NJPAC announces summer program for young artists seeking the time of their lives

opportunities cardMiddle school and high school students in search of their inner artist don’t have to look any further than NJPAC when their classes adjourn. Creative minds are at work to make 2016’s Summer Programs at NJPAC an unforgettable experience for young people involved in the performing arts.

Many of the country’s most recognized performers in their fields are back to lead these popular, immersive sessions in acting, dance, jazz, hip-hop, musical theater, dance and comedy. Seasoned pros of Chicago’s famed Second City will return to coach students in improv comedy, while building teamwork skills in the process. Jazz piano great Geri Allen will again head a faculty of ace musicians for the All-Female Jazz Residency, this year at Rutgers University in Newark in partnership with its Institute of Jazz Studies.

Participants often describe their experiences in terms of having fun, while receiving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study with the masters.

“While learning the ins and outs of their chosen pursuit, our teens use the arts to express their creativity and their most authentic voice,” says Alison Scott-Williams, Vice President of Arts Education at NJPAC. “Through this exploration, they make new friends, inspire others to share their art, and have a great time.”


Summer Programs at NJPAC includes:

All-Female Jazz Residency

July 10-16, 2016

In collaboration with the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark, NJPAC’s All-Female Jazz Residency offers a weeklong, one-of-a-kind opportunity for young women, ages 14-25, to study jazz. This residential camp, with students coming from across the country, presents a unique blend of instruction and mentorship as students are taught improvisation, musicianship, jazz theory and more. Geri Allen, celebrated Grammy-nominated pianist, is the program’s artistic director and leads a stellar faculty including Ellen Rowe, piano and composition; Linda Oh, bass; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Bruce Williams and Tia Fuller, saxophones; Connaitre Miller, voice; Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums; and Stefon Harris, vibraphone.

A final student showcase will take place along with field trips to jazz monuments and institutions. Auditions are not required.

Hip-Hop Intensive

June 27-July 8, 2016

Students ages 10-16 have the opportunity to study at NJPAC’s Hip Hop Intensive with recording artist and U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassador Sheikia Norris, aka “Purple Haze.” As Artistic Director, Norris will lead students in the art of hip hop, including MCing, DJing, graffiti, breakdancing, beat boxing, spoken word, and sound engineering. This hands on workshop will allow participants to come away with an understanding of how hip hop has become such a large force in modern American culture. A final showcase will take place at NJPAC.

The Young Artist Summer Intensive

  • June 27-July 29, 2016: Advance Division
  • July 11-August 5, 2016: Apprentice Plus Division, Session One
  • July 25-August 5, 2016: Apprentice Plus Division, Session Two

The Young Artist Summer Intensive (YASI) develops the student’s skills in acting, dance, musical theater and vocal performance in a professional setting. The program is taught by professional artists in two divisions. The Apprentice division is for beginning and intermediate students ages 10-16, and will provide students with a cross-genre, two-week overview of the performing arts. The Advance division, for students ages 12-18, is an immersive five-week performing arts workshop. Students are accepted by auditions, and are offered the opportunity to focus on a single discipline (acting, dance, vocal performance, musical theater, and enrichment classes) for the length of the program.  The final showcase takes place at NJPAC.

A completed registration is required to audition. The deadline to register is June 1.

The Second City at NJPAC

  • August 1-12, 2016: Teen Improv and Sketch Comedy Workshop
  • August 8-12, 2016: Adult Improv and Comedy Writing Immersion
  • August 8-12, 2016: From the Inside Out

NJPAC is excited to continue its collaboration with The Second City this summer to bring programs in improvisation and comedy to teens and adults alike. Teens will develop skills in creative thinking, self-confidence, team building, empathy and communication while adults can explore improvisation and writing.

From the Inside Out is a groundbreaking program for teens diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome  and/or autism. Teens, ages 14-18, will take class in improvisation that will explore relationships and social cues focusing on ensemble and team building. Taught by a team of teachers, all with special needs certification, the students will learn skills such as accessing emotions and storytelling in a safe and fun environment where they can explore and challenge themselves. The students are given the chance to break through barriers that block creativity and socialization.

The Second City is a world renowned comedy enterprise that has been based in Chicago since 1959. The Second City helped launch the careers of stars such as Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Jimmy Fallon and Mike Myers.

For more information about Summer at NJPAC visit njpac.org/summer, email artseducation@njpac.org or call 973.353.7058Featured image: Students participate in Hip Hop Intensive class, courtesy NJPAC

Newark web design CEO launches social network for business, gears up for speaker series next week

business cardSteve Jones’ websignia, whose offices are located in the historic 60 Park Place building across the street from Military Park, has been the creative force behind many websites and mobile apps both in Newark and well beyond. In November of 2015, Jones revealed that early registration was open for The Circl, a new invite-only social network specifically for small- and mid-sized businesses looking for “opportunities, information, and resources needed to do better business.”

Nearly six months later, The Circl is throwing a virtual coming out party in the form of a webinar series timed to coincide with National Small Business Week. The series will stream live on The Circl’s website and include 15 lunchtime webinars hosted by business executives and established small and mid-sized business owners. They’ll discuss a range of topics affecting small businesses, including do-it-yourself public relations, leveraging diversity certification to grow a business, how to access capital, and how to turn networking into business opportunity. (See below for the full schedule for the week.)

We asked Jones for more details about his new social network, what types of results he hopes it will generate for members, and how small businesses can participate.

Andaiye Taylor: In brief, what is The Circl?

Steve Jones: The Circl is an invitation-only social network for owners of small and mid-sized businesses, and the major corporations, government entities, and organizations that support them. Unlike today’s top social networks, The Circl provides its members with free access to RFP opportunities, blog articles, events, businesses, and expert information to help them grow.

Taylor: What gaps in other social networks, and in particular in LinkedIn, convinced you that the opportunity was ripe to create The Circl?

Jones: The idea of the Circl is over 8 years old. I decided to build it now since I and a lot of business owners I know are finding it challenging to leverage today’s social platforms to promote our businesses at a reasonable cost, and find business opportunities amongst the volume of social chatter.

Today’s social platforms are centered around aspects of an individual’s life like birth dates, family and friends, education and work history, which brands you’re loyal to, personal preferences and so on. The Circl is the first platform to be centered around the specific needs of the business, like finding partners, opportunities, and connections. LinkedIn has value for individuals seeking a job or seeking attention; The Circl is for job creators seeking growth.

Every business in The Circl essentially has a microsite to promote their businesses. We have major corporations registered that will be looking for small, minority-owned, or women-owned businesses to source products and services from.


Taylor: What has been your process for sourcing the opportunities currently available on The Circl, and have you seen those generate commerce yet?

Jones: We search the internet for opportunities, and some are sent to us. We’ve had people report that they’ve respond to RFPs they found in The Circl, but I’m not yet aware whether anyone has won the bids. The goal is to get anyone seeking anything from a small- to mid-sized company to post it in The Circl, as if they’re saying, “I’m looking for a graphic designer. Know anyone?” And then get recommendations from the community.

Taylor: Why did you decide to make The Circl referral-based, and how did you seed the initial crop of businesses from whom referrals have flowed?

Jones: We’re looking to keep The Circl as pure and focused on delivering value as possible. The target audience is business owners with a slant towards professional service providers — people who can do business with major corporations, government, and other small businesses. We seeded the database with six months of beta testing.

Taylor: What is the geographical footprint of The Circl?

Jones: We’re in the contiguous United States with heavy concentration in the Northeast.

Taylor: And do you have designs to take the network overseas as well?

Jones: For now our focus is on U.S.-based businesses.

Taylor: Let’s talk about the speaker series that kicks of on May 2nd. What types of followup actions or connections do you hope it generates among your members?

Jones: The Speaker Series is the official launch event, which is why we chose to host it during National Small Business Week. Between the reach of websignia, Yelp, Capital Impact Group, our presenters and marketing partners, we will reach over a million people. We hope to show people the value of being a part of The Circl, and allow small- and mid-size business principals to network with each other.

Taylor: Do you plan to convene live events as well? If so, what will they be?

Jones: No plans to convene our own live events. However, we plan to partner with any company or organization seeking a platform in which to stream their live events to an audience of business owners. We already have plans for several more high-profile webinars, and will be doing another Speaker Series next year during National Small Business Week

Taylor: Is there any hope for business owners who want to be part of the social network, but don’t know whether any existing connections are members and thus able to invite them?

Jones: There’s hope. They can request a code on https://thecircl.io/join.

Taylor: Any parting thoughts about the venture?

Jones: Two thoughts. First, these are our humble beginnings, and we have a long road ahead, but I’m overwhelmed and thankful for the huge amount of support that we have already received from the business community. And second, the doors are wide open to conversations with anyone who’s looking to join The Circl, partner, or figure out how to collaborate.

Small Business Speaker Series Schedule:
Monday, May 2, 2016

  • Gerry Marrone, The Marrone Group @ 12pm “Email Marketing for Small Business”
  • Shakira Brown, SMB Strategic Media LLC @ 1pm “D.I.Y. Public Relations for Entrepreneurial Business”
  • Dee Marshall, Raise The Bar @ 2pm “Networking for Business: Turning Contacts into Contracts”

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

  • Raul Mercado, New Jersey Procurement Technical Assistance Center @ 12pm “Government Procurement – Working with Government Prime”
  • Sharon Mahin, Savoca Enterprises @ 1pm “How to Leverage Diversity Certification to Grow Your Business”
  • Angela Guzman, NBC Universal @ 2pm “Leveraging Supplier Diversity Programs to do Business with Corporations”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

  • Judith Sheft, New Jersey Innovation Institute at NJIT @ 12pm “Innovation and Clusters – How SMEs Can Participate”
  • Alfred Titone, U.S. Small Business Administration @ 1pm “SBA’s “3 C’s”—capital, contracting, and counseling”
  • Earl Boyd, The Prime Group @ 2pm “A Business Built to Last (Two Must Have’s)”

Thursday, May 5, 2016

  • Jason Dukes, Captain’s Chair Coaching @ 12pm “Managing the Gap…Millennial Mindset vs. Managers Mindset (For Managers)”
  • Sara Mutnick, Yelp @ 1pm – “‘Yelp 101”
  • Jill Johnson, Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership @ 2pm “Pitching Your Business to Get Capital”

Friday, May 6, 2016

  • Steven Gomez, Greater Newark Economic Development Corp @ 12pm “Access to Capital”
  • Karen Pisciotta, KQ Consulting @ 1pm “Big Business Smart, Small Business Savvy”
  • Zanetta Glover, ZD Glove State Farm Insurance Agency @ 2pm “Business Owners – How to Protect and Invest Your Business Assets!”

Greater Newark Mini Maker Faire is coming to Newark this weekend

things to do cardThe Greater Newark Mini Maker Faire, touted as a celebration of local creativity and ingenuity, will take place at Newark Museum this Saturday, April 30 fro 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The yearly event will invite makers and creators to present their do-it-yourself projects, which include work in areas as far afield as woodworking, bee keeping, robotics, and 3D-printed art.

Visitors can enjoy demonstrations, workshops, and speakers that are, according to the Maker Faire’s website, “pushing the limits of the art, science and technology.”

The “maker” movement is a larger phenomenon that incorporates crafters, tech enthusiasts, scientists, and others who merge technology and tinkering with a do-it-yourself ethos. The event will include about 50 maker exhibits, and there will be food for sale from local restaurants Burger Walla and Harvest Table.

Newark Museum is located at 49 Washington Street. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.


Newark AIDS Walk this Sunday will include chef Vonda McPherson as ambassador

participate cardThe Newark AIDS Walk, one of five sites for the New Jersey AIDS Walk, will take place this Sunday, May 1st at 1 p.m. at the Lion’s Monument in Branch Brook Park. (Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.)

The mission of the New Jersey AIDS Walk is to save lives through HIV prevention, detection, and treatment of HIV and AIDS. In fiscal year 2015, over 75% of all income was directly distributed to AIDS Service Organizations throughout the state of New Jersey.


The Newark beneficiary of the New Jersey Aids Walk is the North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), an organization that has for more than 25 years provided HIV and AIDS care and treatment to people in northern New Jersey. This year chef and entrepreneur Vonda McPherson, who owns both Duke’s Southern Table and Vonda’s Kitchen in Newark, will serve as the AIDS Walk’s Newark Ambassador.



Applications are open for this summer’s four-day Black Girls Lead conference

opportunities cardApplications for the four-day Black Girls Lead summer conference are available online through Friday, May 20 at 11:59 p.m. The conference is organized by the team behind Black Girls Rock, the youth empowerment and mentoring organization for young women of color that is perhaps best known publicly for its annual, star-studded televised special. In fact, Black Girls Rock’s day-to-day work centers around its youth programming, which also includes a camp and a tech initiative.

The New York City-based conference is for girls between ages 13 to 17 from the spectrum of socioeconomic and geographical backgrounds. Organizers say the conference is designed to enhance leadership development, critical thinking skills, academic achievement, and civic engagement. The application calls for a demonstration by the applicant of strong leadership potential and a vested interest in their personal and professional development.

The conference features workshops, classes, lectures, and empowerment panels on media and cultural literacy, business, entrepreneurship, arts, social action, technology, financial literacy, and other topics.

For more information and to apply, visit www.blackgirlsrock.org. Featured image via blackgirlsrock.org.

Lots of ways to give back as Newark Celebration 350 joins organizations nationwide for Giving Day

newark celebration 350 cardOn May 3, 2016, Newark Celebration 350 will join nonprofit organizations and community foundations across the country for Give Local America – a 24-hour nationwide crowdfunding event that provides a platform to invest in and support the work of local nonprofit organizations. Newark will take part in order to raise funds for the City’s legacy gifts in honor of Newark’s 350th anniversary of its founding which include:

Planting 350 Trees: The New Jersey Tree Foundation aims to make Newark a greener city with the planting of 350 more trees citywide. According to studies, Newark has a tree canopy of just 15% while healthy cities are estimated to have at least 30%. In addition to the potential positive impact on the city’s environment, this initiative will also build community among neighbors in the beautification of their streets.

Restoring and Re-installing Gutzon Borglum’s 1916 Landing Monument: The Mount Rushmore famed sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s masterpiece currently resides under a tarp in a garage belonging to the City’s Department of Engineering and Traffic Signals. Newark Landmarks and Preservation Committee will spearhead the restoration with plans to place it on the grounds of New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Initiating a Newark College Student Success Fund: In partnership with the Newark City of Learning Collaborative, this program will provide mini grants for Newark residents attending undergraduate programs at colleges and universities in Newark to aid them on the path of college retention and success. These emergency and inspiration grants of up to $500 will be made available to students to support books, transportation, childcare, medical expenses and more.


Commission a Newark 350 Music Composition: In honor of Newark’s 350th Anniversary, Jazz artist Stefon Harris and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will create a musical work that will be performed at a Newark Celebration 350 event in fall 2016. The composition is intended to reach multi-generational audiences and may include the accompaniment of a guest hip hop/rap artist.

“Happy 350th Birthday Newark:” Donors may choose to donate any amount they wish to go towards supporting a project or service that addresses a compelling community need as determined by the Newark Celebration 350 Committee, which may include support for the NC 350 Legacy Gifts.

The legacy gifts were conceived by a community-based committee lead by Mary Sue Sweeney Price, the legacy gift committee chair. She is Director Emerita of the Newark Museum and the widow to Newark Celebration 350’s visionary and nationally revered historian and civic advocate, the late Dr. Clement A. Price, whose life and legacy was dedicated to public service and charting a bright future for Newark.

“Newark Celebration 350 aims to inspire and unite all citizens, corporations and civic leaders by inspiring them to come together on Giving Day and join in the collective conscience that will improve the long-term outlook and promise of our community, through the funding of these legacy gifts,” said Mrs. Price. “It is our hope that the City’s first giving day will also create a sustainable culture of crowdfunded philanthropy that will last beyond this celebratory year of Newark’s 350th anniversary as one of America’s great cities. Newark deserves our wholehearted support this year and in the future.”

“Newark Celebration 350 is proud to be part of Giving Day which supports our mission by building bridges and making Newark an even stronger and more vibrant community for the next generations to come,” said NC 350 Chair Junius Williams. “We hope everyone will join hands with us on May 3 and celebrate Newark’s spirit of generosity and support of our citizens and the local non-profit organizations doing the good work in our community.”

Starting this week, pledges can be made in advance and for 24 hours on national Giving Day May 3rd, donations will be accepted on Newark350gives.org. Minimum donation is $10 with the goal of reaching $350,000 in honor of Newark’s 350th anniversary of its founding.

Visit newark350gives.org and #newarkgives for more information and how to pledge.

West Ward Diary #15: On growing families

neighborhoods cardIn my West Ward neighborhood nobody leaves. That does not mean our close-knit neighborhood is stagnant, though. New neighbors come to us through love and marriage and birth.

When Jay and Olga’s middle son Joe fell in love, I knew it at once. I saw him across the street and when I asked how he was doing, Joe said, “I met someone.” He added that she lived in Florida. I could tell from his expression that it was truly love.

Joe is a special person to me. Maya Angelou said you never remember what people say, but you always remember how they made you feel. After a few years in the neighborhood I started to despair: everyone was helping me, but nobody ever asked me for help. Joe was the first person who ever asked me for anything. He asked me for a vendor referral. I don’t remember what vendor, but I do remember how I felt. Finally, I truly felt like part of the neighborhood.


One sunny summer afternoon that summer, Joe invited me across the street to Jay and Olga’s home. Rosie’s parents were coming into town from Puerto Rico to discuss the wedding. I felt honored to be part of this joyful event. I immediately saw where Rosie got her gentle openness and her honesty and her happy personality.

We ate amazing food, we laughed, and everyone else danced. Back them I was still a bit….tightly wound.

Fast forward five years: Joe and Rosie have their own home, and they are wonderful parents. Little Natalia is a sweet, funny, intelligent, sensitive young lady. In this way, our West Ward neighborhood grows. I hope everyone knows someone like Rosie. She always has a good word to say, she laughs easily, and she’s gentle towards everyone. When I have a visit with Rosie, I leave feeling like the world is a fair and kind place.

WNYC panel on water safety coming to Newark Museum on April 25th

discuss cardPublic radio station WNYC will host a panel discussion on water safety at Newark Museum on Monday, April 25th, at 7 p.m.

The panel will explore what aging cities like Newark can do to provide water safety to its citizens, and discuss who should be held to account for the city’s water security. The event comes in the wake of the disclosure of elevated lead levels – defined by federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines as levels above 15 parts per billion – in a total of 38 Newark schools. And Newark isn’t alone: The New York Times reported in March that lead exposure risk in schools is “persistent and widespread” in districts across the country.


Sarah Gonzalez, the station’s northern New Jersey enterprise reporter, will moderate the panel, which includes Newark Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Cerf, Ironbound Community Corporation Environmental Policy Manager Molly Greenberg, NJ Clean Water Council Chair Daniel Van Abs, and New Jersey Future’s managing director for policy and water, Chris Sturm.

To reserve a free ticket for this panel, visit wnyc.org/events.

Newark museum now holds the country’s most comprehensive public jewelry design archive

culture cardThe Newark Museum’s extensive jewelry holdings were enriched with the acquisition of manuscripts from the famous Newark-based jewelry company Krementz & Co. The acquisition provides the museum with the nation’s most comprehensive jewelry design archive that is accessible to the public.

Founded by George Krementz, a German immigrant raised in Indiana with relatives in Newark, the company was the largest and longest-lived of all of Newark’s jewelry manufacturers, operating in the city from 1866 to 2009.

“Celebrated in the jewelry industry for its one-piece collar buttons, Krementz produced a vast range of stylish jewelry in 14-karat gold for the burgeoning middle-class market. Brooches, bracelets, necklaces, gold-mesh purses, cufflinks and all kinds of accessories were part of the company’s output,” said Ulysses Grant Dietz, the Museum’s Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts Collection.


“Like all Newark jewelry makers, Krementz sold its finest products anonymously to upscale jewelry stores all over the United States, including Tiffany & Co. The Krementz brand was known in the retail world because of the company’s ‘gold overlay’ jewelry, produced from the early 20th century until the family sold the business in 1997,” he continued.

In 2013 Richard (“Rick”) Krementz, the former chairman of the Board and the great-grandson of the founder, made a gift to the Museum’s Library and Archives of approximately 150 objects, comprising the complete design archives from 1864 to 1969. The majority of them are cost books or a variation on cost books, many including designs and photographs. A second donation of archival materials came to the Museum’s Library and Archives in 2015 thanks to Emily Rebmann, a graduate student in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware, now the Engagement Officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Rebmann was the first graduate student to write her master’s thesis using the Krementz archive and her topic was men’s jewelry.

This second group of records consists of 40 scrapbooks of advertisements dating from the 1890s to the 1970s. It also includes patents, trade catalogues, brochures and pamphlets, photographs, and other financial and legal information. In addition, a number of rare books on jewelry, which served as design sources for Krementz & Co., were transferred to the Library’s Rare Book Collection.

This important manuscript collection is now housed in the Newark Museum’s Library and Archives, where it is available to researchers, whether curators, educators, registrars, exhibition designers, or administrators; whether academic or independent scholars, museum professionals, professors and teachers, undergraduate and graduate students as well as high school students, members and volunteers; and other life-long learners.

“Like the Museum itself, the Library and Archives actively encourages the study, appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the fine arts, decorative arts, and natural sciences, striving to connect objects and ideas to the needs and wishes of its researchers,” said William A. Peniston, Ph.D., the Museum’s Librarian and Archivist.

The Library and Archives is open by appointment only Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. For additional information, follow the Museum on Facebook at facebook.com/newark.museum or Twitter at twitter.com/newarkmuseum; or by visiting www.newarkmuseum.org.

Newark Celebrates Earth Day with free electronic waste collection event at Ironbound District’s Peter Francisco Park

participate cardNewark residents can contribute to a cleaner and healthier community on Earth Day by bringing their old electronics to a free e-waste collection event taking place, rain or shine, on Friday, April 22 at Peter Francisco Park, located between Edison Place and Ferry Street near Penn Station in Newark’s Ironbound District from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Items that can be collected include, but are not limited to, computer laptops and desktops, televisions, monitors, mice, keyboards and peripherals, CD/VCR/DVD players, small home office copiers/fax machines, MP3 players, photo/video cameras, and more. Prohibited items include hazardous wastes/liquids, loose batteries, toner cartridges, fluorescent lamps, and appliances like washers, dryers, and stoves. Household appliances must not contain freon or oil, like refrigerators, air conditioners, and space heaters.

The event, now in its third year, is a partnership between the Ironbound Business Improvement District (IBID), Covanta, a world-leading sustainable waste and materials management company and operator of the Essex County Resource Recovery Facility in Newark, and electronics leader Panasonic, in cooperation with the City of Newark and Urban Renewal Corporation, a local not-for-profit emergency housing and social services organization.

Collected materials will be recycled at Covanta’s electronic waste processing facility, an R2 and e-Stewards certified operation, and at Urban Renewal’s Training & Development Center located in the greater Newark area and at their R2 facility in Philadelphia. Both entities provide data destruction security measures, however it is recommended that residents wipe all data from their devices prior to dropping them off.

The proper collection and recycling of electronic items helps keep hazardous materials out of the waste stream by reducing the amount of electronics discarded in regular household trash. This, in turn, reduces the need to mine more raw materials from the earth, further protecting our environment.

For Ironbound residents and business owners that need assistance in delivering their electronic waste to the drop off location, arrangements can be made beforehand by contacting the IBID. To schedule a drop off, or for information about pick up options on April 22 for your e-waste, contact the IBID’s Operations Manager, Chris Bernardo, at 973-491-9191 or via email at chris@publicspaces.com.


For more information about other programs and services provided by the Ironbound Business Improvement District, please visit GoIronbound.com or follow the district on Facebook at Facebook.com/goironbound.