Our Story

Launched as an initiative of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in 2009, a steering committee of arts and education leaders convened to implement two Dodge grants focused on developing a creativity initiative. The early years of Creative NJ focused on researching the national creativity movement, building cross-sector connections, and finding the best convening mechanism to explore how creativity and innovation can help build a more sustainable New Jersey. In June 2011, Creative NJ hosted a two-day statewide Creativity Call to Collaboration using Open Space Technology—an internationally recognized approach developed by Harrison Owen for bringing diverse groups together to explore important community questions (watch Harrison Owen’s Tedx Talk held right here in New Jersey in November 2013).

The inaugural convening attracted 150 leaders from multiple sectors to explore the question: “How can creativity and innovation revitalize New Jersey?” and highlighted the groundswell of support for a movement that fosters creativity, innovation and sustainability. The success of this initial Call to Collaboration, led to the expansion of the Steering Committee and the development of a strategy for bringing our approach into communities throughout New Jersey.

Since that initial Call to Collaboration, Creative New Jersey has worked in multiple cities, towns, counties and regions throughout our state, and municipalities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Every year, Creative New Jersey holds a Statewide Convening for our Creative Communities to connect with each other. We are a learning community, and continue to develop and refine our model to be of greatest service to our communities. Our “Start-Up Years” Report provides a snapshot of where we’ve been.