The Metuchen Arts Council is joining with the Metuchen Human Relations Commission to schedule virtual “Community Conversations” around the issues highlighted in 2021 Windows of Understanding Public Art Project. Those issues include: food insecurity; youth engagement; trauma and recovery; public health; and climate change.

The first virtual Community Conversationwill take place on Wednesday, January 27that 7:30p.m.on the topics of Food Insecurity and Youth Engagement.  

The Windows of Understanding Project is a joint project of the New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Mason Gross School of the Arts, the Highland Park Arts Council, the Metuchen Arts Council and the Metuchen Human Relations Commission. The initiative unites local artists, organizations, and businesses to promote compassion and awareness around social justice issues impacting local communities.  The belief of the Project’s creators is that through visual language, artists can communicate methods of understanding in powerful ways that cut across cultural boundaries. 

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For the issue of Food Insecurity, artists Anisha Thind and Kim Adlerman have been asked to create art that illuminates the mission of the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen’s Food Pantry.  Likewise, for the topic of Youth Engagement, artists Robyn-Trimboli Russo, Cristina Hoyos, Wilford Charles and Joe Castronova have been asking to create art inspired by the mission of Kiddie Keepwell Camp, the Middlesex County non-profit that provides residential camping, educational, health and wellness programs to under-resourced children, teens and seniors.

All Community Conversationswill start at 7:30 p.m. and can be accessed via Facebook live at https://www.facebook.com/MetuchenHumanRelationsCommission/.  The schedule for the Community Conversations include:

  • January 27: The directors of the First Presbyterian Food Pantry and Kiddie Keepwell, Sarah Teti and Sarah Cruz, will talk about their agencies’ work in our community as they face the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and racial injustice.  The corresponding artists’ work will be shown and discussed as a lens into the agencies’ missions.  
  • February 24: Discussion on Public Health and Trauma & Recovery will focus on the work of the Metuchen First Aid Squad and the agency, Women Aware of New Brunswick.  The artists interpreting those agencies missions include Dominique Brancato, Lauren Rabinowitz, Luciana Mallozzi, Martina Hanna, Amalya Sherman and Janice Fried.

April 21:In observance of Earth Day, Edison Greenways Group and artists Laura Curtis and Mickey Waring will be exploring the issue of  Climate Change.

In addition to the Community Conversations, the Metuchen programming for the Windows of Understanding Project will include an exhibition in the Metuchen Public Library Gallery of all the art discussed in the Community Discussion. A virtual exhibit will also be mounted and available for viewing from the Metuchen Arts Council website at www.metuchenartscouncil.com. The project launches on Monday, January 18, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a way of paying homage to Dr. King’s legacy.

Programming in New Brunswick and Highland Park will include virtual poetry readings, screenings, educational workshops and panel discussions around social justice themes that will complement the visual displays in storefronts and public spaces throughout the run in New Brunswick and Highland Park through February 28, 2021.

Support for Windows of Understanding 2021 has been provided by: Middlesex County; the New Brunswick Cultural Center; Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts; Rutgers University Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement; Highland Park Arts Commission; Metuchen Arts Council; and New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. 

For more information on Windows of Understanding, including a complete list of featured organizations, participating storefronts, and a full calendar of free events, please visit www.windowsofunderstanding.org. On Instagram at @windowsofunderstanding, #weseethroughhate.