Helping community a top priority for Fair Haven business

By gloria stravelli
Staff Writer

Helping community a top priority for Fair Haven By gloria stravelli
Staff Writer

GLORIA STRAVELLI Barbara Cadamuro of Fair Haven Hardware adds another “x” to the canvas the business is creating. Previous canvases have been auctioned off with the proceeds going to help Fair Haven parks.GLORIA STRAVELLI Barbara Cadamuro of Fair Haven Hardware adds another “x” to the canvas the business is creating. Previous canvases have been auctioned off with the proceeds going to help Fair Haven parks.

It may not be the way Picasso or Pollack got started, but Harvey Shooman and Barbara Cadamuro are creating abstract paintings using humble house paint, and auctioning them off to help fund improvements to local parks.

The owner and the paint department manager of Fair Haven Hardware on River Road are currently collaborating on their fourth work of art using house paint mixed for customers. Their first collaborative painting brought $300 in a silent auction to benefit Parents for Parks, a group working to improve Fair Haven parks.

"I always take a dab of paint and put a dot of it on the top of a paint can after I mix a color for a customer," explained Cadamuro, demonstrating by dipping her fingertip into a can of latex paint. "Then, I take what’s left on my finger and paint it on the canvas."

"When we mix a gallon of paint for someone, we make a dot or swirl on the canvas, and when we fill them up, we auction them off," said Shooman, of the 3-by-4-foot paintings.

According to Shooman, the hardware store’s paint company representative was the one who came up with the suggestion to create the canvases.

"He said it would be cool to make a mark every time somebody buys paint," Shooman said.

Cadamuro agreed and bought a canvas and framed it and the "finger-painting" began around holiday season last year.

"For the first two canvases we did swirls, the third was dots, and now we’re working on x’s," Shooman explained.

When the work of art is finished, the pair sign and date the canvas.

How do they decide when a painting is completed?

"We just know it’s finished," the two said in unison, shrugging off the question. "We look at it and say, ‘It’s done,’ " added Cadamuro.

It took about two months to complete the first canvas, a multicolored melange of paint swirls, then the painting was put up in the paint department.

"We hung it, and somebody said they’d like to buy it," recalled Shooman, who decided auctioning off the painting would be a good way to benefit a local cause.

"If somebody wanted to buy it, I wanted to make the proceeds a donation," he said.

Shooman set a $250 minimum silent auction bid on the first painting, which brought in a successful bid of $300 from a Rumson resident.

At a customer’s suggestion, Shooman got in touch with Parents for Parks, a group dedicated to raising funds to improve the borough’s parks.

"Our group was formed in the spring to improve Fair Haven parks," explained Garrett Bess, who, along with Fair Haven resident Eleanor Gibney, organized the community group.

"Fair Haven Hardware has been wonderful, and a lot of other businesses supported our drive as well," said Bess. "Several restaurants donated refreshments for the walk. Bike Haven donated a bicycle for the person who collected the most pledges, and The Doc Shoppe donated a gift certificate. All the merchants in town have supported us."

Bess said the group’s first project was the popular playground across from the grammar school that sorely needed new playground equipment.

McCarter Park, located across from the Viola L. Sickles School on Willow Street, is a borough park, and is used by students for recess and play, he noted.

"The equipment was basically old and needed to be replaced, but the municipality had already approved the budget for the coming year," Bess, a Fair Haven councilman, explained.

"There was a sense of urgency since some of the equipment was deemed unsafe and was removed and that left a void," he said.

"So our first mission was to try to get some playground equipment in place."

According to Bess, Parents for Parks has already raised about $53,000 through donations and fund-raising events like a Walk in the Park, a 2-mile walk around the perimeter of the park for which school-aged children secured pledges.

Another fund-raiser was a cocktail party held this summer at the Driftwood Beach Club, Sea Bright,

The events, plus corporate sponsorships, funded purchase of new playground equipment for McCarter Park which is scheduled to be installed beginning this week, Bess added.

"We were hoping to get the park done by the end of August," explained Bess, "We wanted it to be installed before school started, but we got clobbered by the storm [Aug. 2], and we’re a little behind schedule."

Bess said support from the business community even extended to placing canisters for loose change on counters.

"Each business had our Pennies for Parks canisters," he noted. "The Fair Haven business community does a lot for the town’s residents. If there’s ever a charitable cause, I see all the businesses participating. It’s kind of neat to see how the businesses in town support the community."