Foundation Opens October With Arts and Humanities Month Community Invited to See Public Artwork, Flood Theater, in Oradell

Clubs and Organizations

October 3, 2023

From: The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF)

Hackensack, New Jersey – During October, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF)-ArtsBergen joins arts organizations and communities nationwide in celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month.  The NNJCF-ArtsBergen initiative encourages members of the community to see public artwork in their area.  National Arts and Humanities Month, coordinated by Americans for the Arts, is a month-long celebration that grew out of National Arts Week and was started in 1985 by the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts.

During National Arts and Humanities Month, the NNJCF-ArtsBergen invites people to Flood Theater, a community-inspired temporary public artwork installation raising awareness about flooding along the Hackensack River.  Flood Theater, designed and created by artist Juliacks, is on display now through November 21, 2023 at the field next to the Oradell Train Station, located at 400 Maple Avenue in Oradell, New Jersey.  This public artwork commemorates and explores the devastating impact of floods along the Hackensack River in Oradell, New Milford, and nearby municipalities, while also raising awareness about strategies to use to address future flooding and climate change.  

Residents Involved in Flood Theater's Creation

Artist Juliacks' new work features the sculpture – Sad House – and large paper dolls of Eagle-Humans, both inspired by 19th century paper theaters, American storytelling quilts, and mythology.  She incorporated community members' stories and artwork created previously at a public workshop into the artwork.  Participants created paper cut applique patterns that together tell a story about the flooding.  These paper-cut patterns were incorporated into a design on the roof of the Sad House sculpture.

Taking a cue from comics, community members also created word-collages operating as voice balloons for the Eagle-Human figures on the Flood Theater stage.  These word collages, similar to a word poll, highlighted community members' feelings and thoughts about the impact of flooding in Oradell and New Milford.  Ultimately, their contributions became a part of this public artwork.

More Flooding Coming

Flood Theater compels viewers to consider that more flooding is imminent.  This artwork asks viewers to imagine themselves in the future confronted by a flood.  They are prompted to consider solutions and methods to use to prepare for and prevent future flooding.

The central ‘set’ of Flood Theater, “The Sad House”, shows the building crying on one side because of flooding.  In 2007, the historic Demarest House of New Milford, which was affected by a flood, received significant damage to the house and many historical artifacts.  The other side of the house shows reflections from the community about past flooding, as well as solutions to prevent damage from future flooding.

The artist uses the Bald Eagles in her artwork, as a symbol of environmental renewal.  The bird-human hybrid creatures reflected in the paper dolls emanate from many folklore traditions worldwide. These magical beings often provide both protective and destructive qualities.  The Eagle-Human paper characters are actors on the Flood Theater set capable of both terrific, terrible choices.

For more information about resources and action the public can do to deal with prospective flooding, visit https://www.nnjcf.org/flood-art/

25 Years in the Community

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the NNJCF, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on the environment, arts and culture, public health, education, civic engagement and philanthropy.  The Foundation was one of only five organizations in the Garden State selected to receive a grant co-sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts pairing artists specializing in environmental topics to create art installations in specific sites in the state's coastal zone.  This artwork is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New Jersey Coastal Management Program, Department of Environmental Protection – in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

About Northern New Jersey Community Foundation

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.  For more information, visit www.nnjcf.org, send an email to [email protected], or call 201-568-5608.


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. For more information about the ArtsBergen initiative, visit www.nnjcf.org/artsbergen/.