Foundation's Build-A-Village Art Exhibit Unveiled; Senior Citizens' Art Addresses Public Health Need

Foundation's Build-A-Village Art Exhibit Unveiled; Senior Citizens' Art Addresses Public Health Need

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's (NNJCF) Build-A-Village, an art-centric collage display created by senior citizens in Bergen County, New Jersey, was unveiled in a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 17. The public art appears in show boxes on a building's exterior located at the Palisades Court intersection of North Van Brunt Street and Daisy Place in Englewood, New Jersey. The Englewood Chamber of Commerce hosted the event.

Senior citizens participated in the NNJCF's free five-week public art collage project held at Bergen Family Center and the Southeast Senior Center for Independent Living in Englewood, New Jersey from October to November this year. Professional teaching artist/muralist Dan Fenelon led the workshops, bringing together participants to explore creating an ideal community through art. Partial funding for the project was provided by Age-Friendly Englewood.

"Involving seniors in creative, social activities such as public art is healthy, both physically and mentally. The Build-A-Village project addressed the public health need of senior citizens experiencing loneliness and isolation. They used their imagination and connected with others through the arts," said Michael Shannon, President, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.


Partnering with local nonprofits and businesses to incorporate and showcase the arts to build community is integral to the NNJCF's work. "Part of the Foundation's mission is to promote creative placemaking, the practice of integrating arts and culture into a neighborhood, town, or region, to build community and livability and boost the local economy. Build-A-Village was successful in large part due to the generosity of Fred Fish, managing member of TREECO, who donated the space to display the art, and the time of two key individuals, Albert Krull and Bob Adler. We look forward to working with Englewood and other municipalities in 2019 to develop other community public art projects," said Michael Shannon, President, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

"The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's Build-A-Village project exemplifies how organizations in Englewood come together to collaborate. This is the beginning of introducing public art in Englewood. This would not have happened without the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's leadership. They are first to do this, explained Carol Rauscher, President of the Englewood Chamber of Commerce and Director of the Englewood Special Improvement District.

"Fred Fish of TREECO was the first business owner to embrace the idea of bringing public art into the city. We would like to do more of these community engagement endeavors," said Rauscher.

For more information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation and the Build-A-Village project, visit www.nnjcf.org. Municipalities interested in developing public art in their communities may contact the NNJCF at nnjcf@nnjcf.org or call 201-568-5608.

Individuals and businesses are welcome to support this pilot project and its replication with a tax-deductible donation, as permitted by law. Donations may be made online at http://www.nnjcf.org/donation/ under the tab, The Creative Placemaking Fund. Contributions may also be sent by check made out to 'The Northern N.J. Community Foundation' with 'Build a Village' entered in the memo line. ?Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601.

During its 20th anniversary year, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation continues to serve the community and asks, What can we do together that we can't do alone?. The NNJCF is a leader in creative placemaking, the practice of integrating arts and culture into the fabric of a region, town, or city block in the region. Build-A-Village is the NNJCF's ArtsBergen initiative's latest creative placemaking project implemented in Bergen County.

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