What’s a state-of-the-art facility without any art?
Adding to Prudential Center’s fantastic new amenities, the arena is adorned with enough acrylic, charcoal, ink, oils, watercolor and photography to make a museum curator jealous.
Commissioned by the Devils, Los Angeles-based Sports & The Arts breathed life into Prudential Center with works illustrating the Garden State’s sporting tradition.
Ample selections of abstract art hang at the suite levels. The corridor leading to the arena’s restaurant could pass for a Devils historical gallery, and the Grand Concourse features several larger-than-life pieces, highlighted by The Rock’s creative centerpiece, the mural.
Conceived by Tom Mosser, “The Mural” spans 200 feet and stands 30 feet tall. Purported to be the largest sports mural in the world, Mosser and his team spent six weeks on scaffolds, utilizing a unique technique of painting that the artist himself dubbed “Ambidextrous Impressionism.” He perfected his style while playing sports as a kid in central Pennsylvania.
“Basketball coaches always stressed to dribble with both hands and I was a switch-hitter growing up playing baseball. It just made sense to me to draw with both hands, too,” he recalled.
Mosser also developed many of the vibrant watercolor paintings around the suite levels, with subject matter incorporating all of Prudential Center’s home teams: the Devils, Seton Hall Pirates, and New Jersey Ironmen. He also painted the “Vintage Stadium Series,” featuring all four arenas the Devils have called home over the years. The paintings are on Suite Level One, and oversized banners hang from the ceiling on the Grand Concourse near the Verizon Tower for all to see.
Directly beneath the “Stadium Series” banners is Samatha Wendell’s “Over Time.” The oil painting was produced on two separate canvases that measured 16 ½ feet when combined. The exhibit features New Jersey Devils greats – players and coaches – from the red and green days of Glenn “Chico” Resch all the way to Martin Brodeur and the Stanley Cup championships.
Wendell trained in portraiture in England and France, and also has two pieces prominently displayed at the Bud Light Goal Bar. “The Big Save,” featuring an outstretched Brodeur, and “The Ultimate Goal,” capturing a team celebration, are visible from the Grand Concourse. Her “Emotions of the Cup” series is located at the restaurant on Suite Level One, and highlights memorable moments from the Devils’ three title runs.
Other members of Sports & The Arts’ talented team include Brooklyn native Andy Bernstein, whose “Abstract Series” of black and white photography hangs in the Belvedere Vodka Ice Lounge.
Laurie Campbell’s “Path Train” oil paintings are on Suite Level One, and wrap the façade of the arena at the Devils Den Team Store on Edison Street. Dane Tilghman’s abstract art, a combination of “surrealism and primitive elongation” is visible in and around the restaurant, as well as the main concourse.
Michael Nighswonger’s abstract pieces, including his Devils logo compositions, are exhibited throughout the arena, while Larry Ketchum’s digitally-created pieces are located on the upper concourse.
The collection of works infuses Prudential Center’s sports and entertainment offerings with a meticulously assembled nod to fine art. It adds up to an elegant panorama in the heart of Newark’s Downtown Arts district, where the Devils’ new home is helping to fuel the city’s renaissance one canvas at a time.