Stunning new Jersey City mural brings Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium to life

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This weekend is the 28th Annual Jersey City Art & Studio Tour – JCAST for short – an annual cultural event that celebrates the vibrant arts community throughout the city.

From Oct. 4 through Oct. 7, the city will be filled with over 21-square miles of art exhibits, performances, installations, curated tours, special events, and more. This event (and the artists who inspire it) is just one of the many things that make Jersey City such a special place to live, work, and visit.

And now, for the first time, Liberty Science Center will partner with JCAST.

The Science Center has been added as an official stop on the Jersey City Art & Studio Tour; guests who visit us can enjoy a stunning gallery-style presentation of eye-catching prints from the Hubble Space Telescope, located on the fourth floor, as well as see jaw-dropping space imagery in our Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium.

Additionally, there is a new, permanent mural located on Newark Avenue, celebrating that Jersey City is now home to the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. And much like the planetarium, this painting is designed to inspire wonder and curiosity about our universe.

To celebrate this year’s JCAST, we caught up with Marina Zumi, the artist behind the mural. Zumi, who currently resides in Berlin, says much of her art involves the study of the cosmos – the perfect artistic partner to help bring our planetarium to life.

Tell me about your inspiration behind this project.

The main thought behind this mural was how we are all part of this infinite and vast universe, and made with the same chemical compounds, and with the same geometry – and yet we have such a little approach to all of it. It should be easier to feel more integrated if we could just get in touch with the source.

How long have you been inspired by the universe, the cosmos, and planetariums in general?

Planetariums have inspired me since I was a kid. All my life, I’ve felt gratitude for science, and so it was easy for me to connect with this project. I’ve been working with the space theme for a while – I also have a project in Berlin called “UNiverse 101” for the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin. The universe is essentially like my playground for my thoughts and feelings about humanity.

What do you hope that viewers of this painting and the Jersey City community take away from your mural?

I hope this project makes them think in a subtle way about themselves and their position in the cosmos. But truly, I don’t hope or expect them to feel anything in particular – each person has their own way of seeing my work, and their interpretation is more important to me than even my own meaning. Who am I to decide how they should feel or see it?

That freedom is important to me. After I finish my piece in the street, it doesn’t belong to me anymore.

In what ways do you think science and art go together?

What is a scientist without imagination? What is an artist without inspiration and resources to study? I don’t think that scientists and artists are so different. Many times both are difficult to understand and have a wild mindset! I think they are like “opposite complementaries.” It’s beautiful for me, the collaboration of it.

You can visit or to learn more about Marina’s work. She can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Be sure to catch the mural in person! See it on Newark Avenue in Jersey City, right behind Palace Drugs. Afterward, visit the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, at Liberty Science Center. Click here for more information.

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