Back to ArtSmart's Roots: Eastside High School in Newark

Joseph Della Fave was instrumental in ArtSmart’s beginning, playing a major role in sponsoring ArtSmart’s very first program at Eastside High School in Newark, NJ. It was actually his idea to start ArtSmart in Newark! Mr. Della Fave is the former Executive Director of the Ironbound Community Corporation, retiring from the position in 2019. He is also uncle to co-founder Michael Fabiano and now resides in New York City with his wife Laurie Fabiano, also an avid ArtSmart supporter.

Why Newark?

When Michael brought the idea of ArtSmart to him, Mr. Della Fave suggested starting ArtSmart at Eastside High School in the Ironclad section of Newark because it was where Michael’s grandmother Marie Fabiano graduated. For Mr. Della Fave, this would be the return of the prodigal grandson. Marie was a talented concert pianist, whose accolades included performing at Carnegie Hall, and had a major influence on Michael.

Why do you support ArtSmart?

“ArtSmart provides that extra enrichment, stimulation, broadening of horizons, building of passion for music, and, if not a career, a tremendous appreciation. It strengthens students’ capacity to focus and be engaged in learning in general. I think the success of so many students who have been a part of ArtSmart demonstrates that. Bringing the arts into and expanding the arts in schools brings such an enrichment for students, who learn to express themselves in many new and different ways that they may have never tapped into before. ArtSmart helps bring students out of their shells, offering them new communications skills to engage with other students and their teachers, possibly their families. It is incredible enrichment that touches students’ lives in so many different ways.”

Young Michael Fabiano pictured with his grandmother Maria Fabiano smiling
Michael Fabiano pictured with his grandmother Marie

Why should others support ArtSmart?

“Any donor wants to know that where they put their dollar there is meaningful impact. I have seen ArtSmart’s impact up close and personal by being at sites and seeing the work of students—the joy, the passion—and how this spills out into other aspects of their lives. In this case we are talking about music mentorship, which does not get a lot of attention on its own in the education system. For both impact and music, ArtSmart delivers for the students and the donors.”


Mr. Della Fave has lead a life in service, passionate about supporting the most vulnerable and working towards greater equity and justice matters. For 35+ years, he served Newark in community development, social services, and equity and justice advocacy through the Ironclad Community Corporation. Previously he served as a Hoboken councilman and Chairman of the History Department at Saint Peter’s Prep.


Joseph Della Fave (left) with Co-Founder John Viscardi and wife Laurie Fabiano

Born and raised in Hoboken, NJ


Undergraduate Economics at Saint Peters University and Graduate Labor Studies at Rutgers University


“I love to cook… everything but specifically Italian food, pizza, focaccia, pastas, and breads.”

Music participation:

“I love to sing, but when I do I clear out the room!  Not my forte. My wife’s side is the musical side. There wasn’t much musical talent in my family growing up, except for an appreciation of Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Roselli.”


Article DETAILS:

By Erin Alcorn, ArtSmart Newsletter  |  Published on 05/01/2023