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New Jersey Arts Community Offers Free Public Events in Celebration of the 2023 National Day of Racial Healing

Creating Change Network Curates a Line-up of Arts Events focused on Redefining and Rebuilding Community


The Creating Change Network, a program hosted by New Jersey Theatre Alliance and ArtPride New Jersey that aims to build a more equitable, just, accessible and anti-racist arts community in New Jersey, has curated a lineup of 11 public arts events in celebration of the National Day of Racial Healing, which takes place January 17, 2023. The National Day of Racial Healing is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial, Healing & Transformation efforts. This is the seventh year of the program and the second year that the Creating Change Network, supported by the Grunin Foundation, has sponsored New Jersey Artists’ participation.

New Jersey Arts Events will take place January 16-24, and will feature both in person and online offerings. All events are offered free of charge to the public. The full lineup, including links for reserving tickets can be found at

The Creating Change Network, in partnership with the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Center at Rutgers University–Newark sought participation from artists and arts organizations to create events focused on “Redefining and Rebuilding Community” related to race and racism.

“It has been a pleasure to partner with the Creating Change Network,” says Sharon Stroye, director of the TRHT Center at RU-N and director of public engagement in the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University–Newark. “The mission of the TRHT Center at Rutgers University–Newark is to draw on the methodologies and strategies of the humanities and the arts within a social justice framework, where RU-N and diverse community partners can engage in an arc of interactive programming designed to change the narrative about race and race relations in Newark and beyond.”

“The theme for National Day of Racial Healing 2023 is Redefining and Rebuilding Community,” Stroye continues. “It’s an opportunity for people, organizations, and communities to interpret what community means to them and to take action together in creating a just and equitable New Jersey. After a global pandemic, the racial reckoning the world is experiencing, and the divisive political rancor, how do we redefine and rebuild inclusive communities for all people? The Creating Change Network is a strategic and collaborative partner in promoting racial healing and relationship building throughout the New Jersey arts community.”

“The National Day of Racial Healing is a critical platform enabling individuals and organizations across the country to participate in the recognition that awareness and action are imperative to healing our nation's racial crisis. This opportunity for our arts community to participate, supports our goal of creating change and moving this conversation forward to transform our workplace and how we engage with each other,” says Donna Walker-Kuhne, Senior Advisor, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Chair of the Creating Change Steering Committee.

New Jersey Arts Events for the 2023 National Day of Racial Healing include:

Standing in Solidarity Series
JAN 3, 2023 – JAN 24, 2023 | WEBCAST
NJPAC in partnership with PSEG produces a social justice series that is part of its “Standing in Solidarity” initiative developed after the murder of George Floyd. The purpose of this series is to bring our community together and to encourage everyone to take part in transforming our landscape to build an anti-discriminatory culture in our arts sectors and to encourage everyone to take part in the movement to ensure civil rights for all. They have held 35 webcasts, the recordings of which are available on YouTube.

Culturally Responsive Arts Education (CRAE) Workout and Conversations
JAN 16, 2023 – MAR 10, 2023 | VIDEO CONFERENCE
An eight-week curated experience that focuses on developing the capacity of educators and others to think about how culturally relevant and responsive approaches can shift to more effectively represent and validate all students’ cultures and lived experiences. Kicks off on January 16.

RUST Documentary Film Discussion With Filmmakers Marylou & Jerome Bongiorno and NJIT Students
JAN 17, 2023 | WEBCAST
Emmy-nominated, award-winning, Newark, NJ-based filmmakers Marylou & Jerome Bongiorno invite all to a dialogue about their documentary film, “RUST,” via a virtual live-streamed discussion with Dr. Jon Curley's NJIT "Newark Narratives" students.

Just ADD Sound
JAN 19, 2023 | WEBCAST
Just ADD Sound Radio (#JASradio) exists to connect artists, poets, lyricists, spoken word artists, performers, and musicians in an environment that is conducive to dialogue and connection. Through interviews, performances and a Q&A, Just ADD Sound explores “Redefining and Rebuilding Community” related to race and racism.

The landscape of healthcare is changing rapidly, both in terms of patients and psychiatric caregivers and involving the coming together of diverse cultures. “Smoke” is a full-length play about Alana Phillips, a young White girl who enters a psychiatric institution burdened with her brash, angry, manipulative, and racist feelings. She encounters her newfound caregivers of recent African descent, who carry their own preconceived notions of patients diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses. Both Alana and her caregivers struggle to work on a unit and in an institution that has failed to address the cultural shifts it is undergoing. Regardless, as sometimes faulty as it is, the staff work to treat Alana, as she works to maintain her independence, defiantly smoking cigarettes whenever she can get one and however she can get them. Despite the differences they have, unintentional bonds are formed between Alana and the staff caring for her that create a healing process for each of them. The goal of SMOKE is to highlight the often not seen healing that takes place.

Grief Love: A Theatrical Performance
Artist-scholar Shanaé Burch (she/her) teams up with Director-dramaturg Des Bennett (they/them) to co-conceive a solo performance project as an artistic component of her dissertation in order to document coming to understand life and Black creativity in juxtaposition to premature death.

Untold Stories of Storied People
Powerful untold stories by the troupe of BIPOC storytellers share the full range of the human condition in their stories. Themes of social justice, collective liberation, and activism are explored openly through post-performance dialogue with audience members.

Flower From Resilience
This art workshop invites those impacted by racism, discrimination, prejudice or violence to explore intersectional identities to create art from the lived experience of resilience, healing and methods of support. With guided drawing and collage, a resilience flower will be created and shared as a mutual aid garden. This is an opportunity to share experiences and resources in a safe space. Facilitated discussion will focus on what resilience means.

Back to the Woods
JAN 22, 2023 | WEBCAST
Togetherness and empathy heal our pain faster than any medicine. In today’s globally connected village, diversity is a blessing. However, our kids increasingly retract within their own digital bubbles. They learn to judge people by so many parameters but forget to accept them as their own reflections. It’s time to take our kids back to the woods where they can stand together holding each other’s hands and learn from this ancient ‘teacher.’

Feel The Beat! African Dance & Drum & More
The Center for Modern Dance will present a hybrid (live-stream and in-person) African Dance & Drum class and short performance.

Redefining & Building Community Within Ourselves
In this generative poetry workshop, participants will learn more about themselves by asking pointed questions about certain core moments in their environments through the use of the "shadow work" journaling technique. These questions will correspond directly with a lesson on a poem about community and an opportunity for participants to write about their own.

About the Creating Change Network
The Creating Change Network is a collaboration between New Jersey Theatre Alliance and ArtPride New Jersey, the state’s two largest arts service organizations, with a mission to build a more equitable, just, accessible and anti-racist arts community in New Jersey. Guided by a steering committee of arts professionals and social justice leaders, the Creating Change Network offers ongoing opportunities for learning and collaboration to move the arts sector forward. The Creating Change Network is committed to the long-term endeavor of shifting culture, empowering leaders, sharing strategies, ensuring accountability, and sustaining hope so that individuals and organizations can progress in this work. The Creating Change Network was launched in April 2021 with the virtual conference “Creating Change: Moving Towards Equity, Justice, and Anti-Racism in the New Jersey Arts Community,” which was attended by over 550 arts leaders in the state. The activities of the Creating Change Network are supported by the Grunin Foundation.

About New Jersey Theatre Alliance
Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, and contributions from numerous individuals, corporations and foundations including Amazon, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Grunin Foundation, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Bank of America, City National Bank, The Shubert Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The F.M. Kirby Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The Union Foundation and OceanFirst Foundation

About the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation
The ArtPride New Jersey Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes the value of the arts to New Jersey’s quality of life, education, and economic vitality through research and a variety of programs and services. For more information about ArtPride, visit

About the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA)
The School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) is consistently ranked as a top school for public management and leadership, as well as nonprofit management and urban policy, by U.S. News & World Report, and is recognized as one of the world’s leading research institutions in public administration in the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) compiled by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. Guided by the principles of Knowledge, Competence, Diversity, Service, and Ethics – and with an emphasis on evidence-based approaches to the effective and equitable implementation of public policy – Rutgers SPAA promotes accountability, transparency, and performance in the public and nonprofit sectors. The School of Public Affairs and Administration offers a variety of innovative, world-class degree programs – Public and Nonprofit Administration (BA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), Executive MPA, and PhD – as well as a complement of professional and graduate certificate programs.

Media contact
Cassie Galasetti – 732.822.9861 or