Art Installation Opens Community Foundation Week

Art Installation Opens Community Foundation Week

During November, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) joins more than 900 community foundations across the United States to celebrate Community Foundation Week. The Foundation opened the celebration with the installation of an interactive art installation in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Community Foundation Week, running from November 12 through November 18, began in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush to raise awareness about the important role philanthropic organizations like the NNJCF play in fostering local collaboration and innovating solutions to address persistent civic and economic challenges.  The NNJCF, a regional nonprofit organization observing its 21st anniversary, promotes cooperation and civic engagement in the community to address prevailing issues.

Community foundations steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits, one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. They also can serve as conveners, creating partnerships that address community issues through collaboration.

Convene Through Art

In undertaking its role as a convener, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen initiative also uses art as a community enhancer.  The Foundation works with the City of Hackensack to integrate arts and culture into its redevelopment plans.  In anticipation of Community Foundation Week, the NNJCF launched and installed ‘The Hacktivator’.  From November 4 to 8, the temporary live, interactive art installation appeared at the NJ Transit Bus Station on Atlantic Street in Hackensack.

'The Hacktivator, a temporary, interactive art booth, was installed at the New Jersey Transit Bus Station in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Performer Claire Porter welcomed commuters from the interactive art installation, ‘The Hacktivator’. Photo Credit: Josh Passaretti

The NNJCF’s ArtsBergen initiative works with the City of Hackensack to integrate arts and culture into its redevelopment plans. ‘The Hacktivator’ was a collaborative effort of the Main Street Business Alliance, the Hackensack Creative Arts Team (CAT), the City of Hackensack, and the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen initiative.

“The arts make communities more vibrant and even boost local economies, especially when the art reflects the community’s character, people, and history. ‘The Hacktivator’, an interactive project, engaged people in a fun and unique way to provide community feedback about what they wanted to see in the city. This project also provides community members with an opportunity to envision better where they live and work, illustrating the spirit behind Community Foundation Week,” said Danielle De Laurentis, Associate Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

Art Creates Connection

The project collected community input to plan for a future ‘Art Walk’, a permanent, interactive public space and walkway.  The walkway spans from the Hackensack Performing Arts Center (HACPAC) to the Atlantic Street Bus Terminal at Demarest Place.  Arts and culture, lighting, landscaping, seating, events, and activities would be installed. The ‘Art Walk’ concept would enrich and develop Hackensack’s Transit Village.  In addition, the walk would connect the HACPAC, Main Street, and the bus terminal.  The walkway would also be an arts destination site and experience to attract visitors and interest pedestrians and residents.  The site would also reflect the community’s character. The walkway space would also serve as an area to provide programming and activities.

Actors surveyed and gathered information from commuters about Demarest Place to inform plans for the walkway. Commuters interacted with ‘The Hacktivator’ booth by answering the question, What brings you back to life?.  This action awoke a sleeping performer to present a dance, skit, monologue or another art form. The information collected will be used to develop future art installations reflecting Demarest Place and NJ Transit users’ ideas.  These ideas also engage the community about Demarest Place.

Support Future Projects

Individuals and businesses may support the NNJCF’s work with a tax-deductible donation, as permitted by law. Make a donation on the Foundation’s website. Contributions may also be sent by check made out to ‘The Northern N.J. Community Foundation’ entered in the memo line. 
Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. For further information about the NNJCF, call 201-568-5608 or send an e-mail.


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