Alliance Mural, coming May 2024!

We are pleased to announce ACRe received a grant from the 2024 Salem County Arts Re-Grant program, to paint the Alliance Mural!

We plan to paint a large colorful mural on 3 exterior walls of the garage structure behind the historic Moses Bayuk House, depicting scenes of immigration and agricultural work life of the original Jewish Alliance Colony established in 1882.

Much of the Alliance mural will be visible from the neighboring Alliance Cemetery and Alliance Synagogue, and visible from cars driving by on the county road Gershal Avenue.

You can follow our progress on Instagram and Facebook.

To support the mural with a PayPal donation, select "Use this donation for: Alliance Mural."

If you would like to get involved as a sponsor please contact us directly.

Jonathan Blum paints a mural

View of the easterly side of the "Bayuk Garage," the Moses Bayuk House and Alliance Synagogue from the perimeter of the Alliance Cemetery lawn

Pittsgrove Township in Salem County, New Jersey is the site of the Alliance Colony, the first Jewish farming community in America, established in 1882.

ACRe will work with acclaimed portrait artist Jonathan Blum to paint a colorful Alliance mural depicting scenes from the history of the Alliance Colony immigrating to America and settling in Pittsgrove, Salem County NJ in 1882.

The mural will cover three exterior walls on the garage building behind the Moses Bayuk House listed on the National Register of Historic Places, footsteps from the historic Alliance Cemetery and Alliance Synagogue. The mural will be visible from nearby publicly accessible locations including the cemetery and even passers-by on the county road, Gershal Ave.

The modest cinder block construction garage building behind the more infamous Moses Bayuk House has been largely underutilized. When someone recently suggested we paint it with bright colors to cheer up the place, it occurred to us we could use the building exterior as a giant canvas to tell a story of historic significance.

The mural will be attractive and draw interest to our other ACRe projects, and has the potential to lift spirits and provide additional meaning and context to visitors, especially as visible from the historic Alliance Cemetery just footsteps away where funerals, memorial services and unveilings continue to take place several times a month.

We believe that offering an interesting outdoor attraction directly adjacent to the historic cemetery has the potential to educate and pique the curiosity of many visitors, leading to opportunities for gathering and discussion at this historic site.

Roadside view of the "Bayuk Garage," left and the historic Moses Bayuk house, right.

Meet the Artists

Jonathan Blum

Mural and Portrait Painter

JONATHAN BLUM is a mural and portrait painter, whose work ranges from the fanciful to the classically realistic. Whether painting in a whimsical or realistic way, what remains consistent is Blum’s interest in creating a well-crafted, arresting image.

In 1994, Blum studied with an inspirational rabbi in Israel; before long, he was painting fictitious portraits of orthodox rabbis, a stylistic breakthrough. The elongated, bearded visage of this rabbi conveyed so much history and so much wisdom.

Seeking ways to bring new life into his portraiture, Blum turned to still life, painting objects, crowns, books, musical instruments, and, most often, food on the heads of his subjects. These "hats" give Blum's portraiture another dimension: sometimes surreal, sometimes humorous, and many times suggestive of a larger story line.

Blum studied art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and has exhibited and painted murals all over the world, in New York City; Washington, DC; Seattle; Provincetown, MA; Boston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; London; Berlin; Tel Aviv; and Prague.

William Levin

Cartoonist and Descendant of Alliance

WILLIAM LEVIN, ACRe Co-Founder and Alliance Colony Descendant, was born on the farm in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, NJ where his family have lived since 1883 as founding Alliance Colony settlers. Levin is an animator, composer and worked as an art teacher for the NYC Department of Education and writer for Sesame Workshop. Known for his edgy and innovative work and his ability to create synergies in the Jewish community—much like his great-great grandfather Moses Bayuk, founder of the Alliance Colony—Levin is returning to his roots by creating ACRe.

Levin will serve as Blum's amanuensis.

Meet the Walls

Easterly side of the Bayuk Garage, visible from the Alliance Cemetery lawn.

Southerly side of the Bayuk Garage, visible from the ACRe house screened porch.

Westerly side of the Bayuk Garage, visible from Gershal Ave and when exiting the Alliance Synagogue driveways.

Paintings by Blum

Blum meets Bluma

Moses Bayuk's youngest daughter Bluma Bayuk Rappoport Purmell, folk artist and author of A Farmer's Daughter: Bluma.

We are planning a tribute to Bluma Bayuk's paintings of early Alliance settler life.

More details to come after Passover when Blum and Levin meet to sketch out the first draft of mural illustrations on paper.

Bayuk Bros

A little known piece of Alliance NJ History:

Moses Bayuk's three sons Max, Meyer and Sam left the colony as teenagers and hightailed to NYC where they learned the tobacco biz.

In 1886 they moved to Philadelphia and started their own cigar factor, Bayuk Brothers, incorporated in 1920 and then became Bayuk Cigars in 1923.

They became famous for their PHILLIES brand cigars, which by the 1930s became the most popular cigar in the country.

You can see an original PHILLIES ad in the top window of the "Bayuk Garage," a gift from Meyer Bayuk's great-great nephew and friend of ACRe Mark Bayuk.

Maybe the Bayuk branding will find its way into the mural? Only creative energy and supplies will tell.

Salem County logo

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a division of the Department of State, through the Salem County Board of County Commissioners & The Salem County Cultural & Heritage Commission.