Bucks County Herald

Hamilton honored with portrait in Lambertville

ELIZABETH ENGLAND



Jim Hamilton, in front of his official portrait, with New Hope Mayor Larry Keller, left, and Lambertville Mayor David Del Vecchio.

Like his father, “Doc Hamilton,” before him, Jim Hamilton has generously given a lifetime of his talents to Lambertville, N.J. He was recently honored for his many efforts and contributions to his beloved river town during the unveiling and installation of his official portrait -- by noted Princeton, N.J., artist Ryan Stark Lilienthal -- in the Phillip L. Pittore Justice Center.

At a gathering attended by Lambertville Mayor David Del Vecchio, New Hope Mayor Larry Keller and more than 100 friends and colleagues, Hamilton was recognized for his groundbreaking work as the designer and creative force behind the 1980 revitalization of the downtown commercial district, among other gifts to the community.

The event kicked off in the ACME Screening Room at the Justice Center with a 12-minute on-camera interview with Hamilton. Titled “Reflections on my City,” the film was created by Emmy and two-time Peabody award-winning director Bill Jersey who lives in Lambertville with his wife, Shirley Kessler.

In remarks following the film, Del Vecchio also cited Hamilton’s contributions as co-founder of the Lambertville Shad Festival and the original designer and lead fundraiser for Cavallo Park.

The artist has known Hamilton for 20 years. In revealing the portrait, his comments took a personal turn. “Jim lives life,” said Stark Lilienthal. “I was reminded of this when I saw him recently and it drove my interest in painting him.” Discussing the technique used to create the painting, Stark Lilianthal concluded, “I hope my portrait of Jim reflects the vitality he inspires — a flow in the dynamic interplay between depth and excitement that can occur when putting paint on a canvas.”

Hamilton also spoke, expressing thanks for the outpouring of support and friendship he has known over the years residing in the Delaware River town. “I always felt it was a privilege to live here in Lambertville,” said Hamilton, whose credits also include having designed sets for award-winning Broadway shows and spectaculars like Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. “It’s a magical place, kind of like Brigadoon, you know?”

Hamilton’s focus on the community continues to this day as designer and creator of the current “Friends of Ely Park” effort to renew and revitalize Ely Park, Lambertville’s only dedicated green space.

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