Connect the Dots … Enhancing Our Communities Through Public Art on April 19

Connect the Dots … Enhancing Our Communities Through Public Art on April 19

Come and be part of the discussion to create public art that reflects a community’s identity and develops a sense of connection in your area. The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s (NNJCF) ArtsBergen initiative will hold its third quarterly Connect the Dots networking meeting on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. The meeting will be held at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, 443 Van Nostrand Avenue in Englewood, New Jersey, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

With the theme, Enhancing Our Communities Through Public Art, the meeting will feature a speaker, a live drumming/dance performance and interactive drum circle, a hands-on creative placemaking exercise and networking. Connect the Dots is free and open to artists, writers, arts administrators, educators, municipal and community leaders, business owners, and arts supporters living or working in Bergen County.

During 2016, the Connect the Dots series is exploring creative placemaking, the practice of integrating arts and culture into the fabric of a region, town, or city block. A goal of the series is to create an environment to stimulate conversation about creative placemaking and encourage partnerships that can initiate projects across Bergen County.

“The Foundation sees the real potential in connecting the arts to all aspects of community life. Creative placemaking energizes arts promotion, personal discovery and growth, civic engagement, and community development. The Connect the Dots event on April 19 aims to help spark these connections through ideas on public art,” said Michael Shannon, NNJCF President.

Speaker Katherine Daniels, a public artist from New York City, will discuss how public art can reflect a community’s identity and build connection in a place. She has received awards from the Puffin Foundation, the Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award for Public Art and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Guest Performer Yahaya Kamate


Yahaya Kamate

Yahaya Kamate to perform

Featured guest performer Yahaya Kamate, a dancer and percussionist, will entertain and engage the audience in an interactive drumming session. He is the Associate Artistic Director of the Seventh Principle Performance Company and has performed worldwide appearing with the National Ballet Cote D’Ivorie and Ballet D’Afrique. Kamate has also taught at several dance companies, including Mark Morris Dance Center and Alvin Ailey.

Facilitators Susan Schear and Maureen Vanacore from ARTSIN will lead attendees in a hands-on, creative placemaking exercise to stimulate discussion about integrating arts into area communities. The NNJCF hopes to spur the formation of partnerships, resulting in the development of projects.

Toiletry Items to be Collected for Veterans


As part of the NNJCF’s ongoing work to promote collaboration and civic engagement in the community, the foundation will collect toiletry items for homeless and displaced male and female veterans in Bergen County. People are asked to bring travel size oral care products, deodorant, liquid body wash, sunscreen, disposable razors, and shaving gel. Small notepads, pens and pencils are also being collected. The items will be distributed at the Bergen Volunteer Center’s Veterans Resource Fair on April 20.

 “With the upcoming Veterans Resource Fair, we give back to a group of men and women who gave their time, talent and heart to preserve our safety and honor.  It is a privilege to show that we care.  This is really the true meaning of community and neighbors.  Thank you for joining with us to support our local veterans,” said Deborah Francis Emery, Director of Community Engagement, Bergen Volunteer Center.

Space is limited. Pre-registration is required and may be done online at For further information, call 201-568-5608.