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In Nov. 2021 after ten years of our evolving mission and impact, we changed our name to Gathering Ground. You may still find reference to our old name Creative New Jersey in posts created prior to Nov. 2021.

Creativity is Going Green!

Originally posted on the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Blog.

Earlier this month, ArtPride NJ hosted their annual Arts Day conference and the morning session focused on presentations highlighting Sustainable Jersey’s new Arts & Creativity Actions.  These presentations drew an audience of not only artists and arts leaders but also individuals from local government and municipal Green Teams.

In my opinion, this is a watershed moment for the arts in New Jersey as they are now included in Sustainable Jersey’s acclaimed certification program for municipalities that want to “go green”, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.  The two new Arts & Creativity Actions are: 1) Establishing a Creative Team, and 2) Conducting A Creative Assets Inventory.  In the coming months, my colleagues and I on Sustainable Jersey’s Arts Task Force are developing a third action which focuses on Creative Placemaking.

A three-hour Open Space Meeting occurred during the second half of Arts Day and the central theme question for the sessions was “How can the arts in New Jersey take new and creative approaches to strengthen its position within the fabric of community life?” There was a palpable energy in the room as these discussions took place and we know this is just the beginning of deliberating on creative sustainable solutions to our important arts and culture sector.

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Lastly, many of our readers are involved with another regional collaboration: Together North Jersey – a $10 million planning initiative currently underway in the 13-county region of northern NJ.  The plan’s leaders state the outcome of plan implementation will be a more sustainable future for the region that invests in existing communities where housing, jobs, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities are made more easily accessible.

I know there are many more examples of creative partnerships at work throughout our 21 counties.  For several years, our Creative New Jersey founders and steering committee members have been championing the power of creativity coupled with cross-sector collaboration and we are thrilled to see this movement taking hold.  This is the nucleus of our mission and our work in communities creates a landscape for creativity, innovation and multi-disciplined collaboration to flourish.  We believe in the power of leveraging the best of what each of us has to offer and we are committed to fostering opportunities to achieve sustainable collective impact.  And the four years I recently spent living in Ireland taught me that there are many shades of green….so long may creativity and sustainability flourish in an array of endless hues.

Elizabeth Murphy is the part-time Director of Creative New Jersey.  She also currently consults with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers providing coordination of the Post-Sandy Philanthropic Response in NJ.

Creative New Jersey is dedicated to fostering creativity, innovation, and sustainability by empowering cross-sector partnerships in commerce, education, philanthropy, government, and culture in order to ensure dynamic communities and a thriving economy.



“Attending Asbury Park’s Call to Collaboration was my launch for my girl-centered mentoring program. It was an informative and educational experience that I will forever value. I appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with community members from all walks of life.”

– Angela Ahbez-Anderson – Board Member & four-term President, Asbury Park School District (Asbury Park)