Making sure ‘unity’ is written in stone in Nutley

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NUTLEY, NJ — Nutley Partners for Peace gathered again in Yanticaw Park to work on the next phase of its public art project, cleaning and decorating the rocks that will be used to build a sculpture that spells the word “unity.” The art piece will be displayed on the lawn not far from where the tables were set up in the park on May 7 to decorate the rocks, honoring Nutley’s status as the 223rd International City of Peace.

“We’re inviting people in Nutley to put a message of goodwill on a rock that will be a part of the sculpture,” Jill Fenske, the pastor of Franklin Reformed Church and a member of Nutley Partners for Peace, said in an interview with the Nutley Journal at the event. “They can draw a picture or write a few words or even just sign their name.”

Inspiration for the piece came from a similar project that Nutley High School students worked on in 2015, when international students from Honduras spent time in Nutley and painted a street mural in town. A year later they returned to the United States and made another mural at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

“We’re excited about the project,” Fenske said. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want peace. We hope everyone will participate, whether they live in Nutley or work in Nutley.”

A date isn’t yet set for the unveiling of the sculpture, but the goal is for it to be sometime this fall. Nutley Partners for Peace worked with the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs to find a place for the piece; Yanticaw Park is county property.

Fenske said there will be more opportunities to decorate a rock at the park throughout the summer before the sculpture starts to be constructed. Materials will be provided. Donations for the project can be made by contacting Nutley Partners for Peace at, 973-284-4929 or [email protected]

“It’s a lasting testament to the community,” Fenske said. “We’re going to need a lot of rocks.”

Photos by Amanda Valentovic