After heavy lifting to fund planned expansion, Gallery Aferro turns to community to get new arts hub over the finish line

Newark’s Gallery Aferro launched an Indiegogo campaign last week to raise the balance of the funds needed to complete the 90,000-square-foot artist hub they announced this spring.

Just over a week into the campaign, they’ve reached 15% of the $30,000 they say they need to complete the expansion, an impressive showing for week one, and almost exactly on pace toward their goal. The crowdfunding campaign closes on December 9. (Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo lets projects keep the funds they raise even if they don’t reach their goal.)

In both their fundraising video and on their Indiegogo campaign page, gallery co-founders Evonne Davis and Emma Wilcox tout the community-minded, experimental, collaborative, and DIY ethos they bring to the Newark arts ecosystem. In a testament to that collaborative ethos, their campaign video features a number of cameos and voiceovers from supporters and collaborators.

We hear from Linda Street, owner of Pink Dragon Syndicate, who says Gallery Aferro adds value to the broader community by using art to create dialogue (Street was creative director of the Usual Suspects photo shoot this spring); Emily Manz, business attraction associate at Brick City Development Corporation and Aferro board member, who touted its “potential, through partnerships, to impact Newark’s downtown and the region in a tangible see it/feel it way;” and Malik Whitaker, a graduate of their residency program who discussed the importance of Aferro to young artists.

Manz also underscored the extensive work Davis and Wilcox have already done to procure resources for their expansion before launching this crowdfunding campaign. That work included securing $50,000 in individual donations and grants, in-kind labor valued at $100,000 to help execute the expansion; and the 70,000 square feet in additional donated space.

Davis enumerates some of the amenities planned for the hub: 60 artist studios, workshop space, a dark room and photo studio, audio studio, new media incubator, presentation spaces, all-purpose community space, and a gift shop featuring handmade local items.

“Right now we have the opportunity to keep the arts in downtown,” Davis said, “and therefore to keep it accessible to the whole city, and to the surrounding cities, and the surrounding suburbs and communities. And that’s exciting for us.”

Gallery Aferro’s Indiegogo campaign closes December 9.

Interested in other Newark-based crowdfunding campaigns? Visit our #GiveNewark page.

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