Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wordish/OutdoorWednesday: Former Nike Base Becomes Art Park!

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During the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the 1950's and 1960's, there were multiple Nike Missile sites in the U.S., including several in New Jersey.

As the cold war started to fade in the 1970's, several of these Nike bases were abandoned. In 1974 the federal government sold the one in Livingston to the county for $1.00. Interestingly, instead of building condos or strip malls upon it (which is what would happen today), the county came up with a unique idea: convert the former missile base into art studios at greatly reduced rents to artists.

Artists at Riker Hill work in a rustic and rather wild looking place, dotted with tall grass and wildflowers (apparently artists do not like to mow anything). It's not particularly beautiful but rather certainly different.

We visited there in May and took these photos. I didn't see any artists, but they were probably inside the buildings. I didn't want to disturb them. There are rather unusual metal sculptures and also remnants of the former Army base are still around, as seen in the very last photo.

They have open houses every year when you can meet the artists and purchase art, but I always forget about them or else they are on days that I cannot be there. Hopefully, next year.

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You can read more about the former Nike bases here, here, and here.

Weird NJ wrote about the Nike bases here.

You can read about Riker Hill Art Park here.

You can see one artist's sketches done at Riker here.

You can read more Wordless Wednesday here.

You can read more Wordful Wednesday here.

You can read more Outdoor Wednesday here.







18 comments:

  1. I was just in Jersey this past weekend Iove your pics looks like some really cool artwork
    thenightowlmama.com

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  2. thanks for joining the german wordless wednesday! :)
    http://tinaspicstory.blogspot.com

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  3. Caite@a lovely shore breezeDecember 7, 2011 at 6:07 AM

    interesting...and weird.
    I love Weird NJ..

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  4. In this day and time the tea party would go ape here in Oklahoma over a government sponsored art park. I love the concept though especially as executed in your pics.

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  5. I love this!  I'm an artist, and what better way to reclaim a missile base but with creativity?

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  6. Oh how cool is that?  Love it - and all the shots! :)


    The Toothbrush Tree

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  7. It's kind of sad nothing is going on in that place. The arts placed in there are awesome!
    Mackinac Island

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  8. what a neat idea for an old base. I love reading about interesting and new places. Thanks for sharing. If you have time to stop by my site at www.forgottencompass.com I invite you to follow along :) Have a good one!

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  9. Yes, it sure is different. I love the quirky aspects of New Jersey.

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  10. I can't imagine this happening now, even though the county got the land for one dollar.  I wonder who had the idea originally. Obviously an art lover.  It's a great idea, though.

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  11. It was just a quiet day when I was there. I'm sure the artists were busy in their studios.

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