Community Foundation of New Jersey

Table Talk: The Art of Building Community in Asbury Park

September 4, 2013

When the funding gets tight, the arts are usually the first thing to go.  But a group of concerned citizens in Asbury Park have rallied around art as an essential vehicle for healing in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – and the Community Foundation’s Recovery Fund is supporting their effort.

The group, called Table Talk, places handmade tables in public spaces to promote conversation and interaction.  The group’s founder, Molly Gaston Johnson, hopes to expand on the community-building aspect of recent post-Sandy recovery efforts.  The tables, she explains, bring people together and create space for community connection.

Meeting once a week at Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge, Table Talk draws a crowd of artists and community members to eat, drink, and create artistic drawings in a communal space.  Gaston Johnson then incorporates the drawings into a new table design, based on the themes, stories, and conversations that inspired the drawings.

Tables are also placed in a handful of cafes, arts centers, religious and public service spaces.  The project is funded, in part, by the Community Foundation’s New Jersey Recovery Fund.  For more information on the Recovery Fund, click here.   You may also support the Recovery Fund by contacting Hans Dekker at

Table Talk was recently featured on, where Gaston Johnson explained, “When you create art, you focus on your strength, it brings the community together and creates pockets of dialogue.”

To read more about Table Talk, visit