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  • Writer's pictureMonmouth Arts

Signs of Hope: Using art to create positive messages in Asbury Park

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

By Connie Isbell, Membership & Community Engagement Director, Monmouth Arts

Signs of positive messages, painted by youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Asbury Park
Signs of positive messages, painted by youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Asbury Park

Monmouth Arts worked with the Boys & Girls Club of Asbury Park this spring on a “Signs of Hope” program, which included visual and performing arts instruction and activities. As part of the weekly program, students identified negative signs in their community and then created signs with alternative, positive messages that they’d like to see, such as “Dream Big,” “Welcome,” and “Be Confident.” The signs of positive messages they created were installed on the lawn outside of the Boys & Girls Club building and will continue to be presented in public spaces such as the Kula Farm community garden and Springwood Park.

Throughout the ten-week program at the Club, Monmouth Arts staff and instructors led a number of additional art activities. The Club’s tweens participated in an improvisation class, and older teens in the Club’s Hip Hop Institute produced a theme song for the program. All students and staff were part of collaborative art project led by Tim Kelly of the Puzzle Art Project, in which participants painted and decorated 100 large puzzle pieces that are now assembled and displayed at the Club. Portions of the 30-foot installation may also be displayed at indoor locations throughout Asbury Park.

The Signs of Hope was generously funded by a grant from The Mary Owen Borden Foundation, which has been a supporter of the organization’s community outreach efforts. The project was a collaboration between the Boys & Girls Club of Asbury Park and Monmouth Arts. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County empowers all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Monmouth Arts is a leading, nonprofit arts advocacy organization that delivers needed programs and services to communities, artists, member organizations, and art affiliates to ensure the arts thrive in every corner of Monmouth County.

Monmouth Arts would like to thank Daniel Rivera, Unit Director of the Boys & Girls Club, and his team for their support and enthusiasm. Thanks also to Tim Kelly and his Puzzle Art Project and Eric Shandroff of Lakehouse Music Academy's Hip Hop Institute for his work on the Signs of Hope song.

For more information or to inquire about hosting the signs, please email Connie Isbell, Monmouth Arts’ Community Engagement Director, at

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