NEWBURGH – An uninviting blank wall on Water Street in the City of Newburgh has new life. The concrete structure has been transformed into a beautiful work of art. The imperfections have been covered with a dark grey base etched with the phrase, “Welcome to the City of Newburgh.”
The hand-painted sign, adjacent to the entrance of the waterfront, greets visitors along a well-traveled artery into the city. The painting celebrates the city’s rich history and is meant to elicit pride in the community.
“The wall is in fine physical shape, but over the years it has been discolored by the natural elements,” said Central Hudson T&D Superintendent Brianna Peak, who helped coordinate this project with Director of Media Relations John Maserjian. “We have enriched an obtrusive wall in a prominent location near the Hudson River. Hundreds of residents and visitors who pass by this location on a daily basis are now greeted with an attractive welcoming sign that this city deserves.”
The project was initiated by Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, founder of the nonprofit Dept of Small Interventions and Pat Nunnari of King St Sign Co. She first saw photos of the site on Independence for Newburgh blog which sparked the idea. The project was a collaborative effort between Central Hudson, Orange County Citizens Foundation and five other local businesses to secure funding and resources.
“Newburgh doesn’t have a sign at any of its six entrances that welcomes visitors,” she said. “In working together, we are demonstrating a partnership that stimulates community pride and greets visitors to the city. This is part of the city’s renaissance.”
The installation was painted by Pat Nunnari, a multi-generational Newburgh resident who has designed & painted many of the storefront signs along Liberty Street. “Welcome” is written in cursive with “City of Newburgh” displayed in traditional, heavy block lettering that is derived from old style signage. The design is influenced by the old ghost signs seen now faded on the sides of many buildings in Newburgh but with a modern twist. The installation will be protected with a clear-coat of anti-graffiti paint. More examples of Nunnari’s work can be found at www.patnunnari.com.
“I wanted to create a design that is fresh but respectful of the past,” Nunnari said. “It fits the vibrancy of the city and acknowledges its golden age. I hope it ages over time to look as good as some of old faded signage seen around town.”
Nunnari’s father, Joe, helped paint the dark grey background. He is a longtime Newburgh resident who expressed optimism in the city’s future.
“This is an important gateway to the city, so I’m glad we were able to do this.” Joe Nunnari said.
The wall is 98 feet, 10 inches long and 12 feet high. The mural required more than 25 gallons of paint. Hersson-Ringskog and Nunnari expressed appreciation for Central Hudson’s partnership, contributions and responsiveness.
“We hope that this will be a catalyst for other beautification projects because there are plenty of opportunities throughout this wonderful city,” Hersson-Ringskog said. “Central Hudson is more than a utility company; it is a contributing member of our community. This partnership will inspire creativity and positive energy that will reverberate throughout Newburgh.”
Thank you to Central Hudson and Orange County Citizens Foundation and the local support from 2 Alices Coffee, Atlas Studios, ColorCube Printing, Newburgh Brewing Co, and Society of Lash.