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...

Get Involved in the Word, Plant a Seed, and Watch It Grow

Words are important. Words are all around us and with you right now as you read this. Words, to me, are among the most beautiful gifts that I have ever gotten from or given to anyone. I believe this so strongly that I’ve dedicated myself to ensuring that words play an important part in the lives of others. I currently serve as my hometown’s Poet Laureate. As the first ever poet laureate of...

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"...

Passing the Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund

This past November 3, Jersey City voted to create an Arts and Culture Trust Fund, becoming the first municipality in New Jersey to create a dedicated tax to support the arts. The trust will create funding sources for arts organizations in the city, and will support arts organizations and artists that benefit the culture, well-being, and economy of Jersey City, as well as provide increased...

Your Three-Step, Uncomplicated Formula For a More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Workplace

(Or, How I Rapidly Implemented DEI at a Predominately White Institution In My Role as Its First Leader of Color) TRUTH BOMB: making your company DEI-friendly is NOT as hard as everyone is making it out to be. You see, most organizations think they need to pull out all the stops for DEI. But the truth is, it's so much simpler than that. Sure, hiring outside help can benefit, but the REAL work...

Zimmerli Responds to Community Needs with "Arts at Home/Artes en Casa"

The end of the school year brought to a close to a time unlike any other. Like all of our peers, when the shutdown came, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers had to unexpectedly pivot major programs, like our partnership with New Brunswick Public Schools that would have brought every 2nd grader in the district to the museum (nearly 800 students in all), followed by teaching artist visits to their...

ArtPride New Jersey Offers Testimony at NJ Open Public Budget Hearings

Each year, the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services offers the public an opportunity to bring budget concerns to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. ArtPride trustee Jeremy Johnson testified before the Assembly Committee, and ArtPride staff member Ann Marie Miller testified before both committees. This was an opportunity to remind elected...

The HeART of Downtown Renaissance

What happens when you get five business leaders in a room filled with hungry learners who want to know the secrets to making their downtowns come alive? This was the scene at the recent New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference where ArtPride and the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey collaborated to showcase success stories in progress in Hackensack, Atlantic City, Trenton...

New Jersey Celebrates National Arts in Education Week

It’s back to school time and that means this week is National Arts in Education Week. It is such a critical time to show your support for arts education in New Jersey. Arts education creates not only artists but well-rounded humans that thrive in creative workplace environments. Now, if you aren’t familiar with this national celebration, here is a little background provided by our friends at...

Never Stop Asking Questions

Five years ago, I put a personal and institutional moratorium on making theatre. coLAB Arts had a massive question that had been hanging in the air for the five years since the organization first started: Why do we exist? Why does there need to be another loosely held together group of emerging interdisciplinary artists in New Jersey making work for themselves? And why New Brunswick? We had...