Joyce Hagen: Promoting the Arts

Joyce Hagen

Believing that art can provide an avenue to aid in the revitalization of Atlantic City, Executive Director Joyce Hagen and her cohorts at the Atlantic City Arts Foundation aim to foster a fertile and expansive arts movement in the city.

“The mission of the ACAF is to create an environment in which the arts can flourish in the city. We have the ballet and symphony, but there wasn’t an organization that tended to the broad field of art.”

Foundation events have included Chalk About AC and Arteriors, where invited artists created temporary installations in outdoor spaces and vacant buildings, but the masterpiece of efforts was 48 Blocks, this past summer’s city-wide art initiative spearheaded by Joyce and Lisa Honaker of Stockton University.

“48 Blocks is an organic development that grew from Chalk About AC and our Arteriors program. Chalk About AC got the whole city involved, and we took artists who were involved in Arteriors and put them all over the city for the Saturday event.”

Besides the input of professional artists, residents across the city contributed to 96 installations in the six wards that featured music, poetry, dancing, murals, chair painting, yoga, martial arts, and yarn bombing

“I believe everybody has creative skills. It’s great when residents around here can find a way to express themselves. It’s for anybody who has a creative talent they want to share. And we mean that very broadly. It can include culinary or anything you do that’s creative.”

Because of the extensive participation in 2017, people had difficulty visiting all the installations. So, the 2018 event expands to 48 Hours of 48 Blocks as ACAF strives to enrich the quality of AC life through the art of its citizens.

-John “Yonk” Rosnick