Korst previously was leading marketing at Mattersight, where he worked on for personality-based software applications. Prior to that, he spent 13 years at Microsoft working in sales and marketing. During his last five years with the company he led marketing and public relations for the global customer service and support division. Korst began his career at IBM.
Korst holds a master’s degree in business communications from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
The printing and bindery company has moved from Princeton Pike to Windsor Industrial Park.
Gerard C. Finn, 88, on October 14. He was an entrepreneur and real estate developer who built communities up and down the East Coast including Brooktree and Old York Estates in East Windsor. His landmark development, Twin Rivers in East Windsor, was the original Planned Unit Development, creating the legal framework for mixed-use zoning in New Jersey. He also developed Village 2 in New Hope among other projects. After selling his development company he became a consultant and adviser, and founded NAI Global, which has become the world’s largest network of commercial real estate brokerage firms. Services will be held Wednesday, October 17, between 4 and 7 p.m. at 2133 Windrows in Princeton.
Margaret Ardith Giudice Baker, 89, on October 11. She was an executive secretary for RCA’s patent department at Sarnoff Labs in Princeton.
Herbert B. Bowes, 71, on October 7. He was a longtime realtor in Hamilton Township and owner of Century 21 Cross County Realty.
Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design LLC (JZA+D), 20 Nassau Street, Suite 25, Princeton 08542. 609-924-5004. Joshua B. Zinder, principal. www.joshuazinder.com.
The architecture and design firm JZA+D has completed an energy-efficient renovation of Princeton University’s Center for Jewish Life, a facility originally designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects in 1993 at the corner of Washington Road and Ivy Lane.
This building, which houses assembly, education, and office functions has suffered wear-and-tear on surfaces and furnishings over the years. According to Joshua Zinder, founding principal of JZA+D, the facility has now been refreshed with new finishes, furnishing, and fixtures, while the building’s mechanical systems and exterior building envelope including windows and front doors have been upgraded to minimize energy use and reduce future maintenance.
About 17,800 square feet of building area has been improved in the process, based on the architect’s recommendations. Some walls were removed and the front entrance made more secure.
The site of the old Mega Dollar store on White Horse-Mercerville Road is set to become a Snap Box storage facility. The Hamilton Township zoning board has approved a plan to renovate the existing 43,000-square-foot building and add 38,522 square feet.
The shopping center has been vacant since 2013. The Mega Dollar was only open for six months before shutting down, leaving the shopping center without an anchor store. The old shopping center had multiple owners.
Work has finally started on the old General Motors site on Parkway Avenue in Ewing, following the sale of the property.
RACER Trust announced in September the sale of the property to Parkway Town Center Urban Renewal LLC, an entity created by Atlantic Realty, the developer of the site. The project — a mixed-use development called Ewing Town Center — has experienced numerous delays while RACER completed environmental cleanup of the property.
The project, approved by the township planning board in 2016, calls for the construction of 1,184 residential rental units, 94,750 square feet of retail, and 14,375 square feet of offices. At least 10 percent of the housing would be set aside for state-mandated low and moderate-income housing.
The approval came some two decades after General Motors shut down operations on the 80-acre tract, and almost two years after it was originally proposed by Lennar Corp.
In early 2014 the Ewing Township Redevelopment Agency approved a concept plan by Lennar to build the town center, but that plan never reached the planning board. Lennar opted to bow out of the deal due to changing market conditions and escalating environmental cleanup costs. The original plan was for Lennar to build the for-sale townhouse units and partner with Atlantic Realty to construct the multifamily properties.
Atlantic, which primarily builds and manages rental projects, expressed interest in developing the town center after Lennar’s exit, but wanted to develop the residential portion of the site with all rentals. The township worked with Atlantic for about a year to come up with a plan for an all-rental development.
The project is scheduled to be built in five phases beginning with 164 residential units and community green space.
“We are very pleased to have sold this property to a company with demonstrated development success over many decades and look forward to what is sure to be a transformative project that will provide new housing, job opportunities, and other benefits for the community,” said Elliott P. Laws, of EPLET LLC, administrative trustee of RACER Trust.
Not in my backyard? Maybe not, but maybe that’s a good place to start to study your neighborhood, your town, and your surrounding region.
If you’re like me you may take a dim view of NIMBYs, the people who ignore most things going on in their hometown until something is proposed close to where they live. Then they turn up at the planning board and proclaim that the idea may be OK someplace else, but “not in my backyard.”
A few weeks ago I saw an item in our sister newspaper, the Princeton Echo, announcing a Saturday meeting of Princeton Future, the privately funded group that studies various development issues facing the town and offers suggestions to the town’s governing bodies on how to proceed. As it says in its mission statement, at www.princetonfuture.org, “As the Princeton region grows, a complex intertwining set of issues related to planning, development, and affordability needs to be faced, analyzed, and, in so far as is possible, resolved collectively. We hope to move forward together with a view towards integrated solutions. We hope to avoid the piecemeal, project-by-project approach that has led to community frustrations, inequities, and general dissatisfaction that opportunities were squandered.”
Sounds reasonable, especially if you have ever attended a planning board meeting and witnessed a resident voicing some reasonable concerns about a proposal presented by a team of high priced lawyers, planners, and traffic consultants, after obviously having had discussions with the town’s professional planners. The resident ends up looking like the skunk at the garden party. You wish the resident had been involved a lot earlier. That’s the role Princeton Future has played in many community discussions, including the creation of Hinds Plaza by the public library, the relocation of the Dinky for the Lewis arts center, the planning for the site vacated by the medical center when it moved out to Route 1, and other big-picture issues.
The most recent meeting had to do with affordable housing — certainly a big picture issue. The announcement for the meeting posed the following question: “Are there options that can encourage economic growth, benefit Princeton’s taxpayers, fulfill our commitment to affordable housing, and enhance community character?”
Unfortunately it was scheduled for a Saturday when I was heading out of town. Then I looked at the fine print. The discussion would focus on four locations, the mid-block of Nassau Street, where Labyrinth Books is located; the Griggs Corner parking lot adjacent to Mistral on Witherspoon; a place called “E = mc Square(d),” the open area behind Starbucks that contains a small municipal parking lot and some private parking; and the Park Place parking lot.
Park Place? Hey, that’s my backyard! (Or across the street from my front yard, to be accurate.) I postponed my trip for a few hours and headed to the library.
Backyard issues aren’t necessarily limited to your own backyard. Before the 50 or 60 of us in attendance broke into groups to study each of those locations above, we heard a presentation by Thomas K. Wright, a Princeton resident (and, as oldtimers can tell you, the son of Thomas H. Wright, the former general counsel and vice president at Princeton University) and now president of the Regional Plan Association, a 96-year-old organization that engages in research, planning, and advocacy with respect to issues facing the tri-state area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey (including Mercer County).
As a student at Princeton young Wright took Architecture 101 from Bob Geddes (one of the co-founders of Princeton Future with Sheldon Sturges and Bob Goheen), graduated in 1991 with a degree in history, and then earned a master’s in urban planning from Columbia. At the Regional Plan Association Wright sees lots of planning challenges. “Part of the beauty of Princeton Future is its local focus,” Wright says. “But we’re also part of the metropolitan region. If we aren’t aware of the big regional issues we will be run over them.” Among them:
Climate change. Wright’s talk at Princeton Future came just after the UN issued its most sobering report yet on the impact of climate change and the need for action now to reverse what would otherwise be irreversible harm. The Meadowlands, for example, is in a low-lying area that could be flooded by mid-century. Teterboro Airport could be under water. Wright suggests thinking of the Meadowlands as a “climate resilience” park.
We may have already gotten a sneak preview of climate realities with Superstorm Sandy, and the long-term damage it caused to train tunnels under the Hudson River, Wright says.
Transit. The two Hudson River tunnels, Wright notes, are now 110 years old. If one is closed for repairs, the overall capacity is reduced by about 75 percent.
“Transit is the lifeblood of our economy,” Wright says. And the improvements would pay for themselves. Real estate studies show that, for every minute of commuting time to New York you knock off, the value of a house rises by about $3,000. Reduce a neighborhood’s commuting time to Manhattan by 15 minutes and every house in the neighborhood increases in value by an average of $45,000. On this basis, the $12 billion project to build a new tunnel under the river would return a value of about $18 billion.
Housing, especially affordable housing. Even without the escalating value caused by potential transit improvements, housing in our region is already a dearly priced item. In fact, says Wright, three-fourths of the families our area cannot afford to buy a home (based on the assumption that a household should spend no more than 30 percent of its income on housing). “We know where we are headed,” Wright says, referring to San Francisco and its astronomically priced housing.
The answer to the housing problem is to increase the production of housing. “If we simply made it easy to create ‘granny flats’ out of single family homes, we could add more than 500,000 new housing units with no new construction,” Wright says. “If we took three-fourths of the parking lots at train stations and used that acreage for housing, we could create 250,000 homes — all of them within walking distance of the trains.” Wright’s own commute to Manhattan takes him through the vast sea of surface parking at the Princeton Junction train station. While there are finally some plans in the works for housing and a mix of retail and office space in the tract adjoining the station, it can come none too soon for Wright. “I consider the Princeton Junction station a daily affront to everything I have done in my career. It’s a waste of public space.”
Soon it was time for the rest of us at the Princeton Future work session — most of us rank amateurs armed only by our first-hand, street level knowledge of the terrain — to discuss ideas for our neighborhood. The Park Place discussion included seven or eight participants, only one of whom had any professional experience. That was architect Ron Berlin, who used to live on Madison Street, which intersects with Park. He said he was always bothered by the Park Place vista — a municipal parking lot carved out of an otherwise pleasing streetscape of modest homes.
I was there because I once heard talk of converting the Park Place parking lot into a parking garage. “Not in my backyard” was my response to that idea. The table kicked around some ideas, including my point that the parking lot has one entrance off of Vandeventer Avenue, and then another entrance and exit off of Park. Maybe one of those access points could be eliminated and a trio of row homes could be constructed in front of the parking lot. The housing would consume some precious parking spaces in the lot. But someone else suggested adding a level of parking, which in this case would be shielded from the street by the housing. Maybe I could buy that.
All this brainstorming was only that, of course. There is no current discussion (that we know of) regarding imminent changes to the Park Place parking lot. But there could be, and when it does come up a few of us at the table may feel that we have some ownership in the discussion and its outcome.
I have to contrast the Princeton Future exercise with what is going on in Trenton these days. Last week I completed an in-depth story on the capital city and its prospects for the future. I suggested a few items for possible action that could help move the needle of progress in the city — little things like smart parking meters, better signage, more visible and clearly marked pedestrian and bicycle paths, and more events, such as an Hispanic food festival, that might lure visitors from a place like Princeton. The little things could stand as signs of real progress while much larger, long-range goals were pursued.
The day after that story was printed, the Trenton movers and shakers were instead caught up in a planning board review of the state’s plan to locate two new office buildings in areas that would do little to improve Trenton’s central business district. It’s a noble fight: The proposed location of the new office buildings flies in the face of Trenton’s comprehensive master plan.
That’s top-down urban planning, and it’s good that citizens try to intervene in that process.
But what’s also needed in Trenton, I think, is more proactive planning such as that facilitated by Princeton Future. Call it bottom-up planning. Or even better, backyard-out. To get more people involved, the backyard is not a bad place to start.
If French biotech company Erytech is right about the properties of its Erycaps technology, it could lead to a cure for many types of cancer. And the medicine will be made first in an unassuming office off Alexander Road.
Erytech offers a new way of delivering drugs to patients, which is to encapsulate substances in red blood cells before delivering them into the bloodstream. The company believes this offers many advantages over traditional delivery methods and could lead to new treatments for cancer and some metabolic diseases. Clinical trials have been promising, and a new manufacturing plant in West Windsor will supply the materials for the late stage trials of its GRASPA drug that Erytech hopes will lead to approval by the FDA and European regulators.
The company, based in Lyon, France, has its U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and recently opened a facility at 104 Campus Drive in West Windsor’s University Square complex. There, technicians will take blood purchased from blood banks and turn it into what some media reports have dubbed “superblood” by infusing the cells with L-asparaginase, a cancer-fighting enzyme that is used to treat leukemia.
The key to the treatment is the amino acid asparagine, which all cells need in order to survive. Normal cells can make their own asparagine, but tumor cells cannot.
“If you can degrade asparagine in the blood, normal cells should not suffer but tumor cells would go into starvation,” said Gil Beyen, CEO of Erytech.
That’s where asparaginase comes in. This enzyme breaks down the asparagine that circulates in the bloodstream, which causes the tumor cells to starve to death.
In this respect, Erytech stands on the shoulders of giants.
“Our technology is putting drugs into red cells. We have not invented asparaginase, but we see clearly that we can add an additional series of benefits,” Beyen said.
Asparaginase’s anti-cancer uses were discovered in the 1950s and it has been used against leukemia since the 1970s. But Erytech believes that blood encapsulation will greatly improve its effectiveness and widen its potential uses.
Erytech’s process starts with units of blood bought from the Red Cross or other blood banks. That is one reason the company chose to locate its U.S. facility in the Princeton area: it’s just a short drive from blood banks. The Red Cross has a blood donation center nearby at 707 Alexander Road.
Although it is little known to blood donors, who donate to the organization for free, the Red Cross covers the costs of blood banking by selling blood not only to hospitals, but to academic institutions and biotech and pharmaceutical companies, which use it for research.
The cost of blood varies depending on location. One report pegged the price of a pint of blood in the Midwest at $200, while the same pint might go for $600 in Miami, with the rate varying depending on the cost of living (and therefore labor costs). Essentially, blood is treated as a specialty pharmaceutical product in and of itself.
All blood donated to the Red Cross is screened for pathogens, and could be used to study diseases such as the Zika virus. By one estimate, about 1 percent of all the blood the Red Cross collects will be used for research.
In the case of Erytech, blood donors can rest easy knowing that the blood will make its way to a patient, though in an enhanced form.
The blood is carefully matched between donor and recipient.
From there, the blood is put in a machine that loads the drug substance into the cells using hypotonic gradients, which is a difference in osmotic pressure. (the pressure needed to cause a substance to pass through a membrane via osmosis.) “We take red cells from donors we get from the blood bank, and submit these red cells to hypotonic stress,” Beyen says. “We use an osmotic medium that will make the cells swell and the pores or membranes open up. That’s when the drug substance can enter the cell.”
This process is complicated by the fact that individual people’s blood cells will respond to the osmotic medium differently. Some cells require little encouragement to open up, while others need more. It is important to get this part right, and it must be tailored to the individual unit of blood.
Yann Godfrin, the inventor of Erytech’s technology, had to master osmotic fragility testing techniques in order to make the technology viable in the real world.
“We need to know what is the sweet spot,” Beyen says. “The window of when the cells open up sufficiently and become porous, but not too much. If it’s too high then all the cells will explode and you will not have anything left. If it’s not enough then you will not have the drug substance inside the cells … if we know osmotic fragility then we can calculate how much osmotic pressure to apply in encapsulation.”
After the process is complete, the treated blood is sent to the patient to be used immediately. Erytech estimates the treatment will cost about the same as other currently used asparaginase treatments, and less than stem cell treatments.
But why go through all this trouble to encapsulate the drug in red blood cells?
There are two major advantages to using red blood cells rather than delivering the drug freely in the bloodstream. Firstly, a pack of red blood cells has a half-life of about 30 days. Asparaginase injected directly into the blood only has a half-life of one day. So advantage 1: massively extending how long the drug stays active once delivered.
Asparaginase can also be toxic to some patients and provoke severe allergic reactions. Currently, asparaginase is mainly used to treat childhood leukemia because children resist the toxicity very well. Delivering it by blood reduces the toxicity dramatically and allow it to be used on older patients and against other types of cancer.
Secondly, another property of red blood cells is that they end their lives in the spleen or bone marrow. This means that the cells can be used as a “Trojan horse” to deliver the drug directly to these organs. Many immuotherapy treatments want their drugs to get to the spleen, but most of it is cleared in the bloodstream before getting there. Beyen said Erytech is in pre-clinical research for immunotherapy applications. It is developing a product called Erymmune that uses red blood cells to deliver antigens to the spleen, which is intended to create a sustained activation of the immune system.
Of all the potential uses for Erycaps, the closest to becoming reality is against pancreatic cancer, which affects at least 150,000 people a year worldwide. At the same time, Erytech is pursuing trials of the drug against triple-negative breast cancer and another against solid tumors.
The trial for pancreatic cancer has been enrolling patients worldwide since September and the plan is to have 500 patients in the entire trial. (Anyone interested in participating in the trial can visit www.clinicaltrials.gov or e-mail email@example.com for more information.)
Until last year, Erytech intended to go to market with its drug against leukemia (blood cancer). However, a disappointing trial in late 2017 of the drug against acute myeloid leukemia caused it to withdraw.
However, Beyen said, Erytechs early trials for pancreatic cancers underway at the same time had also showed promising results, with patients experiencing a 40 percent reduced risk of death versus conventional treatment. And the market for pancreatic cancer is 10 times the size of the market for acute lymphoid leukemia — about 80,000 patients vs. 6,000. Further, the market for leukemia treatments is crowded, Beyen said, while there are relatively few options for pancreatic cancer treatment.
“There is bigger opportunity with less competitive pressure and a bigger unmet medical need,” Beyen said. Pancreatic cancer patients are, on average, age 65, so they do not tolerate conventional asparaginase treatment. “There’s not really much for these patients,” Beyen said.
Pancreatic cancer is also one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with a five-year survival rate of only 10 percent.
Investors responded skeptically to the news of the switch in focus, with Erytech stock dropping from nearly $18 earlier in 2018 to around $8 by early October.
Interim results should be available by the end of 2019 and approval by 2021 or 2022 if everything goes well. The company is seeking approval in the U.S. and the E.U. simultaneously.
Asparaginase is not the only enzyme being considered. Erytech also thinks that arginine and methionine could also be used to starve tumors if delivered by blood cell.
The machine that Erytech uses was invented by Yann Godfrin, a French electromechanical engineer who also has a doctorate in life sciences. “He has a unique profile,” Beyen said. “He was really a broad spectrum guy.” After having the idea to create a blood encapsulation device, Godfrin teamed up with a business partner to found his company in 2004 on a shoestring budget. It was enough to build the machine and run a preliminary clinical trial, after which he was able to raise more money. Today, Erytech is a publicly traded company on the Euronext Paris and Nasdaq exchanges.
Beyen joined the team in 2012. He grew up in Belgium in a small town near Brussels. His father was a professor of French literature and his mother a historian, but Beyen says he has always been interested in biology. He has a master’s in bioengineering from the University of Leuven in Belgium and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Before joining Erytech, he was CEO of TiGenix, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Belgium that he founded in 2000.
His joining Erytech was a year before the company was listed on the Nasdaq with a $144 million offering. Beyen was brought on board for his expertise in development: his previous company was the first in Europe to get approval for stem cell therapy.
Among the large investors in the company are two hedge funds, Biotechnology Value Fund of San Francisco, which owns 9 percent of the stock, and Baker Brothers Advisors, a New York firm that owns about 27 percent.
Erytech’s board is made up of Beyen and executives of other multinational biotech companies. For example, board member Martine George, a medical doctor, was formerly vice president in charge of global medical affairs for Pfizer.
Erytech has struck a deal with Orphan Europe to market GRASPA in Europe. It is also partnering with Teva, an Israeli multinational company, which will market GRASPA in Israel.
Erytech has the potential to grow its West Windsor location. It is made up of small 70-foot “clean rooms” where the encapsulation takes place. The work schedule is not steady since each unit of blood is prepared on demand for patients, getting the product to its user within 24 hours of being ordered. As many as 50 people could work there once demand ramps up, with more if the company goes to working in shifts. These jobs are mostly high level lab techs, supervisors, and quality management personnel, Beyen said.
Erytech is not the only player in the blood encapsulation field. A similarly named Italian company, EryDel, harvests blood from patients at the bedside and encapsulates medicine before returning it to them to treat a rare genetic disorder.
An American company, Rubius Therapeutics, is also using blood as a carrier but instead of encapsulating drugs via opening pores, it uses genetically engineered stem cells that turn into red blood cells.
Beyen said Erytech picked West Windsor after a long search. “The first trial we ran in the U.S. was in Philadelphia, near the American Red Cross blood bank. This is not a coincidence,” Beyen said. “One of the most important things that we need is to be close to a blood bank. We wanted to be close to the American Red Cross and we wanted to be on the East Coast, and in Princeton we found the best of both worlds.”
Erytech also had a partnership with the Red Cross to supply blood for the trials.
Princeton is also between New York and Philadelphia, and is in an area rich with pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities and qualified labor.
Erytech, 104 Campus Drive, West Windsor 08550. Gil Beyen, CEO. www.erytech.com.
Artists never die. Through their artwork — be it music, literature, stone — they achieve immortality. And for some, even after their corporal bodies leave this world, their artwork continues to be created.
Such is the case for Philadelphia-based artist Dina Wind, who passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 76 in 2014. Over the summer Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton unveiled her most recent work. “Harp of David” is a 26-foot, 15,000-pound enlargement of Wind’s 1985 sculpture of the same name. The original was only 26 inches high.
The work, commissioned by Grounds For Sculpture, was completed in partnership with the Dina Wind Foundation and the Seward Johnson Atelier.
“We selected ‘Harp of David #1’ (1985) for enlargement because of its strength of composition, which feels both graceful and whimsical, and seemed particularly well-suited to be enlarged to a monumental scale while still retaining the spirit of the original work,” says GFS Executive Director Gary Garrido Schneider, who met with Wind’s widower, Jerry Wind, some time after Dina died. They struck up a conversation about enlarging her work — something Wind herself had envisioned. The Woodmere Art Museum had already enlarged a work to 30 feet.
Grounds For Sculpture Chief Curator Tom Moran paid a studio visit to the Wind residence where, he says, he was overwhelmed by the quantity of her work. “There were pieces on the roof, in the driveway, and everywhere there was steel and aluminum.” (In addition to found parts, Wind worked in aluminum, steel, and paper, and also made “broaches for buildings,” according to her son, John Wind.) “‘Harp of David’ resonated with the site we had selected for it. It sang out in terms of what the possibilities are here and the exuberance of the piece.”
The fabrication process, which took six months, required an understanding of the artist’s original intentions, as well as the knowledge to understand how to translate the original work to a monumental scale.
“We worked with the Winds to figure out how to simplify it because some things don’t translate when scaled up, like the teeth on the gears,” says fabrication supervisor Adam Garey. “We broke everything down to the simplest forms — most of the piece is hollow. The larger solid pieces were scanned and cut out.” An outside firm with a special machine was subcontracted for the rolling and bending.
The final 15,000-pound “Harp of David” was moved in pieces and welded together on site.
The harp of David, said to be the first stringed instrument mentioned in the Old Testament, is sometimes called the national instrument of the Jewish people, according to Wikipedia. The young David was called in the night to play his harp before an ailing King Saul. The king had been having nightmares, anger fits, and general malaise that were affecting his mind as well as his physical health. When the harp was played he felt better and, according to the legend, the evil spirit departed from him.
The harp is still considered to be a soothing instrument, says John Wind, and “Harp of David” combines his own family history with the soothing and healing power of art.
Dina Wind was born in 1938 in Israel, where her parents owned a gas station, but she has been called a child of the abstract expressionism movement. She served in the Israeli army as a corporal during the 1956 Sinai Campaign, coding and decoding confidential communications. Wind met her husband, Jerry, at Hebrew University in Jerusalem; the two married in 1959. Wind earned a bachelor’s in sociology and education in 1962, and in 1963 the couple moved to California, where Jerry was invited to serve on the faculty at Stanford. In 1966 he took a job at the Wharton School, where he teaches marketing to this day.
In Philadelphia Wind earned a master’s degree in communications and aesthetics from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. She earned a certificate in art appreciation from the Barnes Foundation in 1977.
She was, at first, a painter, but soon found the blank canvas less welcoming than a pile of scrap metal. She studied with Sam Feinstein (himself a student of the legendary abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman), and took welding classes at the Cheltenham Arts Center in suburban Philadelphia, where she studied under the sculptor Leon Sitarchik and became immersed in the process of welding scrap steel into sophisticated and challenging abstract spatial compositions of varying scales. She became particularly adept at welding and layering compositions of found steel, incorporating and repurposing everything from old car parts to saw blades, and making an environmental statement through her choice of material.
The parts used for “Harp of David #1” included gears, a railroad track, car springs, punctured metal, and other rusted objects she found in the junkyard. The enlargement at Grounds For Sculpture is made of steel and required an engineered patina to simulate the rust of the original.
Wind worked by herself. “Rooted in abstraction, she worked intuitively, drawing in space as the materials spoke to her,” says her son John, a Philadelphia-based jewelry designer and artist. “She was looking for the perfect combinations of materials.” By contrast, the enlargement at Grounds For Sculpture required a team of engineers, blacksmiths, and digital specialists. “For Dina it was all intuition but this fabulous highly engineered work is carefully measured.”
“It’s unbelievable to see the care and attention of these guys in creating a 26-foot work out of something 26 inches,” says Jerry Wind.
“She was interested in the formal qualities of beauty, but also had an awareness of the environment,” continues her son. “Her ‘Black Islands’ were reconfigured car parts that incorporated ideas about oil, geopolitics, and the Middle East. She was balancing abstraction and the message.”
A longtime member of the Nexus Gallery in Philadelphia and the Veridian Gallery in New York — where she was in both group and solo exhibitions — Wind was welding at a time when she was often the only woman in the room, upcycling before it was vogue.
“She could be elegant and well dressed — she loved fashion — but then in the studio she’d put on her helmet and turn into a lady welder,” says her son.
Since Pablo Picasso created the first welded steel sculptures with Julio Gonzalez in the 1920s, welded steel sculpture was a field dominated by men. Sculptor David Smith refined his skills as a welder of armored tanks and locomotives during World War II. The power of his steel sculptures resonated across the art world from the 1930s through the ’70s. Smith’s use of scrap steel and iron allowed him to accomplish some of the most resonant sculptures of his career alongside some of the influential figures of the post-World War II era including Richard Stankiewicz, Mark di Suvero, Beverly Pepper, and John Chamberlain.
Wind’s love of scrap steel arose from this legacy, and she proceeded with courage to learn the skills required of an industrial fabrication process. She remained true to her focus on steel sculpture despite the changing mediums and approaches to art.
Both Dina and Jerry Wind were collectors, traveling the world. She served on the boards of the Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia Sculptors Group, Relache Music Ensemble, Arts and Business Council, and Philadelphia Museum of Art, according to Susan Dunsmoor, project coordinator. “She believed in the power of art, bringing it to the public, and having her own work be part of the public conversation.”
In addition to John, Wind’s other son, Lee, is a writer of children’s books who lives in California.
“She was fundamentally an optimist, creating beauty out of chaos,” says John. “Art makes you see the world differently, and she achieved that. You’ll never look at a spring the same way.”
Grounds For Sculpture, 126 Sculptors Way, Hamilton. Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. $10 to $18. 609-586-0616 or www.groundsforsculpture.org.
The framed picture of New Jersey’s lighthouses does more than decorate New Jersey Historical Commission Executive Director Sara Cureton’s office at 33 West State Street in Trenton.
It is a daily reminder of her past role as the lighthouse keeper of one of New Jersey’s emblematic Jersey shore structures: the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City.
“I am very passionate about New Jersey’s maritime history,” she says sitting down in front of the image to discuss her experience and the annual Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey. That’s the annual event that celebrates NJ’s lighthouses through open houses, tours, and a contest to visit as many as possible in one day. This year’s event is set for Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21.
“I think New Jersey’s maritime past often gets over looked. People think about other things. They think of the Revolutionary War, industrial past, Thomas Edison, and the development of television — about what happened on land. But the reality is that the history of New Jersey is a maritime history.”
“Of course lighthouses in New Jersey are important,” she adds. They are “a visible and tangible part of our history.
“Our collection of lighthouses is very diverse of itself. From an historical and architectural aspect they’re fascinating to explore.”
Cureton then takes an inventory, starting where Monmouth County juts into Hudson Bay. “Sandy Hook — it is the oldest continuous lighthouse — started pre-Revolutionary War. Well over two centuries. And a connection to our early part of New Jersey and United States history when transportation by ship was critical. Sandy Hook was constructed out of great need that merchants saw.”
She then moves to the 19th century and the tall cylindrical lighthouses built by civil engineer George Meade, later the Civil War Union general who defeated Robert E. Lee’s troops at the Battle of Gettysburg.
“They were built in alphabetical order: Absecon, Barnegat, and Cape May,” says Cureton. “They reflect the importance of the state’s seacoast and protecting ships.” The Meades were built by the federal government and reflected the trend to modernize and standardize lighthouse keeping.”
Then there are the small lighthouses built in the Victorian era with lanterns built right into the house. They can be found along the coast at Sea Girt and North Wildwood and on the Delaware Bay.
“They are all unique in physical appearances, and that’s on purpose,” says Cureton. “The shape and color were called the day marks (to help mariners navigate). Then at night each light had a unique pattern.”
About her own involvement with lighthouses, she says, “I was the lighthouse keeper. I was the person in charge.”
Yet that charge was more than just turning on the light. “When I came on board it was in need of care,” she says. She was hired by the nonprofit Inlet Public/Private Association in 1995, when it decided to re-open the 171-foot-tall lighthouse, the tallest in New Jersey and the third tallest in the nation (Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina is the tallest). “Inlet” refers to the northern and lesser known section of Atlantic City.
By the time the association took on the project, the State of New Jersey-owned lighthouse that began operating in 1857 and was decommissioned in 1933 was on its way to becoming a victim of neglect.
“Buildings along the coastline have a special need. It is a challenging environment for the building. If the paint coating is failing that means moisture is getting in and eating away at the structure. That is why lighthouse keepers were needed. They painted (and protected) the buildings. When I was Absecon we did a restoration of the lighthouse. We restored the tower,” she say, part of the plan when the association brokered a lease-agreement with the state.
She also helped restore one of the building’s most historical elements, its original first order Fernel lens was made in Paris especially for Absecon. Illuminated by kerosene flame, the lighthouse light could be seen 19.5 nautical miles from the coast.
“For the first time since it was installed it was cleaned and reinstalled,” she says.
The tower project involved Watson & Henry Associates, the New Jersey restorers of the Meade lighthouses in Cape May and Barnegat. The reconstruction of the keeper’s house was led by the New Jersey-based Westfield Architects and Preservation Consultants, which had also renovated the famed Lucy the Elephant building outside Atlantic City. The project was funded by Atlantic City, New Jersey Historic Trust, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, and, since a lighthouse is part of the federal transportation system, the United State Surface Transportation Act.
Thinking back on the project, Cureton says, “The reality is that it is hard to get a grant. The challenge is to spend money wisely and productively. In the case of these projects we looked for contractors who had success. We have to go through a process of being prequalified to show they have the expertise to do the job.”
About her own education as a lighthouse operator she says, “I had certainly visited lighthouses before but I had never been a lighthouse keeper.”
What she is a “public historian by training. My background was in history and museum education. I was at the Old Barracks during its restoration. Not only did I have the background in history, I had a background in restoration projects.”
Originally from Seattle, Washington, Cureton connects her love of history to her family. “My dad was an attorney, but he loved history. So I firmly believe my love of his history was sparked by him. Our specific interests were not identical. He was fascinated by military history. He loved Winston Churchill. He was fascinated by the Civil War. Later in life he became more interested in Revolutionary War history. My mother was not a history enthusiast. She loved current events. If there was an election or state of the union address she was watching it. I carried that with me, too.”
She says she came to the East Coast to attend Harvard, then moved to the University of York in England, and then to the museum education program at George Washington University.
Ironically Cureton’s journey to New Jersey began in York, where she met her husband, Kevin Cureton, a fellow M.A. in medieval studies who had been accepted to Princeton as a doctoral student. The two moved to Princeton, where her husband took a position at ETS. The couple and their two sons — now 23 and 27 — lived in the Trenton-Princeton region for years. They moved to Medford when Cureton took the lighthouse position and wanted to shorten the commute to Atlantic City.
As the first woman to run Absecon Lighthouse, Cureton says the distinction was not that meaningful. “It was the 1990s. We’re talking about an era when restoration was in full swing. And many women were in involved with historic restoration. I don’t think it was unusual. If we’re talking about the 19th century, then it was primarily was male. Although there are some stories that women were lighthouse keepers, but historically they were men.”
Cureton, the New Jersey Historical Commission’s executive director since 2010, says she loved working on the lighthouse. “(It) was beautiful, and the history was rich. I think the biggest thrill was during the restoration of the tower. We scaffolded the whole tower. We would have regular meetings, climb up the scaffolding, and be right there — a front row seat in the process.
“The biggest challenge was funding and resources, having enough dollars to care for the site and have enough staff to tell its story. If we want to save these structures we have to take area of them and we have to maintain and the reality is that is always going to coast money.”
About the Lighthouse Challenge, Cureton smiles, points at her lighthouse picture, and says, “We have this wonderful and diverse collection of lights in New Jersey. If you visit all of them you’ll get a taste of our history and maritime history — and an opportunity to get out doors and enjoy the fall weather.”
Rioting and destruction, loss of property and lives devastated the Motor City’s West Side in the summer of 1967. The largely African-American population was responding to the increase in police brutality while the press was labeling the mounting protests and demonstrations as race riots.
Dominique Morisseau has zeroed in on a small, closely knit group of people whose lives are upended by the upheaval and violence. “Detroit ’67” is a part of her The Detroit Project ’67, a three-play cycle that also includes the exceptional “Skeleton Crew” seen at the Atlantic Theater and “Paradise Blue” more recently at the Signature Theater.
Detroit ’67 has been given an impressive and involving production at McCarter Theater under the crackling direction of Jade King Carroll. The action is centered around the lives of adult African-American siblings Chelle (Myxolydia Tyler) and Lank (Johnny Ramey.) In the Detroit home they have inherited, they are hoping to pay off the mortgage by charging for late night parties called “blind pigs” in the basement. Here they provide free liquor to avoid violating the law and music from a 45 record player. At first, the installation of an 8-track player is the plot’s only major issue.
What bothers Chelle most, however, is listening to Lank talk of taking their inheritance and opening a real bar with his friend Sly (Will Cobbs). A widow, Chelle wants to make sure their money is used to continue her son’s college education. Lank and Sly’s plans get temporarily sidetracked when they bring home Caroline (Ginna Le Vine), a badly beaten and bruised white woman whom they find wandering in a daze late at night. Of course, the big scare is suddenly becoming aware of what is happening on the street where they live and all around them.
Although Chelle is fearful of their making a rash decision, they let Caroline remain with them despite her being reluctant to tell them much about her past. We eventually learn that she worked in a seedy establishment catering to both black and white patronage and especially to crooked cops.
In any event, she seems familiar with waitressing and appears grateful to work for room and board. What appears to be a physical attraction between Caroline and Lank does not please Chelle, who would rather see her brother take up with her best friend, the live-wire and fun-seeking Bunny (Nyahale Allie).
With shades of “A Raisin In the Sun,” Lank’s determination to take the inheritance without Chelle’s knowledge and purchase the bar is ill-timed considering the turn of events in the outside world. The comedic and dramatic contrivances that drive the early part of the play certainly clash with the harsher and even tragic events that come to fruition in the second half. But the play builds considerably as the characters become more realized and more intimately revealed and as we become more invested in their relationships.
Ordinary characters become extraordinary thanks to an excellent cast and a director who brings out their best. Ramey has possibly the biggest transitions to make as Lank, whom we see grow from a slightly reckless young man with a dream to a fortress of dependability and support in a time of need. Le Vine skillfully underplays the needy Caroline, although I think the hint of heat the playwright creates between her and Lank appears gratuitous. The practical and cautious Chelle and the more amusingly persuasive Sly have the more genuinely affecting love scene for which Tyler and Cobb can take credit. It’s okay that Allie doesn’t resist the temptation to make Bunny the sexy and jokey archetype.
Audiences are not likely to resist addressing the truth that this play is as poignantly timely and as grievously topical now as it was 51 years ago. The basement setting designed by Ricardo Hernandez is a bit too cluttered. It is, however, effectively framed to include the top of the house, so that special effects with the help of lighting designer Nicole Pearce and sound designer Karin Graybash can suggest the mayhem going on in the street.
Detroit ’67, McCarter Theater, 91 University Place, Princeton. Through Sunday, October 28. 609-258-2787 or www.mccarter.org.