Calling All Artists for a Community Arts Project

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Calling All Artists for a Community Arts Project (pdf)

Community Arts is an inclusive activity that anyone, regardless of age, abilities or disabilities, can contribute to and make their mark. The healing power of arts is well documented and part of its strength is helping participants to tap into their creativity, and empowering them to express their voice. It is vital, particularly in this age of technology when communication consists of thumbs tapping on a smart phone or staring at a computer screen, to encourage people to actually talk to each other, face to face. This is where social and emotional intelligence is cultivated. “Strengthening the bonds between parents and children is part of the mission of the LYCS Leaders after-school program,” explained Susan Ridley, the Township Program Supervisor for Community Services. “And making art together provides an opportunity for quality time engaged in a fun and creative activity.”

“Intergenerational programming is also an important aspect of creating a community that is founded on respect for all ages,” continued Ridley. “These programs help create a bridge across the generations by dispelling inaccurate stereotypes, promoting cultural traditions, and building a sense of personal and societal identity while encouraging tolerance. For students, the benefits include enhanced communication skills, increased self-esteem, development of problem-solving abilities, and fostering friendships across generations. Positive attitudes can be developed regarding a sense of purpose and community service. For the older adults the benefits include enhanced socialization, a decrease in feelings of loneliness, boredom, and depression. Research shows that interactions with the younger generation enriches the lives of older adults, and provides a rejuvenated sense of purpose and increased coping skills for their personal struggles.”

This community arts project is open to all Livingston residents. The plan is to paint a mural on the wall of the Café located inside the Monmouth Court Community Center (located at 26 Monmouth Ct). The final design will need Town Council approval, but if you are interested in participating in this project, please email sridley@livingstonnj.org to begin a working group to come up with ideas for the mural.

“You do not need to be an accomplished artist to participate in this project,” said Ridley. “All that is needed is enthusiasm and a willingness to volunteer your time. The mural will help to transform the Café into a space that all members of the community can enjoy and appreciate.”

Susan Ridley is an artist and Expressive Arts Therapist, with over 25 years’ experience working with diverse populations with various abilities and disabilities. She is also the Program Supervisor for Community Services for the Township of Livingston. She supervises the LYCS Leaders after-school program and Shining Stars which provides adaptive recreational programs for children with special needs. Susan is also the Livingston Municipal Alliance Coordinator.  LYCS Leaders is a program of the Senior, Youth, and Leisure Services and registration is now OPEN for the 2018-2019 school year. For more information about programs and activities visit www.LYCSleaders.org, call 973-535-7925 x 703, or email sridley@livingstonnj.org.