*Deadline Extended*: Enter Rising Tide business idea competition for a shot at $10k, $7.5k, or $5k

Rising Tide Capital has extended the deadline for submissions for its Start Something Challenge business idea competition to this Thursday, July 2. We previously published the three-step process for submission:

Step 1: Email Justyna@risingtidecapital.org to express your intent to enter.

Step 2: Create a 30-second pitch video using Animoto that illustrates your business idea. Animoto uses words and images you upload to create videos, and entrants can complete this step in an afternoon. When you finish your video, post it to YouTube and title it per this format: “Start Something Challenge 2015 – Name of Business Idea

Step 3: Create a short description of your business, product or service. Add this description to your YouTube video.

The top three winners of the competition earn $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000 to get their business ideas off the ground. Read our previous post for resources to help you with your pitch video.

Pressing forward after historic LGBTQ marriage victory, Essex County LGBT RAIN launches GoFundMe campaign to provide safe spaces

While the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage in all 50 states last week was a historic victory for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community and their allies, those who have been fighting for full equity for this community still have many hills left to climb.

One issue that acutely affects LGBTQ youth in particular is homelessness. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as the general youth population to become homeless, due in significant part to familial rejection some LGBTQ youth experience when they come out to their families. These homeless youth experience an elevated risk of sexual violence, mental health problems, and suicide, among other potential crises.

The Essex County LGBT RAIN Foundation is trying to combat this issue by opening their doors to LGBTQ individuals who are being turned away by their families. RAIN recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to fund a safe space for LGBTQ people in need of support.

The organization, founded by Elaine Helms, provides emergency shelter services while promoting “self-sufficiency and independence in order to enhance [their] residents’ ability to function within their communities,” according to their GoFundMe page. In addition to basic needs like food and shelter, RAIN plans to offer other support services that promote self-sustainability, healthy relationships, sustained employment, and stable housing.

While the program focuses on homelessness, it welcomes any of the LGBTQ community’s members who need support in order to become “successful individuals that contribute to society in a way that makes them feel whole.”

The organization also seeks to assist LGBTQ students who are at a higher risk of dropping out of school due to bullying, physical and verbal harassment, lack of a support system, and lack of recourse and protection by school staff.

The fundraising campaign is seeking donations to establish the organization’s assistance program; they say a $10 donation can feed a resident for nearly a week. According to the organization’s GoFundMe page, one hundred percent of donations will be allocated toward paying one full year’s mortgage – or $27,600 – to house the residents.


Those interested in contributing to the GoFundMe campaign may do so at http://www.gofundme.com/lgbthousing. RAIN asks those who cannot donate to spread the word on social media by sharing the link, or contacting the organization to volunteer at essexlgbthousing.orgFeatured image via Essex County LGBTQ RAIN’s Facebook page.

Registration open for summer glass art classes at GlassRoots in Newark

Youth and teens can get creative with glass and learn a new artistic skill at GlassRoots studio classes this summer in Newark.

“GlassRoots’ programs include classes in glassblowing, bead making, and kilnforming (mosaics & fusing). Each program ends with a closing gallery exhibit of the art created that week,” according to recent email campaign promoting the classes.

glassroots blowing studioGlassRoots’ summer classes run a week long: youth can join morning sessions from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., or afternoon sessions from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Parents and guardians are encouraged to register youth for the program while space is still available. Registration costs $20, and the weeklong classes range from $225 to $450 per week. Tuition payment plans are available, and financial assistance is available for families who cannot afford the full tuition. Guidelines for applying for financial aid are available on the student registration form.

The descriptions for the classes offered are as follows:

Beadmaking – Molten Magic!

Experience the magic of molten glass in the Flame Shop! GlassRoots staff will guide participants through development of designs for beads and jewelry while introducing basic art and design concepts. Through exercises and demonstrations that build skills, participants learn how to make basic bead shapes (round, cylinder, cone), and learn about the history and science of glass.

Ages 10-18; no experience necessary.

Flat Glass: Warm and Cold
During this one-week session in the Flat Shop, explore various techniques of flat glass art. Often called “warm glass”, participants learn the science and process of fusing, slumping and kiln casting glass. After an introduction to the kilns, create a “bas” or low relief tile in a glass kiln casting project; a multi-step project using clay, plaster mold making, and flower pot casting. Be prepared to be a bit messy! Participants also learn to cut and shape flat glass in a slumping and fusing project, where pieces range from small coaster sets to 12″ bowls, leaving with beautiful finished pieces!

Ages 10-18; no experience necessary.

Glassblowing: Education. Exploration. Innovation.
The art of glass blowing originated in the Middle East about 2000 years ago, and in many ways, the tools and glass-blowing technique used today are the same ones used thousands of years ago. Participants become part of this rich history as they experience the wonder of hot glass worked in a furnace. In this class, in the Hot Shop, participants learn basic traditional postures, techniques, and forms of blown glass as they work collaboratively; while reviewing principles of design, art history and the history of the glass studio art movement. Participants will be awed by the science of glass and glass art, especially the physics, chemistry and engineering involved! This program will encourage all to experiment and innovate with the material, and challenge their creative self.

Ages 14-18 – no experience necessary.

Survey of Glass: The Glass Experience.

Experience all three of our studios in this one-week, three-hour per day survey class. Teens will work hands-on with fire in the Flame shop to create glass beads and small sculptures. In the Flat Shop they will cut glass and create designs in the form of mosaics and kiln forming. finally, in the Hot Shop, they will test partnership skills among many others as they work with 2000-degree molten glass.

High School students only. Ages 14-18; no experience necessary.

Featured image courtesy of GlassRoots

Sweet Peace (in Military Park!): fayemi shakur discusses why you should consider taking up yoga

Yoga isn’t just a physical practice: it promises mental and spiritual benefits that can pay dividends in its devotees’ every day lives. Below fayemi shakur, who teaches a free yoga class on Saturdays in Military Park here in Newark, discusses what drew her to yoga, and why you should consider trying it too.

What about yoga drew you into the practice?

I started practicing yoga about seven years ago. I took my first class at a gym I went to with my sister. I was pleasantly surprised: it wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. The sense of peace I felt after class was evident from day one. But, it wasn’t until I met my teacher, Jennifer Kohl from Lotus Yoga, that I really began to deepen my practice.

At her former studio, she often gave dharma talks and chanted in Sanskrit. My spirit was really drawn to that. That’s something I didn’t get in yoga classes that were geared more towards fitness. Independently, I read and studied the I-Ching – a form of Chinese divination and philosophy – for years, which continues to be a part of my practice.

I was attracted to learning about yoga philosophy as a way of life. I didn’t practice any particular religion, and I needed a disciplined spiritual practice I could relate to that was universal and holistic. It grounded me and continually gives me balance and personal goals to work towards incorporating into my life. The thing that really got me open was learning about the yamas, the niyamas, and the five causes of suffering.

There are lots of yoga styles – which do you practice, and why?

fayemi shakur 2I’m open to all styles and paths of yoga. There are many yoga systems and paths across the globe of course, so I haven’t tried them all yet. Some paths go beyond a hatha yoga practice consisting of asana and meditation. For instance, karma yoga practices include volunteer work, and it is a path of service. Nada yoga is the yoga of deep inner listening. It’s the yoga of sound, which includes meditation, listening to good music, and turning off the television and other distractions. Other physical yoga styles are Kundalini, Kemetic, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Restorative and Bikram, or hot yoga — all considered Hatha yoga.

As it’s said in yoga, “Many paths, one truth.” I haven’t tried one yet that I didn’t like, although vinyasa is my favorite style. Vinyasa is so beautiful. The poses are sequenced in such a way that one pose flows to the next. It’s like poetry to me. All yoga is beautiful.

What motivated you to share your yoga experience with others through teaching?

I’m a 500 hour certified yoga teacher, and I’ve been teaching for almost three years. I’m at the very beginning of this journey. I was encouraged by Jennifer Kohl and fellow yogi Danielle Mastrogiovanni to enroll in Lotus Yoga’s teacher training. They kept telling me they thought I could be a great yoga teacher, and I was sincerely puzzled by that. Like why? Honestly, when I started practicing I was just trying to find a way to eliminate stress and anxiety. I never would have thought I would be teaching yoga today. I’m grateful they encouraged me to do it.

Teaching community classes was a required part of my teacher trainings, so I couldn’t shy away from it. I completed two trainings where I studied yoga sutras, The Gita, Sanskrit, anatomy, alignment, and so much more. The trainings lasted for months at a time, and they were hard. Some of the concepts were so intense, it was difficult to come back afterwards and engage in the real world.

My perceptions started changing. Our Sanskrit teacher, Manorama, told us that yoga was an ego bashing process and I found that to be true. I learned that yoga is not for pacifists. I read something that said what Americans need most is more humility, and that arrogance will forever keep us separate from each other and from the Divine. Arrogance and spiritual ecstasy can’t go together. So we constantly have to balance these things. I learned a lot about anger and how yoga could be used as a tool to foster healing, strength and improved focus.

I decided to start teaching as a part of my karma yoga practice with the hope that others could apply yoga to their lives in their own way. It only works if you do it. I started to learn what I needed to embrace from within and how to be still so I could hear. I’m still learning. A good teacher can sharpen your practice by jarring you out of complacency and self-satisfaction so that new possibilities appear.

What can newcomers expect from a session with you at Military Park?

I’ve been teaching a Saturday morning class at Military Park for about a year since the park re-opened. I always want newcomers to feel at ease in their bodies and abilities, even if it is their first time. It’s an open level class, but I teach mostly beginners.

It’s not a religion. I teach in a way that complements students’ religious beliefs. I think it’s important to de-mystify what yoga is and teach it in a way that’s relatable. We’re also living at a time when we are seeing and experiencing a lot of change, violence and stress all around. I want to share my practice and how I use it to confront and deal with those things while practicing a sense of calmness and balance.

It’s important to see people of color engaged in yoga. Yoga is for everybody and all shapes and sizes. I think when people see me doing it they realize it’s something they can do too. I’m not a heavy promoter when it comes to yoga. Most teachers aren’t. Only if someone asks. It should come naturally.

We begin class with a dharma talk and silent meditation. We have a goal to work up to 20 minutes of mediation every day but for now we are at five minutes. It takes time and effort to learn how to meditate and engage the breath work required in yoga. The class serves as a group practice, and I provide some simple guided instructions. Sometimes I share the wisdom of the yoga sutras, some days I might share an inspiring poem by Maya Angelou or Nayyirah Waheed. Any wisdom I share really doesn’t come from me. It’s an ancient wisdom or universal truth.

I love music and incorporate it into the class as well. Sometimes I teach a restorative class, sometimes vinyasa, or if the students say they want power yoga, I’ll give them that. The restorative classes seem to be the favorite among the students, which essentially is a centering of the breath and the body, aligning the physical and the mental by practicing stillness and gentle movement. There is something special about being in the grass, under the sun, practicing in nature that feels so good. The remodeled park is truly a beautiful space. The class I teach in the park is open to all and parents can bring their children. The little ones love yoga too. It’s a special kind of sweet peace.

Yoga’s health and wellbeing benefits are highly touted by people in the know. What are those benefits?

Yoga helps alleviate stress and anxiety, but it also can provide greater clarity and awareness mentally and spiritually. The benefits of meditation and its effect on the brain are incredible. Yoga and meditation should also go together. The asana – the poses – are what help prepare the mind for meditation, because the body is both stimulated and relaxed in way that activates the analytical and intuitive abilities.

These benefits improve mental clarity and help us make better decisions. Physically yoga helps increase strength, balance, focus, and flexibility. Practicing yoga can also alleviate pain and discomfort, aid digestion, improve the nervous system, circulation, posture, cardiovascular health, and provide relief for asthma. Every yoga pose has a health benefit which I discuss in class.

I love to think of the poses too as metaphors for other things. For instance, feeling the feet rooted into the ground and the sense of balance and awareness that it inspires. Holding your eyes on a focal point, knowing that you must or you will lose your balance. Maintaining a pose and keeping perfectly still when you feel like you just can’t hold it any longer. Some days you will fail to practice – we all do – but you try again and get better at it. Everyone comes to yoga for different reasons, but the spiritual component of yoga as a way of life is just as important as the physical benefits.

Lastly, what type of work do you do outside of yoga?

I work at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art in downtown Newark a few days a week as a consultant and marketing manager. I’ve been at Aljira for about three years. Essentially, I’m a cultural worker.

My job there entails strategic marketing and communications, public relations, content management and development for the Aljira blog and social media, sharing news about what’s going on in the arts and supporting Aljira’s exhibitions and programs.

I’m also an independent writer. Writing is my first love; organizing is my second. My work has been published in The New York Times, The International Review of African American Art, Nueva Luz photographic journal, Ebony.com, UPTOWN, and HYCIDE Magazine. I initially started writing political and cultural news stories in 1999. These days I write more about art, which gives me a new way to explore various topics. Short story writing or curating exhibitions and programs may be the next thing I try. Who knows? But, ArtLife Media is my consulting company through which I make money and provide a range of services.

I believe in supporting and valuing the arts, cultural institutions and programs in our communities, and most work I do is a part of my social and creative practice which includes community service. In the past year, I also taught yoga at N.J. Regional Day School for special needs and autistic youth. I just do what I love and I appreciate having that freedom. Still, I’m very discerning and mindful of what I say yes to.


fayemi shakur’s “Sweet Peace” family yoga and meditation class is held every Saturday from 10:30am to 11:30am in Military Park. The class is free and mats are provided. On inclement weather days, the class will be held at The New Jersey Historical Society at 52 Park Place just across from the park. To check out more free classes and activities, visit www.militarypark.org.

RSVP for Essex County Community Business Academy information session

Aspiring entrepreneurs are welcome to attend an information session for the Essex County Community Business Academy on July 14, hosted by Rising Tide Capital.

The academy is a 12-week business fundamentals course that will teach students how to grow an idea into a successful business. Classes are taught in both English and Spanish.

The information session will explain the program and how to join the academy for the fall semester.

The session will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Greater Newark Conservancy, located at 32 Prince St. in Newark.

Reserve your space at the session by calling 201-432-4316 ext. 121, or my emailing milaury@risingtidecapital.org.

Featured image courtesy of Rising Tide Capital.

Get $10k for your business idea: Just three steps to entering your idea by June 29th

Business idea submissions will be excepted through Monday, June 29, for this year’s annual Start Something Challenge business pitch competition by Rising Tide Capital. The first-place winner of this competition receives a $10,000 grant to help start their business.

To enter, aspiring entrepreneurs must complete three steps:

Step 1: Email Justyna@risingtidecapital.org to express your intent to enter.

Step 2: Create a 30-second pitch video using Animoto that illustrates your business idea. Animoto uses words and images you upload to create videos, and entrants can complete this step in an afternoon. When you finish your video, post it to YouTube and title it per this format: “Start Something Challenge 2015 – Name of Business Idea

Step 3: Create a short description of your business, product or service. Add this description to your YouTube video.

Confused about any of these steps? Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

  1. How to create your first Animoto video [here]
  2. How to create a YouTube account [here]
  3. How to upload a video to YouTube [here]
  4. How to pitch anything in 15 seconds [here]

Applicants will be winnowed down to a final round of 10 people via two rounds of online voting. The ten finalists will receive feedback, coaching, and wide exposure for their business idea as they prepare for the live pitch competition.

#GiveNewark: Support LGBTQ youth this summer with an in-kind donation towards programming and safe space

With summer under way, the Hetrick-Martin Institute of New Jersey needs community support to help keep LGBTQ youth engaged and connected to programming during this crucial out-of-school time.

The Institute is asking the community to help by donating an item from their Amazon wish list, which can be found here. All items will be used to create dynamic programming and a safe, enjoyable space for LGBTQ youth and their allies.

The items range from fun furniture to equipment for activities like karaoke. They also include educational tools such as Rosetta Stone for languages, and LGBTQ support literature.

The Hetrick-Martin Institute is a youth development organization that believes “all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” HMI creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth between the ages of 13 and 21 and their families through myriad activities and services.

The Hetrick-Martin Institute is located at 301 West Kinney St., second floor, in Newark. For more information about the institute, you can visit their website at http://www.hmi.org.

Featured image via hmi.org/newark

Riverbank Park to show “The Lego Movie” for its Free Movie Friday

‘Everything is awesome’ at Riverbank Park on June 26, where the public is welcome to a free screening of “The Lego Movie.”

The animated film is this week’s “Free Movie Friday,” which includes kid-friendly activities.

Refreshments will be sold starting at 8 p.m., and the movie will begin once it is dark, at approximately 8:30 p.m.

All free movie screenings will be held in the field behind the field house in Riverbank park in Newark. Attendees are welcome to bring a blanket or lawn chair.

Featured image courtesy of Riverbank Park. 

The Gateway Project announces three resident artists for 2015 program

The Gateway Project will be hosting three artists for their inaugural residency program throughout the season according to a recent subscriber email. The Gallery will welcome artists Nina Chanel Abney, Derrick Adams, and David Antonio Cruz.

During this residency cycle these artists will work towards creating a body of work that incorporates an element of social practice and engagement. In addition to creating work the artists will host public programs and will have solo exhibitions in 2015 into 2016.

The Gateway Project Residency Program is a biannual program for mid-career to established artists that is intended to cultivate social engagement, awareness and change via contemporary art practices.

The mission of the program is support artists through introduction of new conceptual material and through engagement with new audiences, and to “expose and encourage social discourses and narratives that are often overlooked or uncomfortable.”

The program was started as part of a collaborative initiative between Project For Empty Space, a non profit arts organization that activates empty, abandoned, and unusual spaces with contemporary art as a means to foster dialog, and The Gateway Project, a multifunctional arts hub in Downtown Newark.

Nina Chanel Abney is a painter based in Jersey City, NJ. As of late, Abney has been exploring collage, layering words, arrows, and faces in a bright mix of references that discusses race.

Derrick Adams is a multidisciplinary New York–based artist with practices rooted in Deconstructivist philosophies and the formation and perception of ideals attached to objects, colors, symbols and ideologies.

David Antonio Cruz is a multidisciplinary New York-based artist. His work fuses video, costume construction, performance and painting to explore and redefine queerness, diasporic, psychological and ever shifting unnamed spaces.

The Gateway Project is located at 2 Gateway Center in Newark

Featured image courtesy of The Gateway Project