“A Wish Upon 1000 Cranes: A Tribute for Racial Justice” is a project launched by NJYAA that aims to honor those who have suffered from racial injustice in the United States. The finished project is a sculpture of a willow tree with strings of cranes hanging from the branches.
In Japanese culture, the crane represents hope and healing during challenging times. Our local community collectively folded 1000+ origami cranes (senbazuru) to fulfill our wish of racial equality and help victims of racial injustice to heal. The willow tree, which was constructed from many individual wires twisted together, represents learning, growth, and harmony. The linked wires make the tree stronger and sturdier; likewise, we strengthen the connections within our community by unifying different racial and religious groups. At the base of this tree are large, aged rocks made of newspaper. The rocks symbolize how the racial justice movement is deep-rooted and not simply a contemporary issue, while the newspaper reinforces this idea as it is a physical embodiment of history. Through this component, we remind the audience of this movement's history and of all the people who have made sacrifices for it, not only the ones we are aware of today due to the media, but also those who have passed away quietly---without justice, with no press coverage and no social media exposure.
With this memorial project, we aspire to bring the community together and send a message of hope and healing to all during this time of immense social turmoil. However, we want to be clear that our message of “healing” does not mean forgetting or being complacent with the current situation. We believe that true healing will only come by first reaching a common understanding of the racial injustice in our society that has claimed the lives of countless victims, and then uniting together to fix the flaws in the system that has resulted in these normalized social wrongs. That is what this project is about---remembering the past in order to grow stronger and work together for a better future.
NJYAA is holding an exhibition for "A Wish Upon 1000 Cranes: A Tribute for Racial Justice" throughout the month of October at the NJYAA gallery! Entry is free to the public.
Opening Dates and Times:
NJYAA Gallery (INDOOR EXHIBIT)
1143 Route 601, Suite B, Skillman, NJ 08558
What will be Displayed:
Written by Jordan Spector
On Thursday, August 30th, the New Jersey Young Artists Association (NJYAA) hosted an event at the Raritan Public Library. Members of this student led organization shared their creativity and artistic talent by encouraging young children to draw and paint.
At three o'clock excitement filled the air as children varying from ages four through ten settled into the building alongside their parents; they picked a seat and chose from a wide selection of their favorite cartoons to draw from. Talented and attentive members of the NJYAA taught the children along the way. As euphoria spread across the room, members alongside the attendees all experienced the magic of art and the joy of teaching it to others.
The children explored their inner-artist using different mediums such as water soluble pastels and graphite pencils and each child went home with their very own drawings. Additionally, everyone who attended left with wide smiles on their faces.
When asked to describe something about the event, member Chris Shen remarked that he “...had a lot of fun working with the kids and [is] happy that they learned a lot.” Event coordinator and junior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Alice Yang, agreed, stating she was “...glad the event was so successful and the kids were so engaged!”
Overall, the event was wonderfully memorable and the NJYAA looks forward to continuing to make a difference in people of all ages. This non-profit organization is proof that a large impact can be made without having to even leave your state and hopes to lead the way to a brighter, colorful, art-filled future.
March 24, 2016 - Montgomery Senior Center
August 14, 2017 - Basking Ridge Senior Center
October 2020 - A Wish Upon 1000 Cranes: A Tribute for Racial Justice
September 1, 2017 - Bridgewater Senior Center
When the young artists from NJYAA visited Basking Ridge for the second time, they brought a new interactive activity. Together, the senior citizens and artists shared stories while painting their hands to create a "Tree of Life". The final creation is now hanging in the wellness center.
On Wednesday, August 17, the New Jersey Young Artists Association visited the Manville Senior Center to present and speak about their artwork. Artists who attended this event include Shannon Lu, Rebecca Zheng, Cathy Yang, and Nicole Zhu. Seniors enjoyed walking around and observing the various different paintings and sketches in ink, gouache, watercolor, and oil. It was a great experience for all individuals who came. Thank you so much for having us, Manville!
I N F O & N E W S
April 28, 2019 - Priceton downtown
August 14, 2019 - Bridgewater Senior Center
After hours of planning and preparing, the New Jersey Young Artists Association visited the Montgomery Senior Center with over twenty pieces of artwork on December 29, 2014. The senior citizens were able to walk around and talk to each artist, sharing stories and discussing each painting or drawing. It was a great experience, especially during the holiday season. Artists featured include: Annie Huang, Jenny Huang, Joanna Li, Shannon Lu, Megan Luo Michael Shen, Cathy Yang, Rebecca Zheng, and Nicole Zhu. Thank you Ms. Crowley for having us!
December 29, 2014 - Montgomery Senior Center Visit
On Monday, August 29th, the New Jersey Young Artists Association visited the newly constructed Senior Wellness Center at Bridgewater to present its artwork to the residing seniors in a 9 panel display. Artists who attended this event include: Jenny Huang, Annie Huang, Rebecca Zheng, Anushka Radadia, and event director Michael Shen. The seniors enjoyed the various pieces done in ink, gouache, watercolor, and oil, and many expressed surprise that the artists, despite their young ages, were so talented. A few seniors even started a game trying to guess the subject of a portrait of a famous actor in the display. It was a great experience for all in attendance. We can’t wait for next year’s visit.
The members of New Jersey Young Artists Association kicked off the summer by sharing their artistic skills with the community in two exciting interactive programs! Hosted by the president, Evelyn Shiang, the group of young artists visited Paradise Adult Medical Daycare on Thursday, June 28th and Forever Young Adult Medical Daycare on Friday, June 29th. At each facility, the members engaged the seniors with a quick lesson on watercolor landscapes and proceeded to give them one-on-one guidance as they created their own pieces. The seniors were very enthusiastic, and the NJYAA members were delighted to see many of them gain confidence through their art. The result was a beautiful collection of watercolor landscapes painted by the seniors. NJYAA had a great experience using their artistic skills to teach the seniors of Paradise and Forever Young - we can’t wait to visit again soon!
August 1, 2016 - Basking Ridge Senior Wellness Center
June 28th, 2018 - Paradise Adult Medical Daycare
June 29th, 2018 - Forever Young Adult Medical Daycare
July 24, 2015 - Somerset Senior Wellness Center Event
On April 28, 2019, the 49th Communiversity ArtsFest was held in downtown Princeton, NJ. Communiversity annually features over 225 booths showcasing original art and contemporary crafts, unique merchandise, dedicated organizations, a wide variety of food, and six stages of continuous live entertainment. The New Jersey Young Artists Association was very proud to be a part of it. Our association had so much fun connecting with hundreds of people and other artistic and fun booths at Central New Jersey’s largest and longest running cultural event.
Increasing our visibility at such a great opportunity created lots of experience for our members and helped us complete our mission: Members will learn about art and develop valuable
leadership skills all while using their artistic abilities to give back to their community in a welcoming and creative environment. Our goals include establishing a group of passionate and determined young artists who want to improve their skills as well as help others.
Our Chairman, Jeff Zhou, spent tremendous time and effort behind the scenes to make sure this event to be succeeded. He also donated hundreds of beautiful CaPantzzi women's sun hats with decorative bands for the event to give to the public. Many kids came to sit down and draw with our members, and others came and talked with our members while receiving a high quality hat. We discussed our mission as a non-profit organization and received more than $550 that afternoon. Our members learned how to interact with other adults, children, and how to organize such events, all skills not learned in a typical learning environment, from this singular event. Special thanks to Evelyn Shiang (our former president who initiated, contacted organizer of ArtFest, obtained a free booth), Anushka Radadia (our president), Chris Shen (the coordinator of the event), and for setting up this event. Another special thanks to everyone else who participated in the making and execution of this event: Jonathan, Karen, Stephanie, Nicole, Emily, Meredith, Jennifer, Shirley, and myself. This event was a complete success!
Written by Alice Yang
September 2, 2016 - Hillsborough Senior Center
August 29, 2016 - Bridgewater Senior Wellness Center
On August 2nd, the members of NJYAA hosted an art event at the Hillsborough Senior Center. Being the second time NJYAA has hosted an event at the Hillsborough Senior Center, instead of hosting an art exhibition again, NJYAA members decided to create an collaborative hand painting with the seniors this time. Young artists and enthusiastic seniors together created the vibrant flower hand painting that will be on display on the walls of the senior center.
Thank you CaPantzzi for sponsoring our event and giving us floppy hats! Thank you to Mrs. Grieco for having us!
On July 24th, the non-profit organization New Jersey Young Artists Association gathered at the Somerset County Senior Wellness Center in Basking Ridge, collaborating with director Kristin Grieco in order to display artwork in the spirit of inspiring seniors through creative expression.
Six Young Artists stood before their framed masterpieces in the warmly-lit room. The art exhibit was hosted by Rebecca Zheng, a rising eleventh grader, and Cathy Yang, a rising tenth grader. Other Young Artists included Shannon Lu, Grace He, Grace Wang, and Angela Wang.
The July exhibition lasted for an hour as intrigued seniors walked around to look at various pieces of art and chat with the artists, all high-schoolers, about the processes of translating artistic talent onto the canvas. Interactions between the artists and elders ranged from a question-and-answer session on watercolor techniques to discussions on the symbolism within a self-portrait, with both parties animatedly engaged in conversation.
Some elders began to reminisce about their own personal connection to art. “I think something like this could benefit both the young and the elderly,” explained Fran O’Brien, one of the seniors who had come in specifically to visit the exhibit. She later elaborated on how the Young Artists’ exhibit ignited a spark in her and brought back important past memories, stating, “I used to paint in my college and high school classes--and I’d just get carried away, lost in the art.” Another senior, Simone Wittmann, fondly recalled working in her own personal art studio in New York.
As the exhibit came to a close, many seniors came forward to give positive feedback on the artwork and thank the artists. In preparation for the conclusion of the exhibition, the artist association distributed hats, courtesy of their sponsor CaPantzzi, as gifts to the delighted seniors. Reflecting on the overall successful outcome of the July exhibit, Shannon Lu, one of the artists, remarked, “I think the senior citizens this time around were really open-minded. They asked a lot of questions and were genuinely interested in art.”
The July 24th exhibit event at the Somerset County Senior Wellness Center is one of the many events organized by the New Jersey Young Artists Association. The mission of the organization, started in 2014, is to enable artists to realize their full potential and contribute to the local community. Over the past year, NJYAA has brought art exhibitions to multiple senior centers and currently has plans to work with local hospitals.
'Spreading Smiles Through Art'
August 30, 2018 - Raritan Public Library
August 17, 2015 - Manville Senior Center