Often thought to be dissimilar concepts, Quark Park, the outlandish area behind the Hulfish Street garage full of sculptures and other artwork inspired by science, embodied the partnership between area scientists and artists.
On Wednesday, the park will hold its final event — and the following day, as of 11 p.m., it will be closed for good.
Intended to only last the season, Quark Park will celebrate its finality with a theatrical performance of a series of short plays by Luigi Jannuzzi at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the park. The series, titled "Experiment on This — The Science Comedies," was inspired by Quark Park and written especially for its closing, Mr. Jannuzzi said.
Created by Kevin Wilkes, Alan Goodheart and Peter Soderman, who were also behind 2004's award-winning Writer's Block urban garden at the same location, Quark Park will most likely be the last arts exhibit at the outdoor spot. Because Palmer Square Management, the owner and manager of the property, is in the final stages of an extensive approval process for a luxury condominium development, the site could soon see the start of long-awaited construction on the project.
Still, the park was great while it lasted, developer Mr. Wilkes said.
"It's somewhat bittersweet," Mr. Wilkes said. "It's a wonderful lesson of civic engagement. Getting citizens together to create and enjoy the event is really the lasting warmth," he added.
Since its construction, Quark Park has been the site of concerts, cabarets and dances. Through it all, Mr. Wilkes said, the group — which partnered area scientists, including Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman, with artists to create 12 exhibits inspired by scientific research — has received a plethora of contributions from the community.
Whether sitting and enjoying the venue, contributing thousands of dollars for its construction or building the park's stage, Princeton residents came together to bring the concept to life. Now, Mr. Wilkes added, they will have the opportunity to purchase the artwork displayed for the past several months.
Before that, residents can watch plays inspired by the actual projects. Mr. Jannuzzi, a Hillsborough resident, said some might think witnessing the different ways to interpret science, from astronomy to physics, would not lend itself to comedic theater.
But, he added, the consolidation of landscapers, artists, musicians, mathematicians, physicists and more is nothing but inspirational.
"It's such a combination of opposites," Mr. Jannuzzi said. "It's putting in the glass blowers and sculptors and comedy writers and putting in scientists. It's kind of an interesting thing."
Performing his plays will be Michael and Candice Gallagher of Hightstown, Catherine Rowe of Somerset and Tom Stevenson of Princeton, Mr. Jannuzzi said.
As for the future, Mr. Wilkes said the developers would definitely like to attempt to create this type of venue again. Quark Park was nothing but a success, he added, shown in the multiple awards it has garnered, including an "outstanding implementation" award from the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association as well as a "design merit" award from the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
As for the site's future, David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management, said it is sad to see the park come to an end, but it will, hopefully, be opening up new avenues for its residential development.
"I think that both Quark Park and the garden were somewhat of a spatial experiment," Mr. Newton said. "It shows what can be achieved when a lot is waiting for development."