Community Projects – Fun and Fulfilling!
What better time to get outdoors and do something fun with your friends and family? There are many exciting community projects happening around Toms River and Ocean County right now. Whether you like art, gardening or helping to clean a park or beach, there is something for everyone going on right in our own neighborhoods!
#TomsRiverRocks! – this was introduced to the Toms River community by Robyn Albanese, English teacher at Toms River High School North, and has taken off in recent months and continuous to grow. #TomsRiverRocks! is a group on Facebook with over 1,600 members.
Robyn said, “The concept is rather simple: our main objective is to remind everyone how great it is to live in a diverse community of friendly, talented, and creative residents! We will do this by painting, hiding, and finding artistic creations that will not only beautify the Township of Toms River, but also encourage community involvement and camaraderie. With each new brightly colored rock, we are reminded that #TomsRiverRocks! Residents can get involved by joining the ever-growing #TomsRiverRocks group on Facebook. Once a member accesses the page, he or she can click on the pinned post at the top of the page to read more about all the details of the project (where to find supplies, where to hide rocks, what to do with found rocks, etc). Local businesses are urged to participate, too, as I have recently launched an #IncentivesRock project within the group. Entrepreneurs can use the group to advertise and market themselves through a series of hand-painted incentive rocks. Anyone looking for more information on this can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an all ages project and not targeted to one specific group. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this activity is that anyone is welcome to participate; and Toms River residents can do so at absolutely no cost, as it is free to hunt for painted rocks! All I ask is that members actively post in the group so that we can all appreciate the magic of this project and inspire one another through creativity and kindness!”
You can find the Facebook group here: #TomsRiverRocks!
Toms River Moving Forward, founded February 14th, 2014, is a local community group engaging permaculture and community through environmental cleanups, free food community gardening, mycology, workshops, arts, education, events, and community-building activities. Vee Tierney and Evan Kingsley, Community Organizers and Co-Founders said, “Our goal is to inspire, educate and encourage sustainable and regenerative environmental relationships between the people, their culture, and locally grown food. Since 2014, we have been actively working to improve and build our community from a variety of different angles – and we hope to inspire your involvement!”
Everyone is welcome to participate and Toms River Moving Forward would like to reach out to as many group and individuals as possible. To find out exactly how you can get involved, check out the Get Involved section of their website.
This project is the design and concept of artist, Yvonne Yaar and is located on a wall in Downtown Toms River at 218 Main Street.
Yvonne said, “I’m very excited about the progress I’m making on the wave mosaic addition to Barnegat Bronte and plan to complete it by the end of August or beginning of September. Some of the fused glass fish that will be in the wave, were made by art teachers of the Toms River School System. More fused glass fish were made by a few employees from the Downtown Toms River Business Improvement District and Ocean County government. Ceramic tiles made by Intermediate South and Donovan Catholic students will also be included into the wave. When I am working at the wall on 218 Main Street, I have had many folks who were passing by, stop and talk with me about the project. Some of them have added a tile to the wall! I meet all sorts of interesting people and I love that they are excited about public art. Yesterday, I met a retired librarian and the day before that, I met a carpenter and his three children. For me, the only thing more fun than making art, is making art with other people!”
The mosaic wave addition for Barnegat Bronte is moving along at a pretty good pace! If you are interested in helping, please check out the Barnegat Bronte Facebook page and send Yvonne a message or email at YaarArt@gmail.com.
Paint The Town 2017 – this community project is just one aspect of this year’s effort to improve the quality of life in Toms River. Marshall Kern, Chair of the Community Art Project said, “The Toms River Business Improvement District is partnering with local artists and businesses between Memorial Day and Labor Day. We are matching artists and businesses so that we can “Paint The Town” with art for the benefit of our Community.”
There are more than 18 artists in 13 different venues. Come out and see the beautiful work while you shop! Check out this map of participating businesses/artists. More information on the happenings in Downtown Toms River can be found on their website at https://www.downtowntomsriver.com/.