The usually lively Vernon Township Senior Center has been shuttered by the Covid-19 pandemic for a year now. Township officials and the Department of Public Works employees are remodeling, updating, and sprucing up the center for a possible fall reopening.
Artist Kim Esposito of Vernon graciously donated the 58-by-12-foot mural that now adorns the right-side wall of the center. She chose as her subject the iconic symbol of Vernon: the Stairway to Heaven section of the historic Appalachian Trail.
“The Stairway to Heaven area was the perfect subject,” said Esposito. “Vernon’s pitch is people and nature together.”
Esposito returned to William Paterson University as an adult to complete her bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She began the mural on Feb. 13, and, after working eight to nine hours per day, completed the project on Feb. 22.
The acrylic-paint mural perfectly depicts the high vista hikers get to see after a strenuous climb. The visual reward is truly worth the effort, with its eye-catching greenery, brilliant shades of blue sky, and, if you’re there at the end of the day, a heavenly sunset. Also represented are Vernon’s native fauna: black bears, deer, hawks, an eagle, cardinals, crows, and other local birds — along with a surprise. Viewers will have fun engaging in the “Where’s Waldo”-type search to find Bigfoot in the shadows.
The senior center director, Jane Damstra, said she is excited about the center’s new energy.
Esposito is the owner and artist designer of Design in Living Color. She is also the author and illustrator of an upcoming children’s book, “Pet Tales.” Once the senior center reopens, Esposito plans to donate senior art classes and art experiences.
Esposito is a member of the Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
Esposito said of her stunning mural, “All who see this mural will appreciate the peacefulness of it.”