Orange NJ: A Model for the Future. MoMA joins local nonprofit HANDS in recognizing a bright future

HANDS, an Orange based nonprofit, has long envisioned a bright future for Orange and has steadily turned around vacant properties for 25 years. In recent years HANDS has been the catalyst for an Arts District in the Valley of Orange and West Orange,
 
 
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Oct. 26, 2011 - PRLog -- Why is one small city in the downtrodden suburban ring of North Jersey so optimistic? At a time when foreclosures are up, unemployment is high and the low income population seems forgotten, Orange is a city looking to the future.  
Officials, business owners and residents of Orange are trying on the words “model city” the way people in this once industrial town tried on the hats that were manufactured here.  But a drive through the town only hints at what the optimism is all about.  Orange is a work in progress.
HANDS, an Orange based nonprofit, has long envisioned a bright future for Orange and has steadily turned around vacant properties for 25 years.  In recent years HANDS has been the catalyst for a new Arts District created in the Valley of Orange and West Orange, with important new tenants like Luna Stage, a theatre that moved from Montclair, and the highly rated Hat City Kitchen, a restaurant created to provide financial support to the Arts District.
HANDS envisions Orange as the urban village of the 21st century, “a just and beautiful city,” according to Founder and Director Patrick Morrissy.  The nonprofit’s creation of affordable live/work spaces has attracted artists, further stimulating growth and development.  Now, a world-renowned arts organization has validated HANDS vision.  The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has selected Orange; the only one of the five cities chosen that is on the east coast, to be part of “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream,” an exhibition opening in January 2012 that examines possibilities for American cities and suburbs.
The momentum and optimism are attracting the interest of neighboring towns. A Show of HANDS, a weekly one-hour walking tour of the Valley Arts District, draws primarily South Orange, Maplewood and West Orange residents curious about the vibrancy they are seeing.  Residents, scholars, corporate and government representatives will gather as part of HANDS 25th anniversary events on November 1 that includes a bus tour and a symposium entitled .Toward a Just and Beautiful City, which will reflect on the past and shed light on the future.

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About HANDS
HANDS targets the most pivotal problem properties, engaging citizens and stakeholders, and leveraging investments of time and funds, to create long-term sustainable neighborhood change. Since 1986, HANDS, a nonprofit corporation, has implemented neighborhood revitalization efforts in the cities of Orange and East Orange, New Jersey. HANDS focuses on redeveloping vacant homes for affordable homeownership, adaptively reusing deteriorated former industrial and commercial buildings as mixed-use developments, cultivating resident leaders and guiding visioning and planning. HANDS serves as a national model for its high-impact redevelopment initiatives. 2011 marks HANDS' 25th year of serving the community. HANDS is a chartered affiliate of NeighborWorks® America.
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Source:Merle Benny, Thinc.
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Tags:Orange, Hands, Moma, Suburbs, Arts District
Industry:Real Estate, Non-profit, Arts
Location:orange - New Jersey - United States
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