BY ENID WEISS Sentinel Correspondent
via Sentinel Edison/Metuchen — In an interesting attempt to counter vandals’ scribbling graffiti on his ice cream shop alley wall, Mike Patterson has invited area school groups to claim a section and paint a mural outside What’s the Scoop on Main Street in Metuchen.


“We wanted to get kids involved and wanted to do something different in the alley,” Patterson said. “I offered it to local high schools. I want to put Christmas lights overhead all the way down the alley — to do something a little different.”


So far the National Art Honor Society at J.P. Stevens High School in Edison has been the only taker. “They came up with the whole idea,” Patterson said of the school group that painted a mural depicting a girl sitting under a tree and blowing bubbles.


“They started in April and they’re just about done. It was about nine kids, and they’d come down at different times to work on it.”


The students worked with art teacher Allison Paolello, the sponsor for the Art Honor Society, said J.P. Stevens High School Principal Gail Pawlikowski.


Each bubble is a separate picture, most with ice cream cleverly worked into the painting.

The idea stems from a series of oils by Patterson’s wife, Marie, that mimic masterpieces with the What’s the Scoop building and ice cream sign worked into the picture. For example, a Marie Patterson twist on Andrew Wyeth’s classic “Christina’s World” replaces the farmhouse in the distance with the ice cream restaurant. Another work is a twist on Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” with a What’s the Scoop building in the background.


Patterson also has other local artists who exhibit artwork in his restaurant, including Amy Brooks, who creates stained-glass pieces.