Mission Statement

Our Mission
We are a non-partisan, citizen-based network mobilized to promote the revitalization of our community by learning and building upon the best practices of other successful community models. We hope to inspire fellow residents, local businesses and our elected officials by partnering with them to creatively seek new solutions through Arts-Based Community Development and Creative Placemaking. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of who we are. We know that having varied perspectives helps generate better ideas in seeking these solutions in an increasingly diverse world.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Morris Arts Building Community Through the Arts

Reimagine Runnemed President, J. Kenneth Leap, is proud to be associated with Morris Arts through their Teaching Artist Program which brings artists into schools for short-term residencies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Trail Restoration @ Runnemede Lake Park

We're beginning a Trail Restoration Initiative at Runnemede Lake Park. What you've never heard of it? No, it's not at Green Acres. Take a look:
Runnemede Lake Park hand-drawn map 1965

Here are a few images captured from a set of slides taken by William Leap sometime around 1965 of Hirsh Lake and the newly dedicated Runnemede Lake.

Did you know? Over 1,000 Runnemede residents signed a petition to save a special tract of land from a developer and preserve it as “a place of public resort and recreation in perpetuity.” The year was 1965. Residents joined to blaze trails, build bridges as well as a pavilion around a healthy Hirsch's Lake.

 Here's the rest of the story

Indian implements, including broken pottery, unearthed along the present Lakeview Drive, indicate this was the site of an Indian village. The trails through the park, predating the earliest recollections, were no doubt originally animal trails used by the Indians after their arrival.


Long before the dam was built forming the lake, the portion of Singley Avenue from Bassett Avenue to Hirsch Avenue was part of the main Indian trail from the Delaware River to the ocean.


Probably many of the skins traded at the Dutch Fort, Nassau, built 1623 by Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey at the mouth of the Timber Creek, were collected right here. At that time our woods and streams abounded beaver, otter bear and many other animals. The fact that Fort Nassau was the first European settlement in the Delaware Valley, remaining 28 years till 1651, indicates that this was the first area explored by white men.


In 1712 the "Old Cape Road," the first road to the ocean and Cape May, was laid out along the same Indian trail. The fresh cool spring water of the stream

no doubt made this a favored drinking spot.


The area remained forest until 1819 when Mr. Zane built the house which now is 400 Singley Avenue and started farming.  The land was later acquired by John Beakley who sold the house and 100 acres to William Hirsch Sr. in 1913.  Mr. Hirsch and his bride farmed the land until 1924.  Early 1925 he divided the farm into building lots, just one year before Runnemede was to become a borough, gaining independence from "Old Centre Township."


The spring of 1927 work was started in a dam across the stream to form Hirsch Lake.  Much of the dirt used in the dam was carted over by wagon from Evesham Road which was being regraded at the time.


The "crash" of 1929 struck a severe blow to many residents of the Borough, not the least of them was Mr. Hirsch. Most of his property was lost but he managed to save the house, the area of the park, and a few building lots along Timber Creek.  During the depression years of 1930-1935 the lake was used to breed large mouth bass and blue gill sunfish which were sold to stock many lakes of private estates and lodges in the Poconos.


The lake although posted "No Fishing" could seldom be found without a line dangling in it.  The summer sun ripened the wild strawberries on "Martins Hill" (now Sheppard Avenue).


At Christmas many homes were decorated with laurel that grew in dense profusion in the woods.  The winter snow made the "Dead Mane Trail" a formidable sledding course and the frozen lake attracted skaters from miles around.  Never have the woods been without the sound of children at play.


The present 18 acre park site was purchased from Mr. Hirsch in 1955 for $15,000. by Mayor Wm. Getty and Borough Council.  August 7, 1956 a resolution was passed setting aside these grounds to be " to be used as and for public playgrounds and recreational places,"  A new dam was constructed and a beach was cleared for swimming, unfortunately the latter project proved to be costly and was abandoned.


It was not until 1964, when Borough Officials considered selling the tract, that there was much recent interest in this area, except by the children who considered it  "their woods."  The contemplation of a housing development replacing the natural beauty of the lake and woods stirred heated protests.  The presentation of 1081 signatures on petitions lead to the rededication of the property "as a place for public resort and recreation."  November 4, 1964, rescinding Councils earlier action (October 8, 1964) of undedication.


February 9, 1965 a committee was appointed by Mayor Addezic to draft a master plan for the future development of the Park.  It was during the studies by this committee that its potential as an outdoor education and recreation area was realized.  As planning continued the idea for development of the Park took shape.  The development by the residents themselves through a series of "work weekends" and private donations.  Local organizations and businesses joined in, before the summer of 1965 ended two nature trails containing nine bridges and two picnic groves were completed, the lake had been raised and stocked with fish and Runnemede Lake Park was well on its way towards completion.


Historical research by, Harry Marvin of Mullica Hill, Jack Hurtle and Bill Leap.


This guide was prepared by the Mayor's Advisory Committee in cooperation with Apex Advertising Company of Runnemede.


Paid for by Runnemede's Camden Trust Company.


We would like to thank all those who assisted in making this park possible.


Mayor's Advisory Committee of Runnemede Lake Park

William W. Leap, Chairman 


Tuesday, August 4, 2020


Reimagine Runnemede finds this inspirational and wishes you a moment of stillness in a changing world.

Interested in challenging yourself to learn this skill? Here's a tutorial video:

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday, Jan 16th, 2020 - 7PM - 9PM

Please join us for our monthly community vision meeting.

Our agenda will include a planning session for our 2020 roll-out of events: New Year, New You, New Runnemede
  • Hear about or interview with Community Heart & Soul - we're finalists!
  • Learn about our upcoming Poetry Competition with Volz school.
  • Meet sculptor, Marilyn Keating as we plan to execute our recent grant award from the Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission for our "Winds of Change - Whirligig Project" in March
  • Hear our plans for a new crop of murals to bloom in the Spring as we feature: "May is for Murals"
  • Learn how you can support our outreach initiative to the Runnemede Business Community.

Introducing Marilyn Keating

Mosaic sculptures by Marilyn Keating

Teaching Artist Spotlight – Marilyn Keating

“The arts are crucial to learning. Students learn to make decisions and mistakes.”

m_keating_kiteWhen and how did you decide to become a teaching artist?

I started teaching art after designing the art for the NJ Transit Riverline. Prior to that I taught carpentry and electric for tradeswomen, Habitat for Humanity, and helped write curriculum at a charter school for service learning at West Phila High School. After that I did all sorts of projects in Camden schools with Rutgers. My favorite was pairing visual artists and poets to make what I called visual poetry.

How did you first get involved with Young Audiences?

Rutgers gave me a scholarship to the Artist/Teacher Institute. I made a lot of connections doing an experimental afterschool program in Galloway. From there it led to Young Audiences and to The New Jersey State Council on the Arts Artists in Education Residency Program.

What’s the most gratifying thing that has happened while you’ve been with YA?

My favorite one might be a Target Art Education Grant for a small K-8 school in Downe Township on the Delaware Bay. Every student in the school made a kite. I sweet talked a guy from a fighter kite group to help 7th graders with their fighter kites and the sky was full of unique and glorious kites from a platypus to a horse crab on the final day.
I also had fun leading a teaching professional development program for this school. I had the educators create shadow puppets on an overhead projector. I read them Edward Gorey’s Ghastlycrumb Tinies which is a little on the dark side. They did some puppets based on this. It was hysterical and such a release for the teachers.

Describe a moment when you saw the arts transform or make a significant impact on a student, school or community.

At Downe Township I worked with students with special needs. I had done this before but here it had more of an impact on me. I believe all kids learn best experientially. They learn using all their senses and it seemed to me that these students needed it even more. I had a few students that were nonresponsive with their teachers. They loved making kites, which involved some math, measurement, and a little science. The teachers noticed and realized that we all learn differently and found ways to engage their students in a way they hadn’t seen before.

How does the work you do with YA inform and feed your own creative work?

Teaching and my own work often do inform one another. After doing stop motion at Bancroft School, I’ve started doing my own. I fell in love with the work of Isabella Rossillini and always wanted to do little films.

What other projects are you working on right now?

Stop motion is what I am doing right now. I also plan to work on mosaic sculpture in my garden again.

Why do you stay involved?

I think I stay involved because of this need I have to be of service. I enjoy making art with others maybe more than making art alone.

What are some of your favorite sources of creativity or inspiration – any specific blogs, books or places you like to visit?

Since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated with the natural world and water. They still are the biggest influences in my world. I might canoe more than make personal art.

In your experience, what does including arts education in the curriculum give to students?

The arts are crucial to learning. Students learn to make decisions and mistakes. The ability to use a mistake in a new way is the creative process at its best. You take a project and see where it goes and have the courage to make changes. Art is about critical thinking and problem solving and it’s fun.
For more information on the Artists in Education Residency Program contact Michelle Baxter-Schaffer, Artists in Education Administrator at michelle.baxter-schaffer@sos.nj.gov or 609-984-7025.