Play Pacman on the streets of Newark

Did you know you can now convert a Google Map into a game of Pac-Man? We decided to play near Springfield Avenue and Bergen Streets.

Visit to play our map. Tag on Facebook (, Twitter (@brickcitylive), or Instagram (@brickcitylive) with your score. Winner gets a gift card for two to Monk Room — you’ll need to include a screenshot to qualify.


The Gateway Project: Expanding art opportunities in Newark

Newark, NJ – The Gateway Project today officially announced the expansion of its program from temporary pop-up gallery to permanent arts hub.
With the support of C&K Properties, the Gateway Project will expand from a 14,000 sq exhibition to a nearly 50,000 square foot facility that includes sixty rentable artist studios, an artist residency program, and a gallery space. The revamped facility is slated to open on April 30, 2015.
The occasion will be ushered in with the opening of the Gateway Gallery’s first exhibition in the new gallery space, Color Polemics: Exploring Conversations of Race, Art, and Politics in America. Further information about the opening festivities and exhibition will be released throughout April. The opening reception and ribbon cutting will take place on April 30, 2015 from 6 – 9 PM.
“We are thrilled to be expanding opportunities for artists and creative businesses not only at a local level, but by opening more doors with connections nationally and internationally as well,” said Rebecca Jampol, co-director of The Gateway Project. “The Gateway Project will be a resourceful arts complex for the City of Newark, comparable to that which one would find in New York City.”
The Gateway Project Expansion is not only marked by an increase in physical space, but also a vast growth in programs, and opportunities for multidisciplinary artists. The new facility will span over three floors in the Gateway Two Center, which attaches to Newark’s Penn Station. Within this expanse The Gateway Project will offer affordable studios to artists and cultural practitioners. Studio tenants will be provided with a diverse array of significant amenities including: 24 hour indoor access to Newark Penn Station’s transportation systems (PATH, NJ Transit, Amtrak, LightRail); 24 hour access to secure and monitored studio facilities; high speed WiFi internet; and temperature controlled studios. In addition to building and facility amenities, The Gateway Project is also cultivating bi-monthly open studio events, and a program for artists to interface with visiting critics, curators, and collectors.
The Gateway Project’s non-profit arm will be organized through its partner organization, Project for Empty Space, which aims to create spaces and programs that address social issues and inspire social discourse through contemporary art. The Gateway Project Gallery and Residency Program exist within this arena, and directly address this mission.
“The Gateway Project has invigorated previously empty, underutilized space in the heart of downtown Newark,” said Jasmine Wahi, co-director of The Gateway Project. “The gallery and studios will play an important role in helping to continue moving forward the renaissance happening here in Newark. Art is inspiring and we are proud that our residency programs will have community outreach components in place to engage students, residents, workforces and visitors year-round.”
The Gateway Project Residency Program and Gallery Space is for mid-career to established artists whose practices work within the context of social engagement. Participants are selected biannually and will present an exhibition in the Gateway Project Gallery at the conclusion of their residency. The first cycle of participating artists will be announced in mid-April.
The Gateway Project is directed by Jasmine Wahi, an independent curator and co-founder of the Project For Empty Space, based in New York City, and Rebecca Jampol, who founded both The Gateway Project and Solos Project House, both based in Newark.

All the world’s a stage: Solo play ‘American Moor’ explores the inner life of a black man

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In our first-ever podcast, I sat down at Newark’s Alva Tavern in late March to discuss the solo play American Moor with the man who authored it and is currently performing it, Keith Hamilton Cobb.

Some might know Daytime Emmy-nominated Cobb from his roles on shows like All My Children and Andromeda, but Cobb has been interested in, studied, and intensively trained in many aspects of performance art since his youth. Cobb brought many of those talents to bear on his solo play, which will open for a 12-show run in New York City at the The Wild Project starting April 21.

American Moor explores the inner life of a black man auditioning for Shakespeare’s Othello, and in the process unpacks themes of race, theater craft, and the human complexity black men are often asked to sand down for audiences who don’t understand them.

Cobb drew the script from his experience auditioning for another Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and being denied the opportunity to act out the complex angles of a character he knew very well. Seeing that as a metaphor for how we’re all often asked to “perform” in our actual lives, Cobb wrote American Moor. Like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it’s something of a play within a play, with Cobb delivering lines from Othello, but in the modern context of a working actor fighting for a role.

During our conversation, we discussed his play and the contemporary themes around race and identity in America it addresses, his appraisal of his career to date, his creative aspirations in a world where new media platforms open up exciting possibilities, and black actors’ place within the modern Hollywood scene.

Purchase tickets for American Moor
Visit our location sponsor, Alva Tavern

April 4, 2015: This podcast has been edited and condensed from its original version

#NewarkToLondon: Travel maven Madeline Boughton personally funds Newark students’ London trip

Six Newark public high school students are spending spring break in London, an all-expense-paid weeklong trip made possible by the diligence – and the 401(k) funds – of one passionate Newark native.

“No one is talking to children in Newark public schools about travel,” said Madeline Boughton, the trip’s organizer and primary benefactor.

At the age of 31, Boughton has traveled to 21 countries, camped out in the Sahara, and spent two years in Paris earning her Master’s degree. While she credits her parents with instilling a love of travel, she says discussions about studying abroad were nonexistent in high school.

Boughton has since become an outspoken advocate for the inclusion of international travel programs in urban school districts. Her platform has taken her door-to-door, visiting public high schools throughout the city where, she admits, several principals have flat out rebuffed her offers to speak with students.

“Sometimes they tell me no,” Boughton says. “They say we have to focus on graduation, and getting a job, and going to college. It’s not something we have time for.”

But she is hoping – “gambling” may be the better word – that this trip will inspire school leadership to shift their perspective. That is why she has invested $12,000 of her own money to make the trip happen. Without any corporate or philanthropic sponsors, Boughton initially turned to crowdfunding to cover the cost of airfare, hotel fees, and food. But when a two-month Indiegogo campaign only yielded $2,330, she withdrew the rest of the money from her own 401(k).

Madeline Boughton pitches the benefits of a weeklong London trip for Newark high school students in a video posted to Indiegogo. After the $25,000 campaign yielded just $2,300 in donations, Boughton funded the rest of the trip out-of-pocket.

“I was really stressed out and worried because I really didn’t want to cancel the trip, because I didn’t want to let the children down,” she said.

For their part, the students themselves were excited as the trip got underway. “The wait in Newark airport seemed like a couple minutes, it’s amazing how time flies when you’re excited,” blogged Joshua Skillern, a junior at Technology High school, as the trip got underway on March 29. “When we boarded the plane, none of us could keep quiet.”

With the help of an essay contest, Boughton hand-selected Skillern and four other high-achieving Newark high school sophomores last spring.  All honors students, the London entourage boasts two Rutgers Future Scholars, an NJIT Upward Bound student, and several athletes.

The itinerary includes touring Wimbledon and attending a Royal Shakespeare Company production. Students will also spend three days at Wroxton College, Fairleigh Dickinson’s satellite location in London, and the site of Boughton’s study abroad experience as an undergraduate. There, they will further explore Anglo-American cultural differences.

“We’ll be giving the kids that are coming over guidance about what it is they are seeing, some of the differences they may encounter, and why those differences are there,” said Dr. Nicholas Baldwin, dean at Wroxton College.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that international travel programs are absent from the curricula of Newark’s traditional public high schools. In a district where school administrators are saddled with addressing grave realities like low test scores and graduation rates, and where there’s been confusion and wrangling over the controversial “One Newark” school district reorganization plan, it’s easy to understand how a weeklong trip overseas could seem extraneous to school administrators, if not downright frivolous.

But in spite of both the steep monetary requirements and competition with more pressing priorities, access to excursions abroad for Newark students could be worth the effort in the long run, offering a global outlook for students who are inheriting an increasingly connected world where unprecedented global competition is a reality.

With this trip under her belt as a proof-of-concept, Boughton says she will seek the funding and support required to take a group of Newark high school students overseas every year.

 To read more about Boughton’s endeavors, see pictures from the trip, and read student blog posts, visit

ayesha fainesAyesha K. Faines is a North Jersey-based writer and television journalist. Her non-fiction work explores millennial entrepreneurship, personal development, and the intersection of race and popular culture. A self-proclaimed “afromantic”, she also enjoys writing romantic fiction and poetry. She blogs regularly at and tweets @ayeshakfaines.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Madeline Boughton invested $23,000 of her own money into the students’ trip. In fact, she invested $12,000.

#GiveNewark: Volunteers needed to support a greener, healthier Newark

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a farmer? Thinking about sowing some seeds when the weather warms up? There are lots of volunteer opportunities at Greater Newark Conservancy’s Hawthorne Hawks Healthy Harvest Farm, Court Street Farm, Outdoor Learning Center on Prince Street, plus community and school gardens citywide. No experience is necessary and individuals or groups aged 12 and older are invited to pitch in with chores like planting, weeding, harvesting and more.

For example, open volunteer days are typically held the fourth Saturday of each month at the farm on Hawthorne Avenue in the City’s South Ward starting in March and running through October (March 28, April 25, May 30, June 27, July 25, August 22, September 26 and October 24.) The schedule runs from 10:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m., and volunteers are welcome to work for part of the day or the entire day.

“Volunteering together is an excellent way to build teams, trust, learn something new or just have fun,” noted Robin Dougherty, the Conservancy’s Executive Director. “Volunteers also earn the satisfaction of helping to grow and harvest delicious and nutritious food right here in Newark and help make the city a greener and healthier place.”

The Conservancy has already started booking volunteer groups for spring. Please email if you’d like to schedule a day to volunteer individually or with your co-workers for a corporate day of service, social group, friends, or family or if you need more information. Whether it’s five people or fifty five, the Conservancy can use your help! For open volunteer days, groups of ten or more are asked to call ahead.  

For more information about Greater Newark Conservancy’s programs and services, or to make a donation, call 973.642.4646 or visit You can also follow news from the Conservancy through social media at and Twitter at @Citybloom87.

Art review: ‘Pebble Drinkers’ exhibition is easy to swallow

Entering “The Pebble Drinkers” is akin to being immersed in a three-dimensional Rorschach Test. This group show at Gallery Aferro is comprised of work replete with symbols and associations that tell us much about the artists’ experiences and beliefs, while simultaneously eliciting psychological responses from the viewer. The exhibition encompasses a range of media and narratives. Each artist employs their own clearly developed lexicon that expresses different concerns manifested in a rich array of visuals. The glue that holds this exhibition together is the application of these artistic vocabularies, bridging the gap between the wildly divergent media and themes.

Stephanie Williams’ “Ernie’s Self-Edit” is an amalgam of sewn forms arranged over a wooden armature. This loosely defined figure seems disemboweled; spilling an assemblage of cascading textiles resembling intestines, female reproductive organs and sausage links. The macabre sentiment is offset by the bright color palette and ornamental stitching that heightens the tension between allure and disgust. Williams’ goal is to make reflective objects that are collections of ideas and senses born of her own experience, while leaving room for the viewer to insert their own.


Corwin Levi’s stream of consciousness mixed media pieces on panel read like schematic drawings. They are concomitantly maps, medical diagrams or molecular charts. Densely overlaid with text and image, they provide a hazy, hypnagogic terrain for viewers to unravel. The modest scale beseeches earnest looking and thus implicates viewers in the act of deciphering the clues held within their nebulous confines. The density of imagery and text is deftly offset by the simple elegance of the black lines set atop a mostly neutral ground.

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A.V. Ryan’s Gravitas series of sculptures provides a respite from the busy quality of Willams and Levi’s work, but are no less effective in eliciting a strong emotional response. These elegant white forms, set atop pedestals, draw upon long-standing traditions of sculpture with allusions to the body and draperies. Approximating the sensual Modernist figures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, upon closer inspection these bodies melt into deflated abstraction. This push-pull of absence and presence is haunting and seductive.

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“The Pebble Drinkers” provides much sustenance for the psyche, nourishing it with a plenitude of ideas, symbols and experiences. In this Freudian landscape of objects swirling throughout Gallery Aferro, viewers may come away with varied meanings, but according to Stephanie Williams, the artists are working not only with their personal experiences, but also those of the viewer. She noted, “We are the result of a collection of experiences.” These wide-ranging expressions of experience leave plenty of psychological ground for audiences to navigate. Indeed, the main strength of the show is that it solicits viewer input of the content, rather than demanding passive receipt, to make this show function poignantly and effectively.

Jeanne Brasile is an independent curator and artist. She is currently the Director of Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery and teaches in the university’s Graduate Program of Museum Professions. She can be contacted at

The Pebble Drinkers is on view at Gallery Aferro through March 28th. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, noon to 6pm. There will be a closing reception coinciding with the gallery’s twice-annual open studios and resident artist talks. For more information contact:

Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center this Mother’s Day Weekend

The McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center Saturday, May 9, 2015. Produced and directed by Emmy Award-winning Producer A. Curtis Farrow, Gospelfest is a talent competition and concert that features the wide-ranging abilities of its performers.

Kicking off at 3 p.m., the competition includes rising stars competing in a variety of categories, including Soloists, Youth Choirs, Adult Choirs, Praise Dancers, Steppers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. Previous Gospelfest participants have gone on to successful careers in entertainment, including the Bishop Hezekiah Walker.

Walker will perform at the gospel concert that begins at at 6 p.m., along with other top choirs and performers including Ricky Dillard, Bishop Hezekiah Walker & LFC, Mighty Clouds of Joy, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mississippi Mass Choir,  Cissy Houston, The Clark Sisters, and a special performance by Faith Evans.

Tickets to Gospelfest are on sale now and can be purchased at Prudential Center’s Box Office or via Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000 or

Free event at NJPAC to highlight black women’s Newark migration stories

The Newark History Society’s next program, “Open Up the Door, I’ll Get it Myself: Migration Stories of Newark’s African American Women,” will take place on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 6:00pm in the Chase Room at NJPAC.  The Women’s Association of NJPAC’s Cultural Legacy Committee is co-sponsoring this program.
Drawing on oral histories, Linda Caldwell Epps will discuss the great migration of blacks from the South in the last century.  Dr. Epps is the president and CEO of 1804 Consultants and the former director of the New Jersey Historical Society.
This program is open to the public at no charge, and light refreshments will be available.

Seating is limited — RSVP by March 10 by replying to this email ( or by calling 973.376.8273. Parking is available in NJPAC Lots A and C and the Military Park Garage for $2 with validation available at the program.

#GiveNewark: Newark Police Department seeks volunteers for the Domestic Violence Response Team

From the Newark Police Department:

“Newark Police Department, in conjunction with Rachel Coalition the Safe House, is establishing a team of specially-trained volunteer advocates available to meet confidentially with victims of domestic violence at police headquarters 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. The volunteer advocates, who are civilian members of the community, work in conjunction with the police to provide support, information, and referrals to victims of domestic violence at police headquarters. The advocates also discuss with the victim their legal rights in regards to obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order.

“D.V.R.T. volunteers, whose identities are kept anonymous, are trained to empower victims to make decisions about their own lives and link them with needed resources such as the Essex County Family Center, where multiple agencies provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence in one location.

“Applicants must be 25 years of age or older, have access to transportation, possess a valid driver’s license, be willing to serve on an on-call shift basis, and submit to background investigations and fingerprinting.

“A 40-hour intensive mandatory training will be provided to successful applicants. The Rachel Coalition will be conducting a training beginning in the Montclair area. Prior knowledge of domestic violence is not necessary.”

Domestic Violence Liaisons:
Detective Erica Silva-Lopez and Sergeant Ricardo Maldonado
Newark Police Department
Special Victims Section
22 Franklin Street, 2nd Floor
Newark, NJ 07104
973-286-3890 ext. 213

View from the top: “Innovators’ Rooftop Happy Hour” takes tonight at Skylab 

The Innovators’ Rooftop Happy Hour, hosted by former city council candidate Rashawn Davis, will take place tonight, February 19, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the rooftop bar at the new Hotel Indigo on Broad Street. The event’s invite bills it as an “opportunity to network and the chance meet fellow innovators during Happy Hour.” Those who planned to attend are asked to RSVP on Facebook, and to use hashtag #InnovatorsHH on social media.

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