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Windows Of Soul 2015 Recap

WOS (Windows of Soul) 2015 took place on the infamous city block of Walnut Ave. Walnut Ave, located in the Wilbur Section of East Trenton, is quite possibly, the most infamous block in the east ward. It’s one well known for illegal activities and unfortunately, its murder rate. This block is in pain…and it has been for a very long time.

We wanted to originally focus on walnut in 2013, during the seconded installment of WOS, but was unable to make it happen at that point, partly due to politics and contracts which bonded us to downtown Trenton. It was always a goal to do this block. The sheer number of abandoned properties and the strong community was enough to keep attention on the struggling block.

SAGE partnered with the Arts council of Princeton ( )to fund WOS. With a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and matching funds from individual donors, we had enough funding to put this project together. During the summer, the WOS team was composed. One Trenton Project which consists of Caitlin Fair and Kimby Heil handled community outreach. Both Hands Artlet, spearheaded by artist/teacher, Bentrice Jusu, covered photography and event documentation. TCNJ Bonner Center provided volunteers for community cleanup and Artworks Trenton hosted the opening artshow that kicked off the weekends festivities.

Saturday, Oct 17th, bright and early that morning, we begin the install of art on the abandoned buildings. TCNJ Bonners and kids form the community produced art on canvas and paper donated by HomFront Artspace, while Graham Apgar of Sage Guerrilla gardening unit broke ground on a new community garden entitled,”Graffiti Garden”.

Leon Rainbow, with assistance from TCNJ students produced a mural book-ending the garden titled “Section Love”. The mural was a homage to the wilbur section and the strong sense of community which connects so many individuals within the neighborhood.

Wils Kinsey, Lori Johansson and their team of volunteers oversaw the install of artwork on the abandoned properties. With a boom truck and tons of art being turned out from the kids in the community, there was no shortage of art and Wils and company kept up a steady pace, installing throughout the weekend.

Ahmad Shakur, SAGE resident DJ an his team musicians held down the music. Classic Hip Hop, House, R&B and Funk was the soundtrack for the weekend…keeping this running smooth and chill.

Sunday, Oct. 18th, the final day of event and the one with heavy attention on the music performances. Local and a few regional acts performed to a steady crown of onlookers and spectators. Ahmad kept the grooves going while Wils and company continued with the install. One trenton project hosted the community BBQ and books and breakfast programs, which passed out children books to the neighborhood kids.

“Reach the world but touch the hood first”… a quote from Brooklyn emcee/actor, Mos Def, define SAGE Coalition’s mission; to never forget were one comes from while striving for something better than what is given. Many born under depressed conditions find it is difficult to raise above what most would consider a dead end socially, spiritually and economically. Windows of Soul is the visual representation of the aforementioned quote. With its 4th installment now complete, SAGE and company looked to go above and beyond our previous community beatification endeavors. This one felt more like the first and more organic than the previous two. I believe its because this one, like the first, had nothing to prove…other than to provide art to those with limited access to it. The kids, parents and all that participated enjoyed themselves and the feeling of connectivity was apparent.

“Windows of Soul” exceeded all of our expectations.We were all riding high from the weekend. Thanks to all who came together to make this happen. Addison Vincent and Jesse Vincent from the Artworks Trenton family, you guys are the “Wonder Twins”. Graham Apgar for keepin’ it real with the “Graffiti Garden”. To my native brother, Leon Rainbow, I think you will forever understand that “Wilbur Section” and “East Trenton” are truly different, but its all love. Wills Kins aka..”THE FOREMAN” for always coming through in the clutch and keeping things in order with the install. Kimby Heiland Caitlin Fair of “One Trenton” for the continued outreach leading up to this project and making Sunday super chill with “Books and Breakfast”.Ahmad Shakir for always setting the mood(Respect the DJ). To my brother Earlie Harrell for keeping the flame going. You are the realist my G. To Bentrice Jusu of “Both Hands” and Aine Mickey for documentation and helping build up this event with your unselfishness in adding light to the hood. To my SAGE Coalition brother Jonathan Conner, the “Larry Bird” of Street-art…salute. To Lori Johansson, Nikki Nailbomb, Drew Glenn and the entire Championship Sports Bar & Grill family for supporting and always being there when needed. Christopher Michael Jones, Mike Murphy, Andrew Wilkinson, Lauren Otis, Kate Graves, Kelvin L. Smith, Chelsea Perron,Elizabeth Amaral, and Marge Caldwell-Wilson for helping, supporting and always representing. To the Bonner Scholars for coming out and being apart with your community service and art output…and all the artist that submitted work and came out to celebrated community with us…thank you. To the community of Walnut Ave and Wilbur section and anyone I may have forgot to add…Salute, Thank You and One Love. Trenton still making it. It Don’t Stop!

Some of the photos in the gallery are courtesy of Scott Ketterer -The Trentonian
To check out the full gallery go to:

Highland Sfumato

Highland Design Farm 2011

On the weekend of Oct 8th and 9th, 2011, SAGE collective was invited back to the Highland Design Farm to produce another massive mural project as part of the Hopewell Tour Des Arts. Last year, our combined efforts resulted in the HIGHLAND SENTINEL, which was the first mural of its kind in the Hopewell, NJ area.

This year we had to spread out and work in sections. Unlike the HIGHLAND SENTINEL, where we all worked in close proximity, this project had us in different locations to start, so we had to jump around a bit. We also had more square footage to cover with this project, but at least this year, unlike last year, majority of the work was done on the ground and not on ladders, so that in itself was a blessing.

LUV1 kicked things off with a murky background primed into the first section of wall. He then rendered a few crystals and gems busting out of the far right corner. The gems then spilled into his trademark Celtic knots with earth tone loops and swirls. KASSO came in and added a few mid tone geometric shapes that balanced out the composition which then flowed into DELVE’s hollow straight letter spelling out his name. From there, LANK stenciled in an owl which help carry the far left corner, along with KASSOs abstract colorful shapes that morphed into robotic bird. Between the bird and the owl lay an image of an fetus, which represented the patron, Sean Mannex, in saying that the Design Farm is his “baby”. It was also a nod to Leonardo da Vinci; being that one of his famous images is one of a dissected fetus from his sketch journals.

Turning the corner, LANK painted an image of a welder forging a massive abstract image of twisted colorful shapes painted by KASSO, which flowed into LUV1’s energetic black, white and grey composition that framed a pre-standing wooden structure of the Chinese alphabet layered in gold. This was then book ended by LANK’s stencil images of two lions….which gave the impression that they where guarding a secret gate or passageway of some sort.

DELVE began his section with his usual abstract minimalist approach. Working with a muted color palette, his shapes start in a circular graphic manner, then stretching out into KASSO’s portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. KASSO chose the reference of da Vinci from a drawing the renaissance master did of himself at the twilight of his years. Like DELVE, KASSO decided to run with a limited palette, but incorporated a few pop colors to break things up. LANK dropped his lion statue stencil next to the portrait and also nuts and bolts stencils around DELVE’s graphic shapes. The nuts and bolts are elements from last years mural, which tied in both murals with a similar theme.

LUV ONE flowed off the portrait and was inspired to paint a hand with a glass of Absinthe…implying that da Vinci is drinking the controversial cocktail. Along the other side of the structure, AJA worked her contribution; an abstract mesh of subdued colors in a swirl of galactic splendor. LANK capped off the section with a stencil of a compass anagram which spelled out all of our names.

After two exhausting but fun days of work, the hardest part was finding a title for the mural. With the underlying theme centered around da Vinci, we decided to go along with title “Highland Sfumato”. “Sfumato” being a renaissance term meaning, in part, “areas blending into one another”. Our goal with this project, as with all of our projects, was to keep everything well integrated. No one person can claim an entire wall. Each member of SAGE has a piece of every wall…from a small corner to a huge section. It was truly a collaborative effort.

Special thanks goes out to the Highland Design Farm for having us out yet again and for the unprecedented hospitality. Also a big thanks to “Liquitex Artist Materials” for the donation of FREESTYLE brushes used during the production of this project.

S.A.G.E. Collective

welder close up