Through a local city-wide public art project called “Windows of Understanding,” New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) and its Esperanza Neighborhood Project partnered with local artists to transform “main street” spaces into creative art displays that emphasize social justice issues and the local organizations working around those matters. NBT’s work is currently being featured in the windows of two local businesses.

The first window, created by local artist Patricia Dahlman, highlights the rise women. From the start, Dahlman said she was “interested in making a work about the empowerment of girls and women in the New Brunswick community.” So, together with NBT, she focused on how NBT supports the community by empowering young girls in its various programs in the city.

Dahlman used photographs she took at a local event sponsored by NBT called New Brunswick Ciclovia. She paired the portraits of local children with well-known quotes from women leaders in the US. For example, Michelle Obama’s quote "When they go low, we go high" is featured with a photograph of a girl scaling a rock climbing wall. Dahlman used the photographs, adding fabric, drawings and text . This quilt-like work was then sewn to paper and fabric. The outcome is a beautiful arrangement of photos that spark youthful ambitions, while inspiring hope.

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The second window featured the Esperanza Neighborhood Project. Danielle Nolan, a local artist and student at the Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, partnered with NBT on a project to bring voice to the children in the Esperanza Neighborhood. Nolan, also an experienced art educator, created this art piece by attending a neighborhood meeting and asking the children to draw a picture of what a safe home meant to them. Then, Nolan took those individual drawings and incorporated them into a quilt she wove herself. The piece uses colors that that are synonymous with the vibrancy and beauty of our neighborhood, while also putting forth idyllic images of neighborhood homes.

NBT’s Window of Understanding can be found at Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub, located at 61 Church Street, New Brunswick, NJ. Esperanza’s Window of Understanding is located at Delta’s Restaurant, located at 19 Dennis Street, New Brunswick. The Windows of Understanding project is on display from January 21 to February 28, 2019 with programming such as walking tours, “Tables of Understanding” events at local restaurants, poetry readings, performances, educational workshops, and film screenings that complement the visual displays throughout the run.

This year marks the second year for the project and also the second year NBT has participated.

“We are quite fortunate that we had two displays and two artists each year,” said Jaymie Santiago, president and CEO of New Brunswick Tomorrow. “NBT looks forward using this project to help educate the community about the work we do to address the most pressing issues in our community, with the ultimate mission of moving people forward.”

To learn more about Windows of Understanding and the schedule of events associated with this project, visit the WOU website.

To learn more about New Brunswick Tomorrow, visit the NBT website.