NEW BRUNSWICK — Your next stroll through town, or nearby Highland Park, may help you focus on the good in this world, rather than the bad that bombards us daily.

At least that's the goal of a month-long art project launching Monday — a product of the New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and the Highland Park Arts Commission.

More than two dozen storefront windows now feature works of art designed to shine a light on local organizations that work tirelessly addressing social justice issues, but rarely make headlines.

"The objective here is to really build a creative community-based response to the hate and negativity that's being perpetuated in the media landscape," said Cassandra Oliveras-Moreno, co-founder of the "Windows of Understanding" initiative and administrator for communications and collaboration at Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Oliveras-Moreno said she was inspired by last summer's violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. to develop this project, which features the tagline "We See through Hate."

"Windows of Understanding" art by the New Brunswick Middle School Art Club
"Windows of Understanding" art by the New Brunswick Middle School Art Club (Photo submitted by Windows of Understanding)

More than 25 nonprofits have been paired with an artist facilitator to create original work related to current issues including cultural identity, homelessness, faith-based initiatives, food insecurity and environmental conservation.

Passersby can view the art along Church, George and French streets in New Brunswick, as well as along Raritan Avenue in Highland Park, according to the office of New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill.

“Windows of Understanding utilizes the ingenuity of talented local artists to further promote the values of our dedicated community organizations,” Cahill said in a news release. “The arts serve as the heart and soul of our community and this innovative project will continue to promote vibrancy, creative thought and community building in our city.”

Every work of art is accompanied by the initiative's tagline, along with a description by the artist and the mission statement of the associated organization.

The art is on display through Feb. 15. Its Jan. 15 start date pays tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

"We just hope that people will take a minute out of their day, out of their week, to sample a little understanding," Oliveras-Moreno said.

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