Camp Liberty is in the News!
New documentary will focus on how one man used the arts to create a community in Jersey City
By David Mosca | The Jersey Journal
Local artists Dina Bruno Ciborowski and Dr. Robert Albrecht will debut their new documentary, “Man on a Mission,” which celebrates the life of Jersey City community artist and educator Carmine Tabone, at New Jersey City University on Thursday, April 27, at 4 p.m. in Fries Hall.
Tabone was the founder and director of the Educational Arts Team and Camp Liberty. His life has been dedicated to using the arts as a way of building community and engaging young people in learning experiences. He retired in 2021 after nearly a half century of serving the Jersey City youth.
Tabone had a philosophy that, rather than being the exclusive talent of the gifted few, the arts should be a way for healthy communities to form and prosper, according to a press release from New Jersey City University about the film. Tabone was quoted in an interview in which he said, “We all desperately need to have purpose and community, and community-based arts creates participants in the arts, not just passive consumers of the arts.”
Tabone was the grandson of immigrants from Sicily and grew up in a tenement and then a housing project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge. After spending time organizing his New York neighborhood, he moved to Jersey City in 1974 to run a youth program. With growing ethnic conflicts taking place in Jersey City high schools, he began to bring together adolescents from different neighborhoods to do drama workshops that soon evolved into plays such as “Orpheus” and “Super Roach.”
Ciborowski and Albrecht where able to complete their documentary thanks to a grant from the Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund. New Jersey City University’s Media Arts Department also contributed by providing technical guidance for the film as well as its equipment and facilities.
Following the premiere at NJCU on April 27, “Man on a Mission” will be screened at the Miller Branch of the Jersey Free Public Library, 489 Bergen Ave., Jersey City, on Thursday, May 18, at 6 p.m. and the Five Corners Branch, 678 Newark Ave., Jersey City, on Saturday, June 3, at 2 p.m. The screenings are sponsored by the Community Awareness Series of the Jersey City Free Public Library.
The video will also be shown as part of the international convention of the Media Ecology Association at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus on June 23. Admission is free at all Jersey City showings and the locations are wheelchair accessible. The video has subtitles for those who are hearing impaired.
Educational Arts Team Expands its Donor Base with $15,000 Grant from Provident Bank Foundation
JERSEY CITY, NJ, December 9, 2022 – Educational Arts Team (EdArts), a non-profit organization leading the way in arts-based integration programs for young people in schools and communities in Hudson, Bergen, Union, and Essex counties, announced it has been awarded a $15,000 Major Grant from the Provident Bank Foundation. EdArts will use the funds to support its cornerstone program, Bringing Literature to Life (BLL), its signature art education program. BLL is designed to engage students in grades 3-12 in theater arts activities that directly contribute to a deeper understanding of the literature they are studying in classroom settings. The overarching goal of the program is to improve student academic achievement and social emotional skills while increasing student agency and capacity to express their own ideas.
“We are pleased to help further valuable initiatives put forth by local organizations who are working every day to strengthen the lives of residents in our communities,” said Samantha Plotino, executive director of the Provident Bank Foundation. “We will continue to provide support to these important organizations that have identified an immediate need in the community and for the individuals they serve.”
“We are thrilled that the Provident Bank Foundation has joined our family of grant donors. With their support, we will be able to expand our Bringing Literature to Life program which brings arts education to children in classrooms across Jersey City,” said Cynthia Renta, executive director of Educational Arts Team. “It is a true validator of EdArts’ efforts in Hudson County to provide elementary and middle school students with engaging academic experiences through theater art and literature. We are grateful for the Foundation’s support of our mission to ensure every child has the opportunity to truly engage in their creativity, their academics and the empowering depth of their social emotional capacity.”
For more information about Educational Arts Team, please visit our website at www.educationalartsteam.org.
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About Educational Arts Team
Educational Arts Team (EdArts) is a leader in arts education that provides a range of customizable school and professional development programs that address literacy, family literacy, equity and inclusiveness, drug prevention, learning loss recovery, anti-bullying, and writing skills to diverse communities living in Hudson, Bergen, Union, and Essex Counties.
The mission of the Educational Arts Team is to engage young people with arts-based programs that connect creativity with critical thinking in order to stimulate personal growth and academic achievement by making their learning experience more meaningful. The organization is built on the belief that all young people should have the opportunity to think, create, reflect and be heard within a community of engaged learners.
About The Provident Bank Foundation
The Provident Bank Foundation, established by Provident Bank, aims continuously to search and support organizations focusing on the enhancement of community enrichment, education and health, youth, and families. The Foundation serves this purpose by supporting not-for-profit groups, institutions, schools and other 501(c)(3) organizations that provide services in proud communities served by the Bank. Dedicated since 2003, the Foundation has granted more than $28 million to not-for-profit organizations and institutions working toward strengthening our better and brighter communities. For more information, visit www.theprovidentbankfoundation.org or call (862) 260-3990.
Carmine Tabone to retire from the Educational Arts Team
Tabone inspired three generations of Jersey City children
JERSEY CITY —The Educational Arts Team, a Jersey City nonprofit leading the way in drama and visual arts integration for young people, announced today that Carmine Tabone, executive director and
co-founder, will retire, effective June 30, 2021. During this time, he will assist Educational Arts Team’s board of directors with transitioning the organization to its new era of leadership. Carmine will remain integrally involved with the Team to consult on programs.
Carmine was instrumental in the creation Educational Arts Team’s much-beloved Camp Liberty, transforming a 1970’s city-run youth summer program on abandoned land near the waterfront into a Jersey City day camp now serving its third generation of families. Camp Liberty offers enriching artistic, recreational, and social experiences in a beautiful outdoor setting to children ages 6 to 15 for eight weeks every summer.
Tabone also developed and led the Educational Arts Team’s interactive literacy programs, leading countless professional development sessions for teachers and classroom workshops for public school students. What started as a youth theater company of local high school students in 1974 and basic drama workshops in the Jersey City Public Schools in 1979, evolved into a sophisticated combination of role drama, collaborative out-of-your-seat activities and inquiry methods, that engage students and help them make positive, joyful associations with reading and writing.
Carmine and a team of teaching artists now use these theater strategies in urban schools
throughout northern New Jersey to build critical thinking skills and deepen students’ literacy and
During regular school years, up to 11,000 students at all learning and income levels as well as
hundreds of Language Arts teachers participate in Educational Arts Team workshops. Carmine
designed, implemented, and documented a series of three independently evaluated projects
funded by highly competitive U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education grants (2005-2014) that showed how arts integration programs can be greatly effective in improving academic and social learning.
“Carmine built this organization from its start as a city-sponsored effort to the thriving, independent group it is today,” said Micheline Grace Lewis, board president. “In the process, his work has touched the lives of thousands of children and their families. We are grateful to him for the decades he has devoted to the Educational Arts Team’s establishment and its success. As we work through this leadership transition, our focus is on ensuring Camp Liberty and the Educational Arts Team school programs are there for future generations of Jersey City children and their families, continuing the inspiring legacy that Carmine has built.”
Tabone, who earned an Ed. S. from Seton Hall University and an MA in Educational Theatre
from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development where he subsequently became an adjunct faculty member. He is currently an adjunct professor in the MPA program at St. Peter’s University, and has conducted in-service training workshops at regional, national and international conferences. From 1990 to 1997, Tabone facilitated men’s drama groups at the Orange County Jail in New York. He has co-authored a book on drama education activities, as well as three handbooks with EAT teaching artists. Recently, Carmine and Bob Albrecht, media professor at NJCU and longtime team member, completed a book, the Arts and Play as Educational Media in the Digital Age (2020), that documents much of the philosophy and methods behind Educational Arts Team’s programs.
As part of its send-off for Carmine, the Educational Arts Team board is soliciting videos from
children and adults who attended Camp Liberty or who had a memorable experience at an
Educational Arts Team workshop. The board is also planning a farewell party for Carmine on the
grounds of Camp Liberty this summer. Anyone interested in sending a video should contact
About the Educational Arts Team
The Educational Arts Team uses drama and visual arts to provide young people with deep and
long-lasting emotional and academic experiences that promote literacy and social-emotional development. Our guiding philosophy is that the arts are an essential way to inspire young people to realize academic success, increase self-worth, strengthen critical social skills, and create a vision of a positive future.
The Team also runs Camp Liberty, a beloved Jersey City summer camp for children ages 6-15.
Tucked between buildings at the edge of Liberty State Park, the camp, with its open-air pavilion, swimming pool, and fairytale forest — where every tree was planted by staff or volunteers — provides a tranquil green space where urban youth can learn, grow, and create together. Campers choose from activities like arts, sports, and music and put on an original play with a handmade set and costumes at the end of every two-week session for parents and the community, with the Mayor or other Jersey City officials often in attendance. During a typical summer, 250 children from diverse backgrounds come to the camp daily, with camp leadership raising funds from donors and corporate sponsors to ensure that low-income
children, including recent refugees, can attend on full scholarships.