young Professionals of Jersey City, to produce an interactive public art project located at the southwestern corner of Buy Rite Liquors at 575 Manilla Ave, Jersey City, NJ.
#LightOverDarkness, a 2018 project established by Yitzchok Moully, invited local community members to write positive messages, mitzvos and prayers onto a traveling mural around New York and New Jersey throughout Chanukah last year. Days after the attack in Jersey City, Shmuel Levitin of Chabad Young Professionals connected Gregory D. Edgell, founder of Green Villain, and Yitzchok Moully to see if they could bring the project to the streets of Jersey City.
Starting Monday morning, anyone and everyone was invited to come by and write their own messages, prayers or names on this mural and be a part of the project. Bright colored markers are on site and everyone is encouraged to bring more supplies.
On the first night of Chanukah, a menorah was painted on top of the notes left behind, and on each night of the eight nights of Chanukah, another local artist painted a flame on the menorah.
Positioned directly between the inbound and outbound roads of the Holland Tunnel and across from the Port Authority Police Department, this mural is a beacon of light for 42K vehicles per day by illuminating that Jersey City and its community can and will stand up for the diversity in the city, and will not allow this horrible act to go silently into the night.
Over the past 11 years, Green Villain has amassed 53 public art sites and built relationships with hundreds of artists, business owners, landlords, city officials and community members with the goal of spreading awareness of how public art can change a city for good, and in times of need, be used as a vehicle to get important messages out to people.
“I believe it’s the responsibility of every single individual alive today to take a part of the community they live in onto their shoulders,” said Yitzchok, “and walking blindly into the light in hopes to improve a piece of their world. That is the spark that inspired me to bring this project to this section of Jersey City.”