Bernie Flynn, left, Mayor Eric Jackson, Caren Franzini, and George Sowa.
Greater Trenton — the new nonprofit promising economic revitalization of New Jersey’s capital city — named its founding chief executive officer, George D. Sowa, on July 18.

Sowa, a 57-year-old Trenton native, is the former executive vice president and senior managing director for Brandywine Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest publicly traded real estate companies.

At the event announcing his appointment the Morrisville, Pennsylvania, resident highlighted his Trenton roots and his central European grandparents who arrived in the city 100 years ago.

He then introduced his parents, who were married in Trenton nearly 60 years ago and who traveled from Florida to attend the announcement held at NJM Insurance Group headquarters in West Trenton.

Sowa — who led Brandywine’s development of the Campbell Soup Company’s ambitious Gateway District in Camden — cited Trenton’s position as a transportation hub on the Delaware River and its historical and cultural resources as positives. While noting that Trenton has a wonderful history, he said, “We cannot be bound by the past.”

Sowa’s first tasks are to choose a location for the group’s headquarters and assemble a staff to implement Greater Trenton’s key objectives: to develop a long-term strategic plan and work collaboratively with public and private partners to spur development opportunities and bring new investments to the greater Trenton area, with an emphasis on the downtown core.

Greater Trenton co-chairs, NJM CEO Bernie Flynn and former New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Caren Franzini, presided over the event.

Sowa’s winning attributes, they said, included his personal connection to Trenton, administration skill set, and experience in urban economic development — including two new development projects totaling more than $100 million in New Brunswick.

Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said he looked forward to “advancing economic development initiatives in concert with the work that the city is already doing; projects that will bring jobs and investment needed to promote the city’s revival.” Projects such as Roebling Lofts, the New Jersey Realtors Association new headquarters building, Thomas Edison State University’s new nursing school, and Mercer County Community College’s expansion are proof that “Trenton is poised for growth,” said Jackson.

Prior to joining Brandywine, Sowa was director of development for Keating Development Company and director of development/operations for Linpro/LCOR, a real estate investment and development company specializing in urban development projects. He serves on the national board and executive committee of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP) and is vice chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey. Sowa also holds a real estate broker’s license in New Jersey and a real estate sales license in Pennsylvania and earned a B.S. from Cornell University.

Greater Trenton’s board of directors includes representation from some of the region’s influential institutions: NJM Insurance Group, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Investors Bank, TD Bank, Capital Health, PSEG, Thomas Edison State University, Wells Fargo Bank, Princeton University, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

The organization’s board of directors has made a multi-year commitment to fund this initiative.

Punk rock attitude rocking Trenton

The Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market has two projects to quench the summer thirst for something different. One is the market; the other is a nearly month-long exhibit at Artworks. The summer edition of the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market is Sunday, August 7, at the Historic Roebling Machine Shop building on South Clinton Avenue. Admission is $5.

Promotional materials promise more than 200 vendors selling “tons of vinyl, sweet vintage gear, original art, horror memorabilia, handmade jewelry, and vintage toys.” The festivities also include the Panic State Records Live Music Stage, a meet and greet with Weird New Jersey editors Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran, and Shear Revival Grooming & Beauty providing cuts and facial hair styling. The first 250 patrons will receive a free Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market “Black Swag Bag” with records, T-shirts, jewelry, handmade items, soap, and more. TPRFM, Sunday, August 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Historic Roebling Machine Shop building, 675 South Clinton Avenue. $5, free for kids under 10. www.trentonpunkrockfleamarket.com.

The other project is the TPRFM-spirited exhibition “Against the Grain: Art of the Counterculture” at Artworks Trenton.

Curated by TPRFM founder Joe Kuzemka, the show features dozens of counterculture artists who aspire “to swim upstream and maintain against the grain with divergent ways of thinking and a strong ‘Do It Yourself’ ethic.”

“Against the Grain” opens with a reception on Saturday, August 6, 6 to 9 p.m., and will be on view through Saturday, August 27. The exhibition and opening are free. Artworks, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 609-394-9436 or www.artworkstrenton.org.

Life-sized dinosaurs enliven museum’s natural history hall

The New Jersey State Museum’s “Written in the Rocks: Fossil Tales of New Jersey” welcomes dinosaurs back to the museum’s Natural History Hall.

The new exhibition, part of the ongoing museum renovations, lets visitors step back 3.5 billion years to explore the geology of New Jersey, the oldest fossils from the state, and the evolution of state life through 10 unique fossil stories.

One of those stories involves the Dryptosaurus, the eastern cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The creature was discovered in southern New Jersey in 1866. The exhibition shows two Dryptosaurs fighting. “We are very excited to have life-size dinosaurs in the Natural History Hall again,” said NJSM natural history curator David Parris. “Dinosaurs were a highlight for generations of New Jerseyans who visited the museum, and we are pleased to once again be able tell the story of these fossils, New Jersey’s role in their discovery, and how they relate to our planet.”

Dryptosaurs are just part of New Jersey’s prominent dinosaur history. The world’s first dinosaur skeleton was discovered in Haddonfield in 1858. Called the Hadrosaurus (Latin for bulky lizard), it became the official state dinosaur in 1991. The State Museum was established by the State Legislature in 1895 as a science museum, and dinosaurs and fossils have long been an important part of the state’s natural history.

“The State Museum allows all of us to explore our past, reflect on the present, and aspire to future advancements in art, science and history,” said NJM president and CEO Bernie Flynn. “‘Written in the Rocks’ is sure to excite and educate museum visitors of all ages, and we are pleased to be part of this exciting project.”

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton, Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. $5 suggested admission. 609-292-6464 or www.statemuseum.nj.gov.

City museum seeks works by Latino artists

The Trenton City Museum, in conjunction with Casa Cultura and Partnerships for Trenton, invites local and regional Latino visual artists to submit works to be considered for inclusion in the exhibition “Tertulia: Highlighting Local and Regional Latin Artists.” The deadline is Monday, August 8. The exhibition runs from September 17 to November 13.

Open to Latinos over the age of 18, “Tertulia” (or Salon) eligibility requirements stipulate that the works are display-ready and being shown at the Trenton City Museum for the first time.

Curators are Joan Perkes, gallery director of Silverman Gallery in Philadelphia and former director of Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art, and Sam Kanig, co-founder and curator for Galeria Casa Cultura in Trenton. The Trenton City Museum is housed in the historic Ellarslie Mansion located in Cadwalader Park in Trenton. For more details on eligibility and dates, call 609-989-3632 or e-mail tms@ellarslie.org.