Review: ‘She Speaks’ exhibit in Gallery Aferro’s Activate Market Street installation

The show “She Speaks” is three installations by three artists: Mollie Thonneson, Patricia- Aries Reynolds and Adebunmi Gbadebo.

Newark Museum acquires painting by Gallery Aferro resident artist Jo-El Lopez

Jo-El Lopez, artist-in-residence at Gallery Aferro, had a painting acquired by Newark Museum.

Newark art galleries will throw open their doors this weekend with series of “Open Studios” events

A number of Newark art spaces will invite locals to exhibit openings and closings, performances, and artist talks this upcoming Saturday, April 1st, as they throw open their doors for Spring Open Studios events.

In “Speak My Mind” exhibit, reframing black women both as subjects and creators

Discussing themes from the Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival exhibit “Speak My Mind: A Narrative Series on Black Women Artists in America” with curator N. Musinguzi.

5 Questions: Lauren Craig on what to expect from this weekend’s Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival

A weekend showcase of art and artists kicked off in Newark on Wednesday and will scale up throughout this weekend. We spoke to Newark Arts’ Lauren Craig about what to expect from this year’s 15th Annual Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival.

Be a part of Newark’s annual citywide arts festival. Opens Doors is looking for proposals.

opportunities cardOn the heels of their annual meeting and reception, the Newark Arts Council has officially released their invitation for participation in the 15th annual Open Doors Citywide Arts festival, the series of art-related events that draws thousands to Newark each fall to take in visual, performing, and literary art in the city.

That invitation comes in the form of open calls for five distinct categories of programming. In addition to the call for established galleries and museums to list their Open Doors-related exhibits and events, the Newark Arts Council is soliciting participation by individual artists, art studios, and those who would like to propose and execute special projects and events.

This year the festival, which runs from October 20th through October 23rd, will be produced collaboratively by the Newark Arts Council and Gallery Aferro. It promises to be a banner year for the festival, which also coincides with Newark Celebration 350, a yearlong celebration of the city’s 350th anniversary, and the biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry festival, which is the largest such festival in North America. Artists living and working both in and outside of Newark are welcome to respond to the open call. All proposals are due to Evonne Davis (opendoors@newarkarts.org) by August 1st at 5 p.m.

See the details for Open Calls below.

Artist Opportunity

This call is for individual artists who want to be considered for exhibition and other opportunities,
2016 Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival NAC Announces Five Open Calls for Participation June 14, 2016 including curator review, during Newark Open Doors. Opportunities for individual artists include consideration for curated exhibits, access to temporary space in which you can individually showcase your work, art fair/project style during October 20-23, and having your artwork shared with curators.

Submission of this form does not guarantee you space. Please submit works that are representative of what you would showcase during October. Incomplete applications, work that has been exhibited during Open Doors in previous years, and works older than 3 years will not be reviewed or considered. Works will be insured under the Newark Arts Council’s policy during the time they are on view in the exhibition space. The Newark Arts Council provides no support for preparation of work, i.e. framing, wiring, any related supplies or transportation. Works submitted must be ready for display.

Special Projects

This call is for people who want to create pop up exhibits, either in spaces you already have access to, or in spaces that you get access to by working with the Newark Arts Council. Proposals can be from Newark-affiliated culture workers, or from culture workers outside of Newark.

All pop up exhibits fully registered by the deadline will be included in promotional listings. Pop ups are defined here as exhibits that take place in temporary or non-traditional spaces.

We are requiring ALL exhibitions, including pop ups, to have consistent minimum hours that they are open, in an effort to improve the Open Doors visitor experience. The Gallery Crawl will be Friday, October 21 from 5-9pm, Saturday, October 22 hours should be at minimum, 12-6pm and Sunday, October 23 Open Studio hours should be at minimum 12-5pm.

The Newark Arts Council will provide insurance.

Open Studios

This call is for Newark artists who have studios and will have them open on Sunday, October 23rd.

We are requiring everyone to have consistent minimum hours as follows – Sunday, October 23 11am-4pm. The reputation and potential of the entire festival rests upon positive visitor experiences, thus we must provide them with accurate and trustworthy information about when they can visit spaces.

The images and information gathered in this form will be used actively by NAC staff to promote artists’ studios and the festival, including via a social media campaign featuring exhibits and artists. Please supply images that you feel great about!

Call for Events and Event Proposals

This call is for galleries and individuals to list and/or propose public programs and events for Open Doors 2016. Events can be, but are not limited to, screenings, workshops, artist talks, performances, readings, concerts, happenings, etc.

Please indicate if you have a space in which to hold your event, or if you want to hold an event but are looking for a space in which to hold it. We cannot guarantee space for events but are working to connect event producers with available spaces.

Open Doors Contact: Evonne Davis — opendoors@newarkarts.org or 862-234-5782

Newark Arts Council announced new collaborations and opportunities for artists at Prudential Center event

art cardYesterday evening, the Newark Arts Council announced upcoming initiatives and artist opportunities at its 2016 Annual Meeting and Reception, which was held in a ground-level event room at the Prudential Center.

The announcements included recipients of the council’s ArtStart grants. Now in its 15th year, the ArtStart program has made more than 150 grant awards ranging from $500 to $3,000 and totaling more than $400,000. This year’s list of recipients includes Newark Print Shop’s Print Club and the Rafael Hernandez School’s Look Out World Immersion Murals. The grantees will receive funding to continue their programs and projects and ultimately stimulate arts and cultural activity in the city’s neighborhoods and local schools. (See a full list of grantees below.)

Daniel Cherry, III, who is Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer of both the Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils, welcomed the group and emphasized collaboration as a key to continue growing the arts in Newark. Cherry also underscored the Prudential Center’s commitment to the arts in Newark, noting that the organization will continue to be “a patron, resource, and friend” to the city’s arts community.

Newark Arts Council’s newly minted Executive Director Jeremy Johnson then highlighted this year’s upcoming Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival, which will coincide with the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and the continuing celebration of Newark’s 350th anniversary. The annual festival, which will occur from October 20th to October 23rd this year, is known to attract thousands of art enthusiasts to Newark for a variety of open gallery events and exhibits.

According to Gallery Aferro Director and Open Doors partner Emma Wilcox, this year’s festival will center on creating a unique user experience for visitors, promoting cultural tourism, and engaging the community. To encourage the latter, the Newark Arts Council has listed an open call for artists, galleries and event proposals on their website. Interested parties can submit proposals for special events during the weekend-long festival, or nominate artists to participate.

“The arts are thriving and we have to make sure they stay a part of Newark,” said Johnson. “We have to work with outside forces and inside forces to fight for the artists. It’s not a given in every city that as cities grow and get better artists stay at the core, and we have to make sure that happens in Newark.”

ArtStart grantees:


Visit the Newark Art Council’s website to nominate artists, galleries, open studios and special projects for the 2016 Open Doors Festival. The Council announced in April that it had received a historic $1 million grant from the Prudential Foundation.

Gallery opening will feature photography work by homeless men and women in Newark

art cardPhotojournalist, muralist and filmmaker Akintola Hanif, founder and editor-in-chief of Hycide magazine, worked for ten weeks with homeless men and women in Newark to train and mentor them as they documented their lives and surroundings in photographs.

Tonight, a selection of those photographs will go on exhibit with the opening of “We Are Forever: Images Through the Eyes of Homeless Photographers” at Gallery Aferro (73 Market Street). The exhibit will run through June 11.

The project began with Bridges, an organization that operates in Newark, Irvington, Summit, and New York City and has provided services to homeless men and women for nearly thirty years. In June of 2015, Bridges won the Newark Arts Council’s ArtStart award. Bridges used the grant to fund digital cameras, and worked with Hanif, who has for years forged relationships with and documented the lives of homeless men and women in his own work, to teach them photography and photojournalism skills.

This model has been tried in other cities, often with stunning results. Homeless photographers in New York have had their work displayed at the city’s Department of Homeless Services, and a group of homeless and former homeless men and women staff a magazine in Oklahoma City. Projects in Washington, D.C. and Nashville put cameras and composition skills in the hands of homeless children.

Read about any of these projects, and it’s clear that photography instruction is important but secondary. The primary mission is to help give homeless men, women and children the skills to develop and project their own voices and visions, and to build empathy born of respect for homeless people’s agency among the broader community.

For Hanif, relationships were at the core of the “We Are Forever” project as well. “[The] Hycide Bridges photography program has been my most humbling and fulfilling experience in my entire career as a photographer,” said Hanif, according to a statement from the Newark Arts Council about the exhibit. “I don’t see my students as homeless people. I see them for their hearts and intentions and that is the place we connected from.”

The photographs featured in the exhibit will also be available for sale via Bridges’ website, and all proceeds will benefit the photographers.


“We Are Forever: Images Through the Eyes of Homeless Photographers” opens at Gallery Aferro (73 Market Street, Newark) on Thursday, March 26th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and runs through June 11. The exhibit and opening are free and open to the public.

Image source: Bridges homepage