(NEW MILFORD, NJ) -- The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's ArtsBergen and the Borough of New Milford have announced a call for three visual artists or artist teams to design and paint murals on three public benches in three public parks for the 'Art Takes the Bench!' project. The project plans to introduce residents of New Milford and the borough's visitors to local artists' talents, while also providing visual attractions that create more interesting, inviting open spaces.
Each bench serves as a canvas for a painted mural using these themes selected by the community of New Milford to create in a park: library in Williams Field, fish in Hardcastle Pond, and New Milford Spirit in Sutton Place. Three artists or artist teams will be selected and assigned to design, paint, and seal protectively each mural on a bench. The artist or artist team must be available to paint publicly the bench at New Milford’s National Night Out on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 from approximately 3:00pm to 8:00pm.
On each bench, a plaque in braille will be created describing the imagery of the artwork, making the art accessible to people who are blind or visually challenged. The artist or artist team will provide a short detailed written description of their mural that will be translated into braille.
Submit Applications: Applicants must be at least 18 years old and either work or live in New Jersey. New Milford-based artists are encouraged to apply. A juried selection committee will choose the artists using the following criteria: creativity of design, prior experience with outdoor murals, artistic excellence and how imaginatively the theme is communicated. Each artist or team selected for the project will receive $750 in compensation and a $150 supply budget.
Applicants must log onto Artcall.org, follow the instructions, and provide the requested information. The online application form must be completed and uploaded here by June 21, 2023. The selection of the artists will be announced the week of July 10. The selected artists must attend the mandatory painting event at New Milford's National Night Out on August 1, 2023, with the benches completed by August 11, 2023.
This program is made possible in part by a grant administered by the Bergen County Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs from funds generated by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
'Art Takes the Bench' seeks to accomplish these five goals:
1) to beautify the community of New Milford by incorporating public art into open spaces
2) to engage residents and passersby by providing attractive, art-filled seating areas
3) to endorse arts and culture, as a powerful tool to build a stronger community and enliven public spaces
4) to make public art accessible to people with visual challenges
5) to provide art-based work opportunities for local artists showcasing their talents.
The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups to improve community life. Through collaborative partnerships, regional problems are identified and resolved. Opportunities are discovered and explored by talking and learning from each other and sharing ideas, best practices, services and resources. The Foundation's primary areas of work are the environment, arts and culture, public health, education, civic engagement and philanthropy.
The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen initiative, a regional arts alliance, works with various stakeholders. These stakeholders encompass artists, arts organizations, businesses and municipal leaders, who use the arts to shape the social, physical, cultural, and economic identity of communities. Creative placemaking, a community-led, arts-driven approach, is used to increase vibrancy, spur economic development, and build capacity among residents to take ownership of their communities.
ArtsBergen is the only initiative in Bergen County, New Jersey offering a range of services in creative placemaking. The initiative has partnered with multiple municipalities facilitating creative teams, developing public art and creative placemaking plans, and directing and managing public art projects to preserve and express community culture.