On the Ave: Our Village

By: Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

Anytime we, in Main Street Vineland, embark on a project, it entails more than just us. It’s often the result of many people and organizations who are brought to the table and contribute greatly to the success of the venture. In other words, “it takes a village…”

The military mural project about which I wrote in the previous column—and which was launched with a press conference last week—is a good case in point. This project, and the entire Urban Canvases on The Ave mural project, bring a lot of people together.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those who helped make the launching of the military mural project a success, so you’ll see what I mean. I gave thanks to these people and organizations at the press conference, but they deserve another shout-out here.

I want to thank our grantees and sponsors. This includes a grant from the Cumberland County Cultural & Heritage Commission/Department of State. The Thrive South Jersey initiative of New Jersey Community Capital also provided funding. BB&T, through its Lighthouse Project, is providing paint and supplies, as well as people who have started to prime the wall to provide a “blank canvas” for the mural. Ace Hardware donated 45 gallons of paint for the project. I also want to acknowledge the office of dentist Dr. Robert Carlson for granting us permission to use the wall of their building. Thanks go to all of them. Also, the Vineland Public Schools will be playing an active role in some future murals.

Thanks also go to the various Vineland City departments that have worked with us on this—from the City administration, to Public Works, to all the others who help us in so many ways. I also want to thank the Main Street Vineland Board, staff, volunteers, and maintenance men Wayne and Michael Joslin for all their behind-the-scenes prep work. 

A special salute goes to the representatives of the five branches of the military. Their bravery in helping to keep our country free was the inspiration for the mural and their presence and support for the launch of this project was so very meaningful.

No mural is complete without a muralist and, from the beginning, we saw that George Perez was the right person for the job. George combines his talent and abilities with being a true gentleman and a delight to work with. With him, this project is in expert hands.


Don’t forget that Play Streets returns to downtown Vineland for its second year. This is a collaboration with the Vineland Community Policing, as well as many other civic and non-profit organizations, along with Main Street Vineland, will take place over five Fridays—June 28, and July 5, 12, 19, and 26. For the last four weeks, one block of Sixth Street—from Landis Avenue to Elmer Street—will be closed off to traffic and will provide a place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.,, for youngsters to engage in games, projects, health-related activities, and other ways to get them outside and engaged in constructive activities. The first week will be a “pop-up” Play Streets at Roberto Clemente Park, Seventh and Humbert Streets. Among the participating organizations are the Vineland Health Department, Vineland Municipal/City of Vineland, Daniel’s Den, and the Vineland Police Department. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Watch for more information.

Further sponsorship opportunities are available for all these events. Contact the Main Street Vineland office for more information. Keep watching for more information on these and the Food Truck Festival on The Ave on August 25. n


This is all the more reason to make The Ave your destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment needs. Save money on gasoline, avoid the long lines at the big-box stores, malls, and shopping centers, and take in the rich variety of fun things to do—right in your own backyard.

For more information on Main Street Vineland, call 856-794-8653, visit TheAve.biz or check them out on Facebook. You can also e-mail rswanson@vinelandcity.org.