In observance of National Arts and Humanities Month, as well as Jersey Arts Month, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation invites people to see public art and online programming available for free in Bergen County. As part of the NNJCF’s 25th anniversary celebration, its ArtsBergen initiative created a list of free public art and online movies the Foundation produced for people to enjoy.
The Foundation’s ArtsBergen initiative, a regional arts alliance, works with a range of stakeholders. These stakeholders encompass artists, and arts organizations, as well as businesses and municipal leaders. Furthermore, these stakeholders use the arts to shape the social, physical, cultural, and economic identity of communities. Creative placemaking, a community-led, arts-driven approach, is used to increase vibrancy, spur economic development, and build capacity among residents to take ownership of their communities.
ArtsBergen is the only initiative in Bergen County, New Jersey offering a range of services in creative placemaking. The initiative partners with multiple municipalities facilitating creative teams, developing public art and creative placemaking plans. In addition, ArtsBergen directs and manages public art projects to preserve and express community culture.
“As one of Bergen County’s leading producers of public art, we have created dozens of works over the past ten years. But we don’t do ‘arts for arts’ sake’. As creative placemakers, we produce public art designed to address economic, social or environmental issues in communities and encourage people to see this public art,” said Leonardo Vazquez, executive director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.
Free Public Art in Englewood
Women’s Rights Information Center, 108 Palisade Avenue, Englewood
The mural, painted by artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, celebrates Black women’s voices, raises awareness about Black suffragists, and also encourages civil discourse within the community. Leaders shown in the mural include suffragist Ida B. Wells; Dr. Josie Carter, an original member of the Women’s Rights Information Center’s board of directors; and activists protesting segregation at the city’s Lincoln Elementary School. Other community members shown are Hali Cooper, an Englewood resident, who walked in the Black Lives Matter march, and Kia S. Thornton Miller and her daughter Toni Michelle Miller, who come from a long family line of Englewood residents.
Free Public Art in Hackensack
Barrels O’ Art
Carver Park, 302 2nd Street in Hackensack
This temporary colorful, beautiful exhibition of painted rain barrels is on display through November 7, 2023. The rain barrels beautify the flood-prone neighborhood and educate the public about flooding. These professional artists designed and painted murals on the rain barrels: Fiona Clark, Anthony Coplan, Emily Gilman Beezley, Toney Jackson, Lissanne Lake, Guillermo Lopez, Dianna Mammone, John Newcomb, Amrisa Niranjan, Copie Rodriguez, and Sasha Zinevych. The painted and unpainted rain barrels will be given away to Hackensack residents and organizations through a random drawing. People interested in receiving a free rain barrel may sign up online.
The Sack Mural
135 Main Street at the corner of Demarest Place in Hackensack
The mural, created by artist Damien Mitchell, presents the municipality’s rich history with a postcard of Hackensack. The postcard also reflects the city’s unique cultural assets.
Found at various locations along Main Street in Hackensack
Anti-littering messages were painted on utility boxes on Main Street. Several artists painted the anti-littering themes on the boxes. These artists include Monica Chavarria, Lawrence Ciarallo, Tai Hwa Goh, and Jonathan Houssou. Additional artists were Marcus Story, John Newcomb, Poramit Thantapalit, and Kenneth Ziobro.
Free Public Art in Oradell
Flood Theater, 400 Maple Avenue in Oradell
Flood Theater, a community-inspired temporary public artwork installation, raises awareness about flooding along the Hackensack River. The art display, designed and created by artist Juliacks, remains on exhibit now through November 21, 2023 at the field next to the Oradell Train Station, located at 400 Maple Avenue in Oradell, New Jersey. This public art also incorporates community members’ stories and artwork from Oradell, New Milford, and other municipalities along the Hackensack River affected by flooding.
Where’s Wally?’ Ground Mural
622 Oradell Avenue in Oradell at the intersection of Oradell Avenue and Kinderkamack Road
This public art honors the late Oradell native and NASA astronaut Walter Schirra. Local artist Nina Tsur designed the artwork. The ‘Where’s Wally’ art appears on the park’s sidewalks leading to the gazebo. Furthermore, this art presents the community’s shared vision of exploration and space.
Watch the inspiring docuseries about immigrant business owners in Hackensack. Award-winning filmmaker and producer Dana Glazer filmed the movies. Entrepreneurs featured in the film include Aida Yungasaca, owner of Colombian Fashion LLC, and Nelfita Rodas, owner of the Colombia Bakery Factory. Domenico Daniele from Coffee Break was also interviewed. In addition, Glazer interviewed Yusef and Tess Ural, previous owners of El Turco Restaurant. Watch the docuseries for free online.
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