Acclaimed activist and writer Kevin Powell joins Newark-based organizations to help high school students create blueprint for postsecondary success

Internationally acclaimed writer and activist Kevin Powell will provide the keynote address at an inaugural high school student symposium expected to draw 200 students, parents, and stakeholders.  The event, a collaboration between the North Jersey Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, United Way of Essex and West Hudson, and Rutgers University-Newark, is scheduled for Saturday, October 25, 2014 at the Paul Robeson Student Center at Rutgers University-Newark. Themed “2014 Blueprint for Success: Preparing for College Work & Beyond”, the symposium is free and open to all high school students in grades 9-12 and parents.

Powell will address students and parents from greater Essex County as part of the ongoing work to demystify the college admission and financial aid processes, decrease the high school dropout rate, and expand post-secondary options. A Jersey City native, Powell is the author of 11 books and has also traveled the world speaking at academic institutions such as Stanford University, New York Institute of Technology, and American University in Nigeria.

“Going back to New Jersey to speak in front of students who are just like I was, is a great opportunity for me to empower them to create the life and career they want for themselves,” explained Powell.  “Too often, students underestimate the value of their own minds, while the adults and educators in their lives fail to stress the importance of being a lifelong learner, whether or not you’re in the formal education system.”

The schedule for the day also includes workshops led by Bowie State University professor, Dr. Granville M. Sawyer, Jr.; NJ LEEP Executive Director, Matthew Feinstein; New Jersey Author, Natasha Scott and others. Attendees will engage with a variety of education professionals, college recruiters, as well as representatives from the Armed Forces and technical schools.

“We have secured renowned experts and speakers to ensure students and parents who attend have an experience that is informational and inspirational,” explained Robyn Pitts, Program Director for 2014 Blueprint to Success. “Students need to know that whether they choose to go on to college, the military, or right to work they must obtain some form of post-secondary training or education to achieve success.”

According to a 2012 survey of 4,000 hiring managers, conducted by Achieve and the Society for Human Resource Management, 32% acknowledge that they “always” or “most of the time” hire employees with educational credentials above a high school diploma for jobs that — as posted — require only a high school diploma, with another 53% saying they do so “some of the time.”

Although the North Jersey Chapter of The Links, Inc., the United Way and Rutgers-Newark all work to further education initiatives throughout Essex county, this event marks the first time the three entities have collaborated to produce an event focused on providing comprehensive support for students and parents.

“Partnering with The Links and Rutgers made perfect sense because transforming the educational landscape in our community is a huge undertaking, one that can only be achieved through true collaboration and strategic partnerships,” said Catherine Wilson, Senior Director of Community Impact and Strategy at United Way of Essex and West Hudson. “Events like this move us closer to our 10-Year Education goal of cutting the number of high school dropouts in half and increasing the high school graduation rate to 87%.”

Research shows that nationally, high school graduates who do not obtain addition education or technical training face mostly dead-end career prospects. Regardless of the pathway students choose following their graduation from high school,  2014 Blueprint for Success will provide information, resources,  and tools so that they can begin to develop their plan for successfully transitioning to their next stage.

 

Newark high school students selected for London trip. Now, organizer looks to rally Newarkers to get the group across the pond

This summer, Newark native and travel consultant Madeline Boughton announced that she’d be launching an application for six Newark high school students to travel to London for an “immersive learning excursion”, a campaign she hopes will turn the students into global citizens and lifelong travelers. As part of her Newark-based Traveling Mad consultancy, Boughton extols the benefits of international travel to youth in and around Newark.

Boughton has now selected the six high school students and kicked off the fundraising phase of her initiative. On Tuesday, she hosted a benefit reception at Newark’s Studio58 in honor of the six students. But Boughton says the vast majority of the $25,000 needed to fund the trip will come from donations from Newarkers themselves, who she hopes to marshal through her recently launched Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

The six selected students are Amanda Dominguez and Karla Perez Estrella from Barringer STEAM, Adrian Morquecho and Joshua Skillern from Technology High School, Brianna Wilson from Shabazz High School, and Tamaj Nicholson from North 13th Street Tech. As a group, the students boast a litany of honors and recognition for academics and extracurricular activities. Among them is a National Honor Society member, Rutgers Future Scholar, NJIT Upward Bound student, a poet, an avid skateboarder and BMX biker, and a number of student government leaders and student-athletes.

In the campaign video, which features the selected students themselves, Boughton says, “When I was in high school, I wish I was given an opportunity such as this, but no one spoke to me about studying abroad,” and later adds that while she is “not the first Newarker who has traveled abroad,” the goal of the trip is to make sure more young Newarkers can do the same.

group selfie

Madeline Boughton poses with four of the six Newark high school students selected for the London trip.

Dean and Director of Operations at England’s Wroxton College, where the students will be staying for the first leg of their trip, voiced over a section of the video, saying, “I’m delighted [Boughton] created this trip to give such a great opportunity to high school students from Newark. I very much look forward to having Madeline and her group here at Wroxton.”

Boughton has partnered with the Mayor’s Office of International Relations and Diaspora Affairs (MOIRDA), the Believe in Newark Foundation, Newark Social, and EMQ Networks on the project. Deputy mayor of MOIRDA Ugo Nwaokoro said the trip “is in line with Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s vision of exposing Newark youth to other cultures and countries.”

A list of the activities included in the trip is below. The crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the trip closes on December 1.

Total cost for 8 people, 1 week: $25,000

  • Airfare & baggage fees, EWR to LHR: $8,200
  • Hotel fees for 1 week: $6,843
  • Educational & tourist activities: $1,752
  • Transportation: $2,800
  • Meals: $2,400
  • Travel Insurance $500
  • Emergency and miscellaneous $1,000

 

 

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.

OpenDoors_Nickkline

 

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.

OpenDoors_MonicaJahanBose

 

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.”

OpenDoors_GraceGraupePillard

 

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: www.newarkarts.org/opendoors

Get in touch with Jade via email: jade@newarkarts.org

Connect: On Facebook – facebook.com/nwkartscouncil | On Instagram – @nwkartscouncil | On Twitter – @newark_arts

Call the council: 973-643-1625

 

Newark Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program participants’ handmade products now available for sale

Aspiring Newark creative entrepreneurs recently participated in craft entrepreneurship classes offered by Etsy, the largest online marketplace for handmade goods. Per their website:

Over the past few years, the Etsy community — a global online network of independent artists and designers — have been pioneering a new model for economic prosperity. In a recent survey we conducted with 5,500 US sellers, 74% consider their Etsy shops businesses. As middle-skill, middle-wage jobs continue to decline, Etsy sellers represent an encouraging shift towards using manufacturing skills to generate supplemental income and flexible employment.

Now the handmade items from some of those creative entrepreneurs are available on Etsy’s website. You can visit the Newark entrepreneur page on Etsy.com to like, share, or purchase their handmade wares.

 

Newswire: Greater Newark Conservancy to host fall block party

Celebrate the season in Greater Newark Conservancy’s Outdoor Learning Center with lush gardens in the heart of Newark at the annual Fall Block Party, Saturday, October 11th from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m., 32 Prince Street between Springfield Avenue and South Orange Avenue.

Enjoy free entertainment, raffles and door prizes plus lots of family-friendly activities.  Crafts for kids, face painting, pumpkin decorating and a children’s scavenger hunt will add to the fun. Adults will enjoy fresh local produce for purchase from the Conservancy’s Youth Farm Stand, bulb sales and gardening demonstrations, an array of vendors as well as free food samples including a wide variety of apples, pies and freshly churned butter.

Founded in 1987, Greater Newark Conservancy’s mission is to promote environmental stewardship to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s urban communities through environmental education, community gardening, beautification of neighborhoods, job training opportunities and environmental justice.

For more Fall Block Party information, including rain cancellation updates, or information about programs, services, volunteer opportunities or to make a donation, contact Greater Newark Conservancy at 973-642-4646 or visit CityBloom.org. For news about the Conservancy, follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/greaternewarkconservancy, plus Twitter and Instagram @Citybloom87.

Newark’s Open Doors art festival kicks off on October 9

Newark’s annual Open Doors art festival kicks off on October 9, and boasts a calendar full of exhibits and panels in 40 venues featuring visual, performing, and literary art, according to Open Doors’ website. The theme for Open Doors this year will be “literary greats”.

The festival will kick off with a party at Open Doors’ headquarters, located in the Gateway Project’s art gallery in 2 Gateway Center. The gallery will feature its Prologue-Epilogue exhibit during Open Doors.

Other special projects coinciding with Open Doors include Brick City Speaks, a poetry series honoring Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou, and Sanctuary, a series of talks exploring Newark’s LGBT club scene.

 

CityPlex12 to screen documentary detailing Ras Baraka’s first 100 days in office

Newark’s CityPlex12 movie theater will host a documentary screening detailing Ras Baraka’s first 100 days in office. Per the city’s official calendar:

Join Mayor Ras J. Baraka at this video screening to see firsthand what your new administration has planned and accomplished in its first 100 Days in office. Everything that this administration has done in these first three months has been to provide better service to you—the residents of Newark. Meet and greet the Mayor Baraka following the viewing.

The screening will take place at the theater on Wednesday, October 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available on EventBrite. The documentary will air on the same day and time on both NWK-TV, Cablevision channel 78 and FiOS channel 28.

NJIT ranked third among U.S. public research universities for mid-career earnings in new PayScale report

New Jersey Institute of Technology ranked third among all public research universities in the U.S. for mid-career earnings/salary of graduates with a bachelor’s degree, according to PayScale’s latest college salary report.

NJIT’s ranking places it behind only University of California-Berkeley and Georgia Institute of Technology for mid-career earnings in the public research university category.

The 2014-2015 PayScale College Salary Report ranks undergraduate and two-year colleges by the highest-earning graduates. PayScale found that the mid-career median salary of an NJIT graduate with a bachelor’s degree is $103,200.

PayScale is an online compensation database. All data used to produce PayScale’s rankings were collected from employees who completed PayScale’s employee survey. Early-career starting salary data for each school was derived from surveys of full-time employees with five years of experience or fewer in their career or field who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees. Mid-career salary data was derived from surveys of full-time employees with at least 10 years of experience in their career or field who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees. For more information, view PayScale’s full college salary report.

Duke’s Southern Table’s menu is live. Preview the southern cuisine with a twist at Newark’s new jazz supper club

The menu of Duke’s Southern Table, the upscale restaurant and jazz supper club at 11 Clinton Street downtown Newark, is up on reservation website OpenTable.com. From the restaurant overview on the site:

Duke’s Southern Table, an upscale restaurant experience with live entertainment located in Downtown Newark, New Jersey, represents the sophisticated swag of urban elegance, with a flair for southern style dining & hospitality. Duke’s will offer a musical experience that embodies the soulful sounds of jazz, aimed to inspire & keep you coming back for more…Southern fare six days a week with a foot stompin’ soul stirrin’ brunch on Sunday afternoons.

The dinner menu features traditional southern and American cuisine with a twist, including fried green tomato sliders, pork spare ribs with strawberry glaze, and crab cakes with ginger grits. Their lunch menu also features a fair share of soups and salads – ideal for the corporate clientele in the downtown office buildings located within blocks of the Clinton Street restaurant, which takes over the location formerly inhabited by Scully’s Publick House.

Duke’s Southern Table is a collaboration between Vonda McPherson, chef and owner of the eponymous Vonda’s Kitchen on West Kinney Street in Newark, and real estate investor Paul Profeta.  See Duke’s full menu below:

 

A traveler’s Newark: McGovern’s Tavern is an 80-year-old Newark mainstay

McGovern’s Tavern first opened its signature green doors in Newark back in 1936. Nearly 80 years later, the pub continues to reinvent itself while maintaining its storied past.

A new patrons will likely be drawn to the display of helmets hanging from the ceiling. McGovern’s gathered the collection over the past 20 years from former police officers and firefighters who have visited the bar and become part of its extended family.

In fact, family is an important theme at McGovern’s, and the establishment has managed to stay in the family for three generations. Most of its employees are either blood relatives or have been longtime, close family friends.

Bill Scully, who once owned the bar with his wife, Maura, is the uncle of one of the current owners. He is literally the face of McGovern’s, as his visage appears on the tavern’s coasters along with the words “In God We Trust. All Others Pay!,” the slogan he created in the course of his 50-plus years working at the bar.

It’s probably that sense of family that has cemented McGovern’s as a fixture both in Newark and in the extended community. The bar has established fundraisers for people in need, and raised annual scholarship funds for local kids to attend college preparatory high schools. According to its owners, these are just a couple of the ways McGovern’s gives back to the community that has supported them for eight decades.

The Irish pub is known for its burgers, delicious fries, and other freshly prepared menu items, and is lauded for a great pour of Guinness. It’s a place to see for Newark visitors and natives alike who are looking to enjoy a drink, have some food, take in some of the history of Newark, or do all of the above. At McGovern’s, history is present: pictures, signs, and clippings cover the green walls of the bar, providing an ever-present visual link to the past.

But make no mistake: McGovern’s isn’t a museum. Whether it’s the latest sporting event being shown, the sounds of live music performances filling the bar, the latest installment of Trivia Tuesdays, or beer pong night on Thursdays, McGovern’s is all about making the bar as fun and user-friendly as possible.

Despite operating through the Newark riots of the 1960’s, the economic decline of the 70’s and 80’s, and now the development in the surrounding downtown Newark area near McGovern’s, the interior of the Irish pub has seen only subtle changes. The bar has made a few updates to make customers more comfortable, like widening the doors for easier access, adding a projector and screen for viewing sports, and investing in a satellite jukebox to accommodate all of their customers’ musical tastes.

“It’s a place that, if you’re in Newark, you have to see,” says Sean McGovern, one of the current owners of the pub. “We’re an oasis, where you can come in, get away from the daily grind, and meet a variety of different people – whether it’s students, judges, painters, cops, or firemen – and get a real feel for Newark.”

So go down to Washington and New Streets and check out the only bar in New Jersey to make Esquire’s list of the Best Bars in America.


Located at 58-60 New Street, Newark, NJ 07102 | (973) 643-3984 | Hours of Operation: 10am-1am weekdays, 8pm-3am weekends | Happy Hour: 4pm-7pm, weekdays