The NNJCF’s work in the arts is undertaken through the Foundation’s ArtsBergen initiative. The mission of the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) is to enhance community life in Northern New Jersey. It does this through collaboration, convening people to address common concerns, learn from each other, and then work collaboratively to produce improved outcomes in the Foundation’s five action fields: education, public health, civic engagement, the arts, and environment.
It is because arts and culture inspire collaboration that their support is fundamental to the Foundation’s mission. Arts and culture evoke human emotion. They draw people together around common feelings, bridging differences, and inspiring the mutual understanding and trust that are the wellsprings of collective creativity.
Seeking for a best way to support the arts, the Foundation commissioned a study in 2013 to assess the needs of the Bergen County arts community. The study found that artists and arts organizations wanted to organize themselves into a more coherent group, one that with a single, stronger voice, could better connect with Bergen County residents and businesses. They wanted to become more effective in advocating for the arts professionally and politically.
Responding to this need in 2014, The Foundation established its flagship initiative, ArtsBergen. ArtsBergen, a regional arts alliance, promotes collaborative activities between artists and arts organizations, and the non-profits, businesses, developers, and municipal leaders in the communities where they live and work. In addition, the alliance explores ways to integrate arts and culture into its action fields: education, public health, civic engagement, the arts, and environment.
In summary, ArtsBergen values, supports, and promotes arts and culture because they:
- Enrich individuals by nurturing creativity;
- Strengthen communities by speaking a common language that bridges differences, stimulates interaction, and creates relationships;
- Grow the economy by making places that people enjoy, that convey quality and respect, and are exciting, enjoyable, safe, and attractive.
ArtsBergen’s mission is to provide programs, events, professional development, marketing, advocacy, and networking that will increase the amount, the quality, and the life-affirming impact of arts and culture on the lives of Bergen County residents.
- Supports, connects, promotes, and advocates for the artists and organizations that produce and present art in Bergen County;
- Advances and practices creative placemaking to make our communities more vibrant; and
- Builds and engages communities by using arts and culture to catalyze shared experiences.