Last week’s sip and paint event at Brix Restaurant was a fundraiser for Green Belleville Civic Association, a group formed last year dedicated to projects, outreach and education.
It supports the township’s current Green Team, a group established by vote of the mayor and council in 2019 to pursue environmental stewardship and sustainability of Belleville.
This fundraiser will help offset some of the expenses realized by the Green Team, which works in concert with the township and the statewide Sustainable Jersey program.
For instance, the money raised at the event could help buy a sign listing the usage rules at the recently unveiled Community Gardens in Fairway Park on Riverdale Avenue.
Or, it could be used to purchase milkweed plants, which provide food for Monarch caterpillars throughout Belleville.
“We have a lot of projects in mind,” Gabrielle Bennett-Meany, the Green Team coordinator, said.
“One thing we would like to do is purchase and install a compost bin. Along with the compost bin, we would like to create some workshop programming to show residents how compost can help grow plants in their own gardens.”
Earlier this year, state officials revealed that Belleville had earned the bronze certification from Sustainable Jersey. The Township was one of 55 towns in New Jersey to attain the status for 2020, as “going green” continues to gain local momentum.
The sip and paint event was hosted by local artist Athena Zhe, who is best known for turning a large swath of concrete wall along the Passaic River into a mural celebrating Belleville’s title as “The Cherry Blossom Capital of America.”
Zhe guided her budding artists step-by-step as they created their own versions of a tropical sunrise, complete with palm trees and a hammock.
“I love to show others how to paint and create art,” she said. “I think the key is to be encouraging. Although the goal is for everyone to create a nice piece, this is also about having fun and raising money for a great cause.” As each course was served and the wine glasses were refilled, the room at Brix filled with more and more laughter.
“This was a great social event,” Kimberley France said. “Everyone is talking and laughing and having fun. That is the best part of this.”
And if one or two paintings aren’t exactly picture perfect, the Green Team notes the canvasses can always be recycled.
“This was a fun event for a great cause,” Councilman Vinny Cozzarelli said. “The Green Team has a lot of great projects on the horizon.”
For more information, visit the Green Team page on the Belleville Website.