Immigrant laborers inspire painting, donation from Morristown artist Ron Ritzie to Neighborhood House

'Waiting Game,' by Morristown artist Ron Ritzie. he donated a print of the painting to the Pathways to Work program at the Neighborhood House. Photo by Bill Lescohier
'Waiting Game,' by Morristown artist Ron Ritzie. He donated a print of the painting to the Pathways to Work program at the Neighborhood House. Photo by Bill Lescohier
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They sit with shovels and rakes and spades, waiting.

The faceless day laborers in Ron Ritzie’s painting, Waiting Game, are a face of Morristown that he cannot ignore.

“You see their images all around town, looking for work,” Ron said on Wednesday at the Morristown Neighborhood House, where he donated a signed giclée  (digital ink-jet) print of the painting to Pathways to Work.

That program, now in its third year, matches workers with people seeking to hire casual labor.

'Waiting Game,' by Morristown artist Ron Ritzie. he donated a print of the painting to the Pathways to Work program at the Neighborhood House. Photo by Bill Lescohier
'Waiting Game,' by Morristown artist Ron Ritzie. he donated a print of the painting to the Pathways to Work program at the Neighborhood House. Photo by Bill Lescohier

Pathways Manager Rosa Chilquillo said she was “escstatic” about Ron’s gift. “It depicts what Pathways to Work is is,” she said. “We work with anybody who is unemployed, who needs work.”

Morristown artist Ron Ritzie poses with 'Waiting Game,' his gift to Pathways to Work. Photo by Bill Lescohier
Morristown artist Ron Ritzie poses with 'Waiting Game,' his gift to Pathways to Work. Photo by Bill Lescohier

More than 500 members are enrolled, and more than 4000 work days have been brokered so far, said Rosa.

The program is supported by community groups and churches, and is affiliated with the nonprofit Neighborhood House, which has assisted immigrants and minority groups for more than a century.

There was extra joy at the Nabe on Wednesday. After Ron gave his artwork to Pathways, Rosa distributed gift-wrapped warm clothing to day laborers, courtesy of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship.

Ron, a 1977 graduate of Morristown High School, is working on a series of paintings about immigration.

“It touched me, because everyone is looking for work, to feed their families and start their own small businesses,” he explained.
Feliz Navidad from Pathways to Work:

Rosa Chilquillo and artist Ron Ritzie with his painting, 'Waiting Game.' Photo by Bill Lescohier
Rosa Chilquillo and artist Ron Ritzie with his painting, 'Waiting Game.' Photo by Bill Lescohier
Day laborers pose with artist Ron Ritzie and Pathways to Work Manager Rosa Chilquillo at the Neighborhood House in Morristown. Ron donated a painting, 'Waiting Game.' Photo by Bill Lescohier
Day laborers pose with artist Ron Ritzie and Pathways to Work Manager Rosa Chilquillo at the Neighborhood House in Morristown. Ron donated a painting, 'Waiting Game.' Photo by Bill Lescohier
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Great job Ron! As usual you have captured a very integral part of our communiity that is not usally addressed with sensitivity and insight. The current Immigration dilemma is real and must be addressed. Thank you for expressing through your wonderful art.

  2. I am proud of the community work ‘The Nabe’ has offered to this community. We have watched the cultural changes with different ethic groups as the need has arisen. It is education at it’s best.

    Ron Ritzie, the artist, has been an intricate part of this community and has seen the cultural changes evolve. It is wonderful to further education awareness thru art form. I am moved that he was inspired by the community in which he was born and calls home. We truly appreciate home grown. A magnificent artist. His works have been displayed through out the country.

    Congrats to a very deserving Rosa Chilquillo for a program well done.

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