Kearny Public Library recently showcased one of its most unique collections at an art reception in mid-June in the building’s outdoor reading garden, said Josh Humphrey, library director.
“For anyone who has visited the library in recent years, you may have noticed our interesting collection of artwork on the ground floor. As with everything in our beloved space, it has an interesting history,” Humphrey said. “Several years ago, Jennifer Cullen, the dynamic president of our Friends group, came across Mick Wiggins’ artwork while searching the internet for art related to the book. Wiggins, a Florida native who now resides in Little Rock, Arkansas has been creating amazing illustrations and book covers in its own quiet way for over 30 years.
Humphrey says he was “a perfect find for us, and we started adding his framed prints right away.”
Many of his digital works serve as covers for classic and contemporary novels, ranging from American literary giant John Steinbeck to contemporary British novelist Nicola Upson and award-winning young novelist Cynthia Voigt.
“Everything looked great on our walls, but it was just the start of a longer relationship,” Humphrey said. “In 2021, as we struggled to regain some level of normality after COVID-related closures and limitations, we tried our best to bring back adult programming.”
Enter Cullen again.
“At this point, our collection of Mick Wiggins prints numbered up to 30 in our spaces, particularly in our new teen room funded by River Terminal Development,” he said. “Through email correspondence, we learned that Mick would be in the area for a few weeks to visit his son, Leo. Jennifer was able to lure him into our building to view his work on display and meet some of his This event last year was a huge success, and it led to something even more interesting.
After appreciating his work, including many pieces that Mick had never even seen reproduced in this scale, he made the library the unique offer to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art in honor of the building.
“Last June, we had the opportunity to unveil this new piece, a faithful reproduction of our 1907 Carnegie building through the single lens of an extremely talented digital artist. The result is of course breathtaking. We got our first glimpse at a reception featuring Mick and his family, Jennifer Cullen and the band Friends, our former manager Julie McCarthy, council liaison and library champion Eileen Eckel and our beloved mayor Santos.
Humphrey says the piece has been printed and framed in the largest possible format and will now hang in a central part of the main hallway, just above the portrait of Andrew Carnegie, whose $32,000 donation about 115 years made construction possible.
It joins the more than 50 pieces framed by Mick Wiggins.
“We invite everyone to come take a look at our newest acquisition, another amazing story in a community of amazing stories,” Humphrey said.
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor and broadcaster of The Observer, a place where he has worked on and off since 2006. including the weekly editorial), making live broadcasts on facebook live, including a weekly news recap – and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he presented his very first blog to the newspaper, which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year he returned to West Hudson to return full time to The Observer. Click on here to email Kevin.