A new mural that illustrates Highland Park’s legacy of being a welcoming community is nearly complete at 75 Raritan Ave., on display for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike as they ascend into downtown Highland Park.
“Home Is Where We Make It,” designed and installed by Amrisa Niranjan, was facilitated and produced by coLAB Arts and created through community conversations with local stakeholders, including refugee and asylee support organization Interfaith RISE and the local refugee community, Black Community Watchline, and with support from Main Street Highland Park and the Highland Park Arts Commission.
“It means you are welcome to create a home here and ‘we’ the community will support you making your home here with us,” said Niranjana.
The opportunity for the mural came through The Shelter Project, a collaboration between Rutgers University’s Public History program and the Center for Cultural Analysis, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Reformed Church of Highland Park-Affordable Housing Corporation, and coLAB Arts, with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation.
The Shelter Project was able to make emergency funds immediately available for RCHP-AHC in the early days of the pandemic to provide housing and services for their many constituents, and has since been documenting the experiences of those supported through oral history, creative interventions, and a podcast with a goal towards developing best practices for integrating academic research and classroom facilitation with community service. More information is available at www.shelternj.org.
The Shelter team includes Colin Jager, Nathan Jérémie-Brink, Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, and Dan Swern.
Organizers thanked Keissler Wong, Rebecca Hersh, Wendy Jager, and Reverend Antoinette Gaboton-Moss, and John Marron for their additional support and participation.