High school art promotes compassion in New Brunswick

"People of New Brunswick" art piece at Roosterspin in downtown New Brunswick. Credits: David Lago

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - New Brunswick High School has joined a community consortium to develop "Windows of Understanding," promoting awareness and compassion through creative works of art.

The program is designed to bridge the gap between diverse community groups among residents and visitors to the Hub City through displays of public art.

The program includes more than 25 local organizations, which hope to expose social injustices that some New Brunswick residents face as a community comprising many minority groups. 

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According to the Windows of Understanding website, the program “is a creative, community-building response to the negativity and hate being perpetuated in today’s media landscape.”

One of the group’s core belief is that “through visual language, artists can communicate methods of understanding in powerful ways that cut across cultural boundaries.”  Through works of art, the local artists involved want to show that they are above hate.

According to David Lago, supervisor of the NBHS Art Club, the project opens up a “new chapter” for the club. “We tend to only promote our art in our school, and the Windows of Understanding project extends our art outside of our school and into the community.”

Other partners in the project are the New Brunswick Community Arts Council, the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University,and the Highland Park Arts Commission. 

Senior Michelle Juarez, President of the NBHS Art Club, believes art makes a positive impact on community understanding. She worked on a mural at Las Cazuelas restaurant on French Street last year  and believes the mural was successful in sharing its message of Latino and Hispanic culture.

According to Juarez, the community was “supportive and positive, and they enjoyed seeing their cultures expressed through a mural.” Juarez hopes that the Art Club can “be seen as more than just a group of teenagers who create small projects” and that it will create acceptance of all communities as the project grows.

In the past, NBT, a non-profit organization, and the Art Club collaborated in a project at Roosterspin, a new restaurant on Albany Street, and completed a project named “People of New Brunswick.”

Lago says that the project shows the different types of people through literal windows. He hopes that these projects will help people  learn about the positive strides being made by local organizations around a wide array of social justice issues that don’t make daily headlines.”

Hopefully, “Windows of Understanding” will allow people to #seethroughhate.

For more information about planned events, visit

Ayleen Camarillo is a senior at New Brunswick High School

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