Social Justice Public Art Initiative “Windows of Understanding” Returns on MLK Day for 5th Anniversary January 17 – February 28, 2022
The New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Highland Park Arts Commission, Metuchen Arts Council and South Plainfield Cultural Arts Commission announce the fifth annual public art project ” Windows of Understanding”, an initiative that brings together local artists, organizations and businesses to promote awareness and engagement around social justice issues impacting local communities.
As Windows of Understanding enters its fifth year, the vision of the public art project is to transform the spaces of the “main street” into real windows of understanding; spaces in which the community can learn about the positive progress made by local organizations around a wide range of social justice issues that do not make daily headlines. Expanding its reach to a fourth town in Middlesex County, South Plainfield, joining New Brunswick, Highland Park and Metuchen, Windows of Understanding is a creative, community-based response to the negativity and hate that lives on in the media landscape of ‘today. It is through visual language that artists can communicate methods of understanding in powerful ways that transcend cultural boundaries.
“Windows of Understanding has always been thought-provoking and important,” said New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill. “Each year, contributing artists have masterfully captured the most discussed social issues in the country and presented them honestly and authentically, stimulating thought and generating dialogue. We look forward to another successful year in 2022.”
This year, more than 20 non-profit organizations will be paired with an entertainer to highlight the positive progress they are making in local communities. The works will be on display in storefronts and public spaces in New Brunswick, Highland Park, Metuchen and South Plainfield, New Jersey, from January 17 to February 28, 2022.
“The Windows of Understanding collaboration and multi-site expo is always a highlight of Highland Park’s annual calendar of activities,” said Gayle Brill Mittler, Mayor of Highland Park. “Our artistic community and many of our residents deeply appreciate the variety of artistic works presented each year and the socially responsible messages they convey.”
Organizers have organized this year’s arts and support events around selected economic justice issues; public health; climate change; and protest against politics; as well as a focus on youth engagement. Installations will be on display along Church, George and French streets in New Brunswick; the Rite Aid windows of the South 4th Avenue Gallery in Highland Park; on XXX in South Plainfield; and at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services NJ Properties in Metuchen.
The project will launch on Monday, January 17, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to honor Dr. King’s legacy with a “Day of Understanding.”
Current efforts include expanding the importance of creating conversational windows of understanding through events; educational workshops in partnership with local schools will take place until the end of April.
“It is important to note that art is a universal language that evokes thoughts, ideas and meaning in the eye of the beholder,” said Dr. Aubrey A. Johnson, Superintendent of Public Schools for New Brunswick. “We are proud of our partnership with Windows of Understanding, which provides our students with a framework to develop critical awareness, understand the world as they see it, and take action against social injustices.”
“As president of the Art on the Block club, I believe that art can lead people to explore the world of imagination, as art students see it every day,” says 12th grader Nezzle Mendez. year of New Brunswick high school. “We wanted to show awareness of climate change. We must change our ways of polluting the world and continue our efforts for generations to come. »
Free virtual programs such as panel discussions, youth art exhibits, art workshops and film screenings on social justice themes will complement the showcases throughout the season. The Metuchen Arts Council will partner with the Metuchen Human Relations Commission to present a virtual “community conversation” with agency directors and artists involved to highlight each agency’s timely work.
“We at Metuchen look forward to embracing, once again, the principles of Windows of Understanding, as they draw our attention through art to organizations in our community that are doing important work to address the economic justice, public health, climate change and fostering civic engagement. said Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch. “Through art comes awareness; through awareness, there are opportunities to create solutions as a community.
The Windows of Understanding project partners artists with local organizations. Local organizations involved include The Black Community Watchline; Brady – United Against Gun Violence; Citizen campaign; Dina’s Lodgings, Town Clock CDC; Elijah’s promise; Pantry of the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen; Watch out for food and water; Highland Park gives a hoot; The League of Women Voters; Moms demand action; NAACP; Association of Black Women Physicians of New Jersey; New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition; RCHP Affordable Housing Corporation; TO FILL; The Rutgers Climate Institute; Rutgers student pantry; RWJUH HVIP Community Consortium Working Together Against Violence to Empower (WAVE); Stop NESE Coalition; Sustainable South Plainfield; and Urban Ag Lab, Rutgers University.
Leadership support for Windows of Understanding 2022 was provided by Middlesex County, New Brunswick Cultural Center and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services NJ Properties. Special thanks to the Middlesex County Institute of the Arts and Rutgers University Office of Community Affairs for their in-kind support of this program.
Companies hosting art installations for 2022 include: New Brunswick Center for the Performing Arts (NBPAC), Heldrich Hotel and Conference Center, College Avenue Court, New Brunswick Parking Authority, Brunswick, Harvest Moon, Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Downtown New Brunswick, Borough of Highland Park, Rite Aid of Highland Park, Johnson & Johnson, Earth & Ivy and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services NJ Properties.
For more information on Windows of Understanding, including a full list of featured organizations, participating showcases, and a full schedule of free events, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.windowsofunderstanding.org” www.windowsofunderstanding.org . On Instagram at @windowsofunderstanding, #weseethroughhate.
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About the New Brunswick Community Arts Council
Comprised of leaders from across the arts sector appointed by the mayor for a three-year term, the New Brunswick Community Arts Council exists to promote a diverse range of arts and culture throughout the city. Windows of Understanding complements the council’s existing programs such as the New Brunswick Holiday Market.
About Mason Gross School of the Arts
Founded in 1976, the Mason Gross School of the Arts is New Jersey’s flagship public art conservatory and a division of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the nation’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning, a top Big Ten public research university with more than 71,000 students, and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The Mason Gross School is home to the departments of Art and Design, Dance, Music, and Theater as well as Rutgers Community Arts, Rutgers Arts Online, the Rutgers Filmmaking Center, and the Rutgers Print Collaborative. The school has approximately 805 undergraduate and 257 graduate students in five disciplines, supported by approximately 390 faculty and 66 staff. Mason Gross students come from 29 states and territories and 21 countries. Mason Gross is one of the most selective schools in Rutgers – New Brunswick, ensuring students have the opportunity to work closely with accomplished artists in their fields.
About the Highland Park Arts Commission
The purpose of the Arts Commission is to support and facilitate cultural programs in Highland Park for the benefit of its residents. These programs may include, but are not limited to, dance, drama, music, visual arts, poetry, spoken word, culinary arts, fashion design, paper arts, woodworking and interdisciplinary art forms. The Arts Commission is particularly interested in the inclusion of diverse cultural programming and the training of students (of all ages) in these art forms.
About Metuchen Arts Council
The Metuchen Arts Council was established in 1967 to advocate and promote culturally enriching programs that foster appreciation of the arts in the community. The Metuchen Arts Council accomplishes its mission by sponsoring exciting, innovative and entertaining programs in all artistic disciplines; support local artists and arts organizations through grants, sponsorships and networking opportunities; work with others to create a welcoming community to attract artists and audiences of all ages, backgrounds and cultures; and by being an advocate for arts education at all levels.
About the South Plainfield Cultural Arts Commission
The South Plainfield Cultural Arts Commission was founded to promote a variety of cultural arts programs to residents of South Plainfield.
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