It would take quite some wide-angle lens to capture the breadth of Tarrytown, from Sunnyside to Sleepy Hollow, but not if you’re artist Tim Grajek. His mural, commissioned by the Tarrytown Placemaking Committee, easily spans the town’s length of the Hudson River, embracing its landmarks and features in one horizontal, colorful spread.
Titled Greetings from Tarrytown, in English and Spanish, it occupies a wall on the corner of Main Street and Kaldenberg Place, just below the Music Hall, and brings dazzling hues to the side street, illustrating local highlights and places of note simultaneously.
“The scale is arbitrary. And the content is non-linear, both historically and in terms of the seasons,” says Grajek, who has included Native Americans canoeing in the lower reaches of the Hudson while Pete Seeger’s sloop Clearwater heads downstream from the north. The trees illustrate spring and fall while the inclusion of TaSH’s farmer’s market suggests summer.
Buildings include Lyndhurst, the Warner Library, the train station, and the Historical Society. A bald eagle flies high at one end, a sturgeon swims menacingly in the river, meanwhile adults and children cycle, kayak, and frolic generally. The style is folk art, but Grajek admits that he is also influenced by Matisse, Chagall, and Henri Rousseau, with hints of Diego Rivera. Whatever the inspiration, the work has already found a warm response in the community. “Kids love and respond to it,” the artist adds, with one boy dropping by daily during the three-week creative process, to spot what has been newly added.
This joyous and inviting vision – which will be unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24, followed by a celebration at Horsefeathers – is a notable achievement by the village’s Placemaking Committee which, on the village website, defines placemaking as “a method of reimagining and reinventing public spaces so as to attract people to gather, meet and mingle.”
Committee member Barbara Goodman-Barnett says: “We thought that a mural was a way to transform a public space, strengthening the connection between people and the places they share. We all agreed that the mural should communicate an inviting and welcoming message, keeping it bipartisan and non-sectarian, acknowledging history and diversity.”
A call for artists was distributed to various art organizations throughout Westchester and New York City, and, after reviewing the submissions, local artist Grajek was selected, a proven talent who has created other murals and the two maps in central Tarrytown.
Another success the committee has achieved is turning some seating outside the now-closed Mrs. Green’s store on North Broadway into a gathering place, by turning around the benches, and adding planters and pollinator plants. Historical photos will follow.
The mural, though, has been a bigger project and will, it’s hoped, be followed by others in the village. “We wanted something you would see right when you enter town,” Goodman adds. “If you’re visiting the Music Hall, it will be hard to miss, something that will brighten up that street.”
And the perfect place for a selfie.