Editor's Note: This article was first published Aug. 12, 2013. The Teaneck graffiti project is set to begin Nov. 1.
by Megan Merrigan
More than a dozen Teaneck businesses have agreed to offer their windows as slates for patrons to express what they are grateful for via window graffiti in the 40 days leading up to Thanksgiving.
When health educator and Teaneck resident Rachel Lendner learned of the Gratitude Graffiti Project from the two Maplewood women who came up with the idea a year ago, she thought to herself “Teaneck needs this.”
“Gratitude leads to happiness, and happiness leads to health,” Lendner said of the project, which allows community members to write what they are grateful for on the windows of participating businesses.
The project will be funded by a small grant the committee has received from the Puffin Foundation, which will be used almost entirely to supply the participating businesses with washable window markers, according to Lendner.
"Through The Gratitude Graffiti Project, participants are no longer ‘spectators’ of art, they are fully engaged in creating the art that expresses their gratitude. Through art, people can contemplate, create and rejuvenate and awaken a whole new perspective on how to look at how great life can be," the project's websiteexplains.
Lendner has also received support from Teaneck musician Lauren Hooker and Councilman Elie Y. Katz who have joined her in organizing and promoting the health initiative.
“This is a feel good project that can help bring the community together in a season of thanks,” Katz said.
Lendner said the reactions from some local merchants have been mixed.
“But, the people who are receptive are so receptive,” Lendner said. “They’ll say that’s really beautiful, what a nice idea or that we really need more gratitude in Teaneck.”
Of the businesses that are not as quick to jump on board, Lendner assures them that there is nothing to worry about it.
“If (businesses) start it and don’t like it, clean off the windows and stop giving out the markers,” Lendner said. “They’re not making any real commitment to anything by signing up.”
The Gratitude Graffiti Project is scheduled to begin on Nov. 1, and 18 businesses have agreed to participate, though Lendner expects that number will grow before the project kicks off.
For businesses that are interested in participating, Lendner can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.“I don’t want to make money; I have no agenda,” Lendner said. “I just want to make people in Teaneck smile for a month.”