Reactions from Newark politicians, residents, and watchers to Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson

From Ras Baraka’s Twitter debate to backlash against Senator Cory Booker’s “safe” response, comparisons between Newark 1967 and Ferguson 2014 to plans for Newark-based rallies, we gathered local reactions to the St. Louis County, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

Image by Flickr user Sarah-Ji

Open Doors 2014 preview: What to expect at the annual arts festival, and what it means for Newark’s arts community 

The annual citywide Open Doors art festival will be kicking off here in Newark tomorrow at The Gateway Project, located on the main concourse of 2 Gateway Center. I asked Jade Lien, Manager of Programs and Info Services at the Newark Arts Council, and Rebecca Jampol, founder and director of The Gateway Project, about what visitors can expect from this year’s Open Doors. Read on to learn more about some of this year’s programming, and what Lien says Open Doors has done for the Newark arts community.


Andaiye Taylor: Is there an organizing theme behind this year’s Open Doors? I saw the theme “Literary Greats” in some of the announcements about the festival.

Jade Lien: The Open Doors festival itself never has a theme. Our goal in hosting this event annually is multidimensional: to showcase the artists and art spaces in Newark; to expose Newark residents to art forms and displays they may not get a chance to see elsewhere; to attract art seekers and patrons to Newark that may be unfamiliar with the terrain here; and ultimately to unify our community.

In previous years, we’ve brought in a curator who will produce what we’ve referred to as the “big show.” After many years of both following that format and digesting the input of our arts partners, we switched gears and instead have begun to partner, each year, with a local gallery or organization to produce a blockbuster exhibition and subsequent series of public programs related to the event.

You may recall that last year, we had the Market Street Convergence project, produced in conjunction with Gallery Aferro. This year, we have partnered with The Gateway Project, the brainchild of curators Rebecca Jampol (Solo(s) Project House) and Jasmine Wahi (Project for Empty Space). It has been The Gateway Project’s overarching theme this past year to produce exhibitions with a literary theme.

[Solo(s) Project House’s exhibit] Prologue-Epilogue made sense for our partnership for two reasons: it still fell in line with The Gateway Project’s exhibition series this year, which has touched on novels like The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, and it also connected on a deeper level with current conversations within the arts community about the new and the old. The exhibition’s focus and selected works resonate with the concept of a narrative, which was attractive to the Newark Arts Council because our work helps to tell the story of the arts in Newark. Open Doors seemed like a natural place to present such a program, because its history within the community is a long one.


ART: Rebecca, what can visitors can expect from Prologue-Epilogue?

Rebecca Jampol: Prologue – Epilogue speaks about the relationship of past to present, present to future. We have asked artists to create a narrative. Some directly focus on the Newark Art Scene while others are culturally specific or creating in a universal context.

Nick Kline’s storefront installation is from the series “Newark Will See it Through”, a larger, ongoing body of work from the Newark Municipal Archive, which itself is derived from the Archives & Records Management Center, City of Newark, NJ.  Many of the photographs were found with tracing paper hinged to them, hand-drawn pencil-lined crop marks, coded instructions and notes, or sometimes acetate film with red shapes (a pre-digital technique used to select or mask areas for offset printing).

These [vestiges] were created by an editor and used for reproducing images in a variety of governmental agency publications. These artifacts were not originally intended to be seen in this manner, so Kline’s photographs become a historical look at the process and intentions of the editor.



Monica Jahan Bose’s multimedia installation dually reflects the cultural parable of Bangladesh. It stems from an ongoing project she is doing with women on one the smaller islands, Katakhali, and is inspired by her grandmother, who was married at age seven.



Grace Graupe Pillard is exhibiting 22 large-scale portraits of artists and tri-state area figures created between 1984 and 1986. Contemporary life is chronicled through the creation of large cutout pieces, which are installed on multiple walls. The individuals portrayed in these murals feature diverse juxtapositions of age, sex, class, race, and vocation to produce a “human theater of types, gestures and emotions.”



ART: Jade, besides the number of attendees, what would you say is the mission of Open Doors? What can Open Doors bring to the city that makes it all worthwhile?

JL: As I mentioned earlier, Open Doors really is about highlighting the work of our amazing, multidisciplinary arts community and bringing everyone together—artists, curators, gallerists, performers, and others in the creative class—to do what we love: create.

Open Doors has been a real vehicle for change within the arts community in Newark. Many now-permanent spaces in Newark began as pop-up spaces in the early years of Open Doors. That part of the festival — temporary space — is really made possible through the relationships we’ve built with many developers here in the city, the Hanini Group and Berger Organization to name a couple. Getting the buy-in from the business community helps to legitimize the arts and attract new support for the community, which in turn enables us to expand our reach and scope of work, whether that means increasing our marketing, or producing larger public performances or projects (like the Quarter Mile Print projects and other collaborations).

Open Doors demonstrates the true economic impact of the arts, as it brings thousands of people into Newark who dine, shop, use transportation, and patronize local businesses.

Newark’s landscape is changing, both physically and metaphorically. Arts enthusiasts from all backgrounds and locales are excited about what’s happening here, for better or worse. Regardless of the temperature of their feelings about what’s happening in Newark, people are talking, and to me that’s always positive. Everything starts with a dialogue.

To me, Open Doors is like a big conversation, a way for Newarkers and others to engage around arts and culture, putting a vibrant spin on things. As the Newark Arts Council continues to grow the festival and work with the local community, we believe we’re helping the city open itself up to new possibilities and take a seat at the table in the New York metro area.


ART: What exhibits are you most excited about this year? What do you think will really get participants talking? 

JL: There is so much I’m excited about for this year!

Obviously, I’m excited about the collab with The Gateway Project. That space is so big and complex that it allows for anything to happen. Rebecca and Jasmine are such talented women, and I know that everyone will be delighted and surprised by what they experience.

I’m also looking forward to our partnership with Brick City Speaks, a collective of poets who perform monthly at Hell’s Kitchen in the Ironbound. They are working with visual artist Brendan Mahoney to produce two events at a pop-up location on Halsey Street. Their first program is a tribute to Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou (happening Saturday, October 11, at 127 Halsey Street). The second program is called METADATA. It looks at poetry as data, and art as metadata, and brings together artists and poets for something that will be unusual, but hits a real sweet spot in terms of artistic mashups and new concepts and trends.

They’ve also got Dodge poet Catherine Doty in residence for that program, which is super exciting and a great prelude to the upcoming Dodge Poetry Festival (shout out!). I think Brick City Speaks is also a great tie-in to the City of Newark’s “Poetry Month” initiative.

I can’t wait to see the first Open Doors exhibit at Index Art Center’s new location. Their large space has enabled them to host multiple studios, main exhibitions, musical performances and really neat large installations. Seeing how the Market Street hub has come alive is exciting and heartwarming for me. The Newark Print Shop, Gallery Aferro, ECC’s Africana Institute, and SEED Gallery are doing so much to enliven that strip of downtown. I’m thinking about it right now, and realizing how there will be upwards of 100 artists – probably more – showing work and performing in that one area. The Newark Arts Council is so happy to see what started as almost grassroots exhibitors just explode into true anchors of the arts community.


ART: In what ways can people participate in Open Doors besides just attending gallery shows? Any special plans for social media or other ways the crowd can get involved?

JL: Yes! Here’s my shameless plug: we’re holding our first-ever Instagram photo competition. We’re looking for three types of photos: Best Shot of Newark, Best Shot of Artwork/Gallery Installation, and Best Group Shot. The full breakdown of categories and rules can be found here.

To participate, all you need to do is follow @nwkartscouncil on Instagram and tag your photo with #OpenDoorsPhotoContest. We’ll review and select winners once Open Doors is over. We think this is a great way to source photos of the event, see the event from other people’s perspectives, and engage in a visual dialogue with the community.

The best part? We’re giving away $100 to the winner in each category, so you have a chance of winning up to $300! The rules are easy: photos must be posted between October 9th to 19th, you can’t submit a PicStitch or photo collage, and you can’t submit a video. By submitting, you agree to the rules we’ve outlined (see the site).

Outside of that, there’s a public performance held at the Newark Museum at 4:15 on Friday, October 10, involving the work of Dahlia Elsayed. Anyone can participate, and you can find info about that here.

For poets, musicians, singers, and rappers, there’s an open mic night on Saturday, October 11 at Center Stage Cuts. Performers can sign up at the door, and will perform with an award-winning live band!


ART: Any tips on how to make the most out of Open Doors?

JL: First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who is participating, and everyone who’s helping to spread the word.

Definitely come out to the launch party this Thursday, October 9th. There will be live beats by Mello Mel, performances, food and drinks, and the best of the arts community. It’s a great place to get started if you’re not really familiar with Newark and the art scene. It starts at 6, so come after work or class and hang out Newark style!

There is so much to discover, but we’ve designed our maps and shuttle guides to help people feel comfortable and to experience the city as carefree as possible. Everything you need is on our website, and all maps and schedules are available for pick-up at Open Doors Headquarters (at The Gateway Project, 2 Gateway, Main Concourse) and at all participating galleries.

Look out for the orange flags, which mark participating locations, and door signs indicating venue and map number. Pick-up shuttles will be in front of 2 Gateway (Mulberry and Market Streets, across from TD Bank). Volunteers wear bright orange t-shirts that say OPEN DOORS VOLUNTEERS, so if you’re confused or need information, find a volunteer and ask for help, or go to any gallery, and they’ll be able to help you out. We’re a welcoming community doing what we love for the public’s enjoyment!


One stop shop for Open Doors information:

Get in touch with Jade via email:

Connect: On Facebook – | On Instagram – @nwkartscouncil | On Twitter – @newark_arts

Call the council: 973-643-1625


Around the Web: Want to rate your police interactions? Three Georgia teens have an app for that

Three Georgia siblings – high schoolers Caleb, Ima, and Asha Christian – have created an app that lets community members rate their interactions with police. They named their new app "Five-O". Via For Harriet:

Five-O, allows citizens to enter the details of every interaction with a police officer.  It also allows them to rate that officer in terms of courtesy and professionalism and provides the ability to enter a short description of what transpired.  These details are captured for every county in the United States. Citizen race and age information data is also captured. Additionally, Five-O allows citizens to store the details of each encounter with law enforcement; this provides convenient access to critical information needed for legal action or commendation.

The teens were able to build on their skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding to create the app. They say they'll make the app available for download on Android and IOS on Monday, August 18.

Do you agree with these 10 Newark stereotypes?

Real estate website posted a list titled "10 Newark Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate". Among the items on list:

#1: Newarkers are loud and proud of their city

#2: You always know where you stand with a Newarker

#4: Folks in Newark are giant deli snobs

#9: Everyone has accepted that driving to Newark is no walk in the park

Read the full list for the rest. What do think? Anything wrong? Anything missing?

Also, take our Which Newark celebrity are you? quiz.


Booker, Winning Rocky Senate Bid, Gets a Job to Fit His Profile –

Via the New York Times:

Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark easily won New Jersey’s special Senate election on Wednesday, finally rising to an office that measures up to his national profile.

He will arrive in Washington already one of the country’s most prominent Democrats, and its best-known black politician other than President Obama, who backed him aggressively. Mr. Booker’s fund-raising prowess puts him on course to lead his party’s campaign efforts in the Senate, and he has been mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick for 2016.

Continue reading…

Image credit: Flickr user JD Lasica

New Jersey votes. Newark mayor leads.

The New York Times ultimately endorsed Newark mayor Cory Booker for the U.S. Senate Democratic primary, but it acknowledged  nonetheless that New Jerseyans are “lucky to have a choice among four candidates with solid credentials: two with experience in Congress and good voting records; one who has worked hard at the state level on women’s issues, in particular; and one who made a national name for himself by bringing new thinking, honesty and compassion to the hidebound, corrupt and cold city government in Newark.

Here are the cases endorsers made for each of the New Jersey Democratic primary candidates:

Cory Booker: “As mayor, he has lured big money to Newark’s schools — notably a matching grant of $100 million from Mark Zuckerberg, a co-founder of Facebook. And he has worked well with Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, on areas of agreement in crime, development and education. That ability to work with the political opposition could be an asset for Mr. Booker if the ice age of a divided Congress ever ends.” – The New York Times

Rush Holt: “In sharp contrast to some of the other candidates in the primary race, Holt has a record of leadership on women’s and progressive issues. He has been willing to stand up and defend the rights of women, the LGBTQI community, and the hardworking voters in his district, even when it has meant challenging the political status quo.” – New Jersy National Organization for Women

Sheila Oliver: “As dedicated legislator and glass ceiling breaker, Sheila has demonstrated her commitment to issues important to women and families like co-sponsoring the law to create the Department of Children and Families and would continue to bring her passion and advocacy to her work in Washington.” – Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey

Frank Pallone: “When my husband needed help on environmental issues in the House of Representatives, he always knew what to do. He called Frank Pallone. Frank Pallone was the go-to guy who had the experience and know-how to get things done…He and Frank Pallone worked together on cleaning up Superfund and brown field sites, holding polluters accountable, stopping ocean dumping and protecting New Jersey’s beaches.” – Bonnie Lautenberg, widow of former U.S. Senator from New Jersey Frank Lautenberg

To find out where to cast your vote, look up your address in New Jersey’s polling location database.

News roundup: Cory Booker, Silicon Valley, and #waywire

Newark mayor and Senate candidate Cory Booker’s affinity for social technology is well known, and his startup, #waywire, has received a lot more attention in recent days. A roundup of the key news and issues surrounding the company, as well as Booker’s ties to Silicon Valley, starting with the announcement of #waywire 2.0 earlier this spring:

  • “Where do you put the videos you find around the web, and how do they express your identity? #waywire 2.0 aims to be the answer. Co-founded by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and launched nine months ago, #Waywire focused on original and user-generated content.” (TechCrunch) …read more
  • “Mr. Booker personally has obtained money for the start-up, called Waywire, from influential investors, including Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. A year after its debut, Waywire has already endured a round of layoffs and had just 2,207 visitors in June, according to Compete, a Web-tracking service. The company says it is still under development.” (New York Times) …read more
  • “Andrew Zucker, the son of Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, resigned from a board that advises the Newark mayor’s Internet venture.” (New York Times)  …read more
  • “Newark (N.J.) Mayor Corey Booker’s connections to Silicon Valley stretch back to his days at Stanford. Now he’s a co-investor with Google’s Eric Schmidt, holding a stake worth $1 million to $5 million in video curation startup Waywire.” (Biz Journals) …read more
  • “Part of Booker’s political success has stemmed from his connections and adaptability in the media age, and his involvement in the startup was not, it seems, anything he has tried to hide.” (Policy Mic) …read more
  • “Mayor Cory Booker, who is seeking a United States Senate seat in New Jersey, should disclose the full details of his involvement in an Internet start-up.” (New York Times)  …read more


The New York Times Endorses Booker

The New York Times editorial board:

Voters in the Democratic primary in New Jersey on Aug. 13 for the United States Senate are lucky to have a choice among four candidates with solid credentials: two with experience in Congress and good voting records; one who has worked hard at the state level on women’s issues, in particular; and one who made a national name for himself by bringing new thinking, honesty and compassion to the hidebound, corrupt and cold city government in Newark.


Image courtesy Flickr user Kars4Kids

Winfrey to hold NJ fundraiser for Dem Cory Booker –

Oprah Winfrey is holding a fundraiser for Democratic Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker’s bid for the U.S. Senate. Tickets for Thursday’s event in Jersey City range from $1,000 to $2,600. …read more

Source: Winfrey to hold NJ fundraiser for Dem Cory Booker –

Image credit: Flickr user Lwp Kommunikáció

Violent Rain, Peaceful People: Newark’s 8th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival – AllHipHop

Newark, New Jersey is going through a transformation for the better and it is being aided by its still prominent music scene. The three-day Lincoln Park Music Festival culminated on Sunday (July 28th) with a gathering of Hip Hop … …read more

Source: Violent Rain, Peaceful People: Newark’s 8th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival – AllHipHop