The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen initiative joins thousands nationwide to celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month and Discover Jersey Arts Month in the Garden State. From October 28 through November 11, ArtsBergen invites the public to watch artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh paint the “Black Women’s Mural: Celebrating Black Suffragists and Black Women in Englewood”. Black women in the city and the larger community provided input into the mural’s design.
During those days, the painting takes place in general hours Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m.to 6:00 p.m. The Woman’s Club of Englewood and the Teaneck Englewood And Vicinity Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. also sponsored the filming of a video of this special project. The filming documents the project and mural process, as a memorable event in women’s history in Englewood. In addition, the design will be painted and revealed on the east-facing wall of The Women’s Rights Information Center building, located at 108 West Palisade Avenue in downtown Englewood, New Jersey.
Fazlalizadeh, a Black-Iranian visual artist and Oklahoma City native, is a painter, whose work ranges from the gallery to the streets, using visual art to address the daily oppressive experiences of marginalized people through beautifully drawn and painted portraits. Her street art series, “Stop Telling Women to Smile”, addressing sexual harassment in public spaces, also appears on walls across the globe. In addition, in 2019, she was the inaugural Public Artist in Residence for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Furthermore, The New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, the New Yorker, and Time Magazine profiled her work.
Black Women’s Mural Reveal
The mural celebrates Black women’s voices, raises awareness about Black suffragists, and encourages civil discourse within the community. The official reveal of the Black Women’s Mural takes place on November 14 at 3 p.m. outdoors. The Foundation and its partners invite the public to celebrate the completion of this project.
The NNJCF’s ArtsBergen initiative implemented the project in collaboration with community partners. The partners include The Women’s Rights Information Center, Metro Community Center, and the Woman’s Club of Englewood. Major supporters of the project encompass NNJCF, AARP New Jersey, Valley Bank, Sozosei Foundation, Visions Federal Credit Union, Age-Friendly Englewood, and PNC Bank.
SACKtoberfest Kicked Off Arts Celebration
Earlier in the month, on Saturday, October 15, the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen kicked off National Arts & Humanities Month and Discover Jersey Arts Month. The kick-off featured these three free public arts projects focused on storytelling activities at SACKtoberfest in Hackensac
- “Our Stories Are Main Street” Community Tiled Mural. The nonprofit co-Lab Arts collaborated with muralist Amrisa Niranjan In addition, they worked to design an arts mural cut into tiles. Festival participants shared on the tiles their own ‘Main Street moments’. A photo will also be incorporated into the ‘Stories on Main Story Map’ on The SACK Business Alliance’s website.
- The Hacktivator’, an arts favorite! Two sets of actors performed a participant-prompted comedy improvisation and ‘mad lib stories’ for participants activating the Hacktivator booth. Passersby activated the ‘Hacktivator’! They watched actors from Howdy Strangers create a personal comedy performance. Actors Claire Porter and Renee Reddings Jones also appeared.
- The ‘Stories on Main Street’ Docuseries. This series highlighted the inspirational stories of immigrant business owners on Main Street in Hackensack. Their stories appeareed in two screenings at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center. The featured business owners were Domenico and Marco Daniele from Coffee Break and Nelfita Rodas from Colombia Bakery Factory. The series also presented Yusef and Tugce Ural from El Turco Grill. Another business owner, Aida Yungasaca from Colombia Fashion LLC, told her story. Award-winning filmmaker Dana Glazer filmed and produced the four, five-minute documentaries spotlighting immigrants. Furthermore, these entrepreneurs own and run their businesses on Main Street in Hackensack.
Celebrate the Contributions of the Arts
During National Arts & Humanities Month, the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen initiative joins other artists and organizations to bring the message the arts’ contributions to communities in northern New Jersey. This became the country’s largest annual collective celebration of the arts and humanities.
“Whether you watch or listen or do it yourself, the arts allow us to explore ideas, express emotions, and better appreciate other cultures. National Arts and Humanities Month is an opportunity to enjoy a little more art for yourself and to recognize and celebrate its positive impact. I hope that everyone will take part to celebrate and recognize the creative and cultural value of the arts and humanities in our communities,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.
Arts: Lifeblood of Communities
Americans for the Arts coordinates national Arts and Humanities Month. This month-long celebration grew out of National Arts Week. In 1985, the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts started this special week. More information about National Arts and Humanities Month appears on Americans for the Arts’ website.