MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Some employees had to learn to pivot when the coronavirus pandemic rolled in. Ana De Archuleta knew what she was getting into when she was hired at the end of April to be the new Director of the Division of Arts & Culture for Maplewood.
She said she understood the challenge, “to try to continue the way the division had been working, which is a lot of events. I mean, this office books around 10 events a week on a regular season.”
She has been busy since then, working with the Community Services Department, the Maplewood Arts Council, the Maplewood Township Committee, The Springfield Avenue Partnership, Maplewood Village Alliance, Two Towns for All Ages, and the many local artists and arts organizations to enhance the offering of art and culture events all over town.
De Archuleta has a wide variety of local talent lined up for Village Sunset Music Series, Springfield Avenue Gazebo Concerts, and Music Mondays at the Maplewood Farmers Market. She is also planning these events safely. “The health department has been guiding our efforts to make that outdoor music happen…. We are also making a big push for social media and online virtual events, we're promoting as many of those possible.” The township’s social distancing ambassadors help at the music events as well, including those performances at the Farmer’s Markets on Mondays.
De Archuleta is looking to create an artist database for the township as well. “I want this community to get to know their artists. So it is very important to me to make an art registry. I'm already working on it." The registry will be so that Maplewood artists will "be able to showcase their talent.” The registry will be for organizations as well as individuals, she noted. “I want at all. I want it not only to be a platform for actual artists, but also for their organizations. You know, there's so many grassroots arts organizations here.”
After living in Maplewood for nine years, she is glad to be able to bring her talents to her new hometown. The Puerto Rican native is bringing her background in the classical music world for the past 16 years to this position to create future events for the town.
De Archuleta wants residents and visitors to know “that we are being as safe as possible. We want them to be able to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the artists that we have in this town and all with safety in mind. I think it's very important for them to know that we are considering everything and we'll have signage, and we'll have people around reminding them to keep their distance and to wear their masks.”
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