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Newark Arts’ History:

Newark Arts Council (NAC, aka Newark Arts) is a key anchor institution that drives Newark as a global City of the Arts.  Founded in 1981, for the past 43 years, Newark Arts has elevated Newark’s arts and culture ecosystem for the benefit of all Newarkers. Newark Arts’ overarching strengths are that it is a trusted intermediary, key collaborator, cultural vanguard/catalyst, and marketing machine for the city. By demonstrating Newark as a model of creative placemaking, we fuel Newark’s vibrancy and drive the arts as an economic lever for urban America.  

Timeline

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Newark Arts’ Mission: Powering the arts to transform lives.

As an independent 501(c)(3), Newark Arts is the lynchpin in Newark’s thriving arts ecosystem of 5,000 arts workers, 1,500 artists and the thousands of residents and visitors that we serve. Newark Arts’ mission is accomplished through direct funding and grant distribution to artists, fiscal sponsorship, arts advocacy, creative placemaking, marketing, arts education access, artist professional development, various cultural initiatives, strategic partnerships and major event coordination, with a focus on providing arts access in every ward. For instance, Newark Arts developed the City of Newark Community Cultural Plan, Newark Creates, following 18 months of community engagement.  The findings were that for arts and culture to thrive in Newark, three things were required: funding, space and coordination.  Newark Arts has continued to execute against Newark Creates as well as our own strategic plan since 2020.  NAC recently completed a new 5-year strategic plan and is now poised to help grow Newark as an arts destination that reflects and benefits community. 

NEWARK ARTS FULFILLS ITS MISSION VIA THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: 

  • NEWARK CREATES – Newark Arts managed the City’s Creative Catalyst Fund, distributing $2.35 million to 402 artists and small arts organizations over three years, from 2020 to 2023.   
  • ARTSTART GRANTS – Since 2001, Newark Arts has created community access to art in every ward via $3,000 micro grants and Prudential Financial Partner grants totaling nearly $1 million to hundreds of small arts organizations and artists. ArtStart empowers grassroots artists and cultural entrepreneurs to realize their creative visions, collaborate with community organizations, cultivate civic engagement, uplift neighborhoods, and contribute to the vibrant cultural fabric of Newark. 
  • NEWARK ARTS FESTIVAL – Since 2001, the Newark Arts Festival (NAF) has showcased Newark as an under-recognized art and tourism hub. NAF’s group exhibition has been at the Newark Museum of Art for the past 3 years. The Festival featured 165 visual artists and close to 800 total artists in 2023, drawing 2,500 visitors from the tri-state area Opening Night and nearly 10,000 attendees in total. It arguably is New Jersey’s most diverse arts festival in that it reflects New Jersey’s largest city, whose diversity includes the Portuguese, Puerto Rican and Dominican enclaves in the North Ward, and ever-growing immigrant communities from Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. The city has a Black and Latinx population of more than 70%. Newark Arts serves Black and Brown artists, who are disproportionately vulnerable to the convergent health, race, and economic crises.   
  • ARTSOURCE – our brokerage service for public art installments witnessed 59% growth in FY23, driving $108K revenue and provides sizeable commissions to local artists.  Over the past three years, Newark Arts has completed three murals at Red Bull Arena; murals for Red Bull Energy Drink; public art installations for Nico’s at NJPAC; and 6 printed vinyl murals for NJ/NY PATH Platform 19 at Newark Penn Station as part of the station’s revitalization, to name a few projects. Beginning in 2024, Newark Arts will manage a 2,000-square-foot gallery in the new Vermella Broad Street residential development at 355 Broad Street. 
  • FISCAL SPONSOR/CONDUIT – NAC sponsors or serves as conduit for initiatives such as Arts Ed Newark (a collective impact initiative that ensures that Newark’s 39,440 K- 12 students receive access to high quality, sequential arts education opportunities), Yendor, Creative Catalyst Fund, Harriet Tubman Monument and Four Corners Public Art.  Newark Arts incubates arts initiatives that lack their own 501(c)(3), serves as lynchpin for the ecosystem, and supports artists and small community arts programs.   
  • CREATIVE CONVENINGS – Newark Arts’ monthly Creative Convenings, in partnership with the Newark Artist Database, offer professional development for artists help to strengthen Newark’s arts and culture community by providing professional development to artists and connecting them with experts on entrepreneurship, economics, health and wellness, taxes and other subjects. The intent of this work is to help creatives advance their career opportunities and trajectories. 
  • NEWARK ARTS EMERGENCY AND RENEWAL GRANTS – Newark Arts in the past two years has distributed $70,000 in pass-through emergency grants to artists courtesy of NJ Arts and Culture Renewal Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation.  

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Newark Arts’ Vision: 

What is our vision by 2028? 

Newark Arts aspiration is to grow our impact 1.5-2x, support artists more deeply, and make the city of Newark a top arts and culture destination in the next five years by: 

  • Sustaining an existing ecosystem where artists can thrive in their profession.
  • Amplifying message of Newark Arts and share story of the city as a cultural hub of the arts.
  • Partnering with local stakeholders to hire and promote local artists.

How will we get there? 

Newark Arts’ action plan is focused on: 

  • Providing affordable studio and exhibition space for artists in an equitable way and hosting educational workshops for artists on business-building skills.
  • Raising awareness of the arts programming and driving local storytelling within and beyond Newark.
  • Boosting ArtSource to provide more opportunities for artists and showcase their art around the city and to beautify public spaces.
  • Exploring several avenues to increase funding by 30-40%, including search of national donors, earned income through programming, board-driven events, and seeding an endowment fund. 

 Why are we confident it will work? 

Newark Arts has deep partnerships with the City, Newark arts-focused organizations, Newark-based corporations and businesses, over 1,500 artists, and the broader community.
Newark Arts experiences significant demand for services, like ArtSource.
Newark Arts has a growing and engaged team, with a representative board bringing new capabilities to position the organization to scale impact.

BOARD OFFICERS

Marcy S. DePina, President

Marcy S. DePina, President

Newark City Parks Foundation, Inc.

Samer Hanini, Vice President

Samer Hanini, Vice President

Hanini Group LLC

Donna Walker-Kuhne, Vice President

Donna Walker-Kuhne, Vice President

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Nicole Whalen, Treasurer

Nicole Whalen, Treasurer

Prudential Financial

Onome N. Adejemilua, Esq., Secretary

Onome N. Adejemilua, Esq., Secretary

McCarter & English LLP

BOARD MEMBERS

Manuel J. Antunes

Manuel J. Antunes

Audible

Joe Lee

Joe Lee

Chisa Hutchinson

Chisa Hutchinson

Writer

Michelle Knox

Michelle Knox

Dupré (DoItAll) Kelly

Dupré (DoItAll) Kelly

Councilman, City of Newark, Entertainer

Kitab Rollins

Kitab Rollins

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Andrew Coombs

Andrew Coombs

Coombs CPA, PC

Ryan Monroe

Ryan Monroe

RyArMo Photography

Kim Alexander-Cook MPA

Kim Alexander-Cook MPA

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

Reggie "Redman" Noble

Reggie "Redman" Noble

Artist & Activist

NEWARK ARTS STAFF

Lauren LeBeaux Craig

Lauren LeBeaux Craig

Executive Director

Regina Barboza

Regina Barboza

Director of Development & Strategic Initiatives

Ruby Annette Evans

Ruby Annette Evans

Director of Human Resources, Office Administration and Board Liaison

Heather Ayers

Heather Ayers

Director of Financial Operations and Individual Giving

Sindy Snchz

Sindy Snchz

Director of Digital Strategy & Design

Egda Veloz

Egda Veloz

Controller

Adrienne Wheeler

Adrienne Wheeler

Lead Curator, Artistic Initiatives

Cheyenne Ceasar

Cheyenne Ceasar

Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, Curatorial Assistant to the Lead Curator, Artistic Initiatives

Delilah Navarro

Delilah Navarro

Senior Manager, Creative Projects and Communications

Ka'bre Dennis

Ka'bre Dennis

Social Media Manager

ARTS ED NEWARK STAFF

Lauren G. Meehan

Lauren G. Meehan

Director

Mayuri Chandra

Mayuri Chandra

Project Manager

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Funders

Newark Arts receives major funding for its programs and publications from:

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turrell fund logo
hanini logo
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turrell fund logo
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turrell fund logo

MT Weiner Foundation

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