Wellmont Arts Plaza Makes the List of APA’s Great Places in New Jersey

The Wellmont Arts Plaza became a gathering spot during the 10th annual Montclair Film Festival. Photo: Montclair Film/Neil Grabowsky

Montclair’s newest public space — The Wellmont Arts Plaza — is officially great! The plaza has made the list of The New Jersey Chapter of the American Planners Association 2021 Great Places in New Jersey.

Here’s how the Plaza is described from the announcement:

The destination, located on 2.5 acres, also brings Montclair two new mixed-use buildings with commercial spaces that straddle the new 14,000 SF programmable pedestrian arts plaza. This pedestrian plaza is anchored by the Wellmont Theater which supports the creation of the ‘arts district’. The space is so popular that it has instantly become the new town center.

The Wellmont Arts Plaza features sculptural entry walls, overhead catenary lighting, and a unique “performance stair” which compliments the extensive landscaping and plays host to a variety of programmable uses such as outdoor dining, open-air performances, and shopping. A perfect placemaking example, this new pedestrian plaza transformed an underutilized public street into an even larger cultural destination and created a public space that promotes people’s health, happiness, and well-being. Complete with an open-air performing space, this will be a hub for local creatives to share their art. Pedestrians can gather without the intrusion of vehicles, and this consequentially spurs neighborhood interactions, heightens pedestrian safety, encourages walking, and in this case, dancing.

The diverse mix of uses will ensure the Wellmont Arts Plaza will be active day and night. The public plaza and art strengthen its “sense of place”. The neighborhood’s beacon, The Wellmont Theater, activates this redevelopment area every day of the week thus impacting local businesses. The new building’s modern design elements provide a contextual transition linking the new development with the established neighborhood and fortifies the vibrant arts and entertainment scene of Montclair.

Music makers gathered at Wellmont Arts Plaza for Unsilent Night Montclair.

Would you agree that the Wellmont Arts Plaza is Montclair’s new town center?

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