Voices from the Field Blog

A Gift of Community

More than 13 years ago, I started as the part-time director for this small-but-mighty program at Third Westminster Presbyterian Church at 780 Salem Avenue in Elizabeth called the Institute of Music for Children. As the arts were being cut in schools, the Institute was started by the church in 1995 to help provide arts education to their neighborhood youth, where children could learn and grow...

Community Development & the Arts: Perfect Together!

Join the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey on October 15 for a workshop on connecting community development, creative placemaking, and more! Through the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, community art has become a beacon of light in uncertain times. New Jersey’s local painters, sculptors, community gardeners, musicians, poets, dancers, and all other artists have proven...

The Camden Arts Scene is Growing

Visual ethnographer Michael P. Smith often described New Orleans as a “cultural wetland." 1 It is from this framework that I similarly consider Waterfront South, the Camden neighborhood where my organization Camden FireWorks is situated. Often non-residents describe Camden using deficit-based descriptors like “underserved,” “disenfranchised,” or “poor.” Although Waterfront South people implicitly...

Windows of Understanding Brings Public Art & Healing to Central Jersey, Expanding Scope in Quarantine

The Windows of Understanding (WOU) public art project, which launched on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, is now underway in New Brunswick, Highland Park, and Metuchen. Celebrating its fourth year, the WOU initiative unites local artists, organizations, and businesses to promote awareness and informed conversation around social justice issues impacting our local communities. Hiawatha Cuffee, "Rise"...