Building Resilient Communities Through the Arts

We all experienced the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of Tropical Storm Ida’s aftermath. As the arts community experienced significant unemployment, hardship, isolation and disconnectedness, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) responded to these crises.

Building Resilient Communities Through the Arts

The NNJCF’s ArtsBergen initiative worked with regional partners to implement a coordinated response that:
  • Engaged and awarded grants from our COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to 39 organizations.  With these grant awards, the organizations reached isolated community members through virtual classes and performances.;
  • Provided paid work for artists to create and display their art through creative placemaking projects.  For example, Hackensack’s ‘On the Rise’ Poster Project’, installed along Main Street business’ windows, created a visually colorful display with a message about the city’s resurgence during COVID-19.;
  • Introduced the ‘ArtsBergen Creates + Connects’ Facebook group page for artists to connect with each other and provide resources.  Furthermore, they also stay updated on paid work opportunities.;
NNJCF is building resilient communities through the arts.

NNJCF is building resilient communities through the arts.

  • Injected a ‘healthy dose’ of creativity through the ‘Daily Arts Dose’, a social media campaign, where 28 artists in northern New Jersey also shared a sample of their work daily, resulting in the artist’s post with the highest number of combined likes receiving a cash prize;

Arts Bring the Community Together

  • Implemented a transformative creative placemaking project with community input in Oradell, resulting in a local artist selected to develop and install the interactive ‘Where’s Wally’ ground mural and decal in Walter Schirra Park.  This art also celebrated the life of Oradell resident and NASA astronaut, Walter Schirra.;
  • Selected and compensated three artists to create and showcase a video in their studio about their work in ‘Connect the Dots: Studio Sneak Peek’, a networking event that also attracted artists throughout the region;
  • Held the Englewood Black Women’s Mural Project Community Input Workshop for residents and Black women to learn about the Black suffragists and also to contribute their stories and experiences for inclusion in a mural on the Women’s Rights Information Center’s wall; and
  • Launched ‘Rallying for 5% for the Arts in Bergen County’ to advocate an allocation of funds from the American Rescue Plan.  This campaign also prioritizes this sector.

How Can You Help?

As a nonprofit COMMUNITY Foundation we relay on you—the COMMUNITY—to support our work. Furthermore, with your gift, the NNJCF can continue our mission with regional partners.  We will also identify and find solutions through the arts and respond quickly to critical issues affecting all of us.
Please make a donation of any amount to our ‘Building Resilient Communities Through the Arts’ campaign today on our secure website. Donations may also be contributed by check.  Make your check out to ‘The Northern NJ Community Foundation’.  Send the check to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. The NNJCF is also a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. In addition, donations are tax deductible, as permitted by law.
For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, contact or call 201-568-5608. Your support will help us continue this important work.
Sincerely yours,
Danielle De Laurentis
Associate Director
Mary K. Blanusa
Executive Director
P.S. Together, we’re ‘Building Resilient Communities’! Won’t you join us?

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