This month’s Second Sunday at Newark Museum

The Newark Museum Second Sunday program continues on Sunday, June 12 from noon to 5 p.m. The program features lectures, performances, tours, art and science demonstrations and workshops, music, and a special brunch menu. All events except brunch are free with admission (be sure to call ahead to 973.596.6544 for brunch tickets).

The Newark Museum is located at 49 Washington Street in Newark.

Program highlights include:

Brunch at the Newark Museum catered by David Ellis Events
Noon-2 pm
Full Sunday brunch is $19.75 and continental breakfast is $9.75. Musical entertainment provided by NJPAC Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens Ensemble. For brunch tickets, call 973.596.6544.

Artist Demonstration with Kit Sailer, plein air landscape painter
Noon-2 pm; 3-5 pm

Multi-Sensory Tour: Sounds of Music in Art led by Museum Explorers
12:30 pm
Explore the many ways that sound and rhythm is represented in art. Feel the beat of the drums in African art, the sound of bells in Asian art and hear the work songs in Woodruff’s Poor Man’s Cotton.

Makers Space
noon-5 pm
Makerspace is a place where visitors make things that are inspired by their own interests and explorations.  These things are made using low-cost everyday tools and materials, enhanced through access to state-of-the art technologies. Put simply, users learn by “making.”


Family Gallery Programs/Creative Play: Time Travel
1, 2 & 3 pm
Travel in time through the Museum’s collections then design, construct and race an “air rocket car” made with Legos.

Newark Museum through the Eyes of Gallery Aferro Artists: Anonda Bell
1:30 pm
Current and past Gallery Aferro artists-in-residence provide a fresh perspective on the Museum’s collections and special exhibitions

Gallery Tour: Observing Nature
1-1:30 pm
Enjoy works of art inspired by the natural world including masterworks from the Hudson River School, American Impressionists, Modernists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley as well as recent artistic experiments in the exhibition Abstracting Naturethat celebrate nature and reflect on the impact that humans have made on the American landscape.

A Passion for Place: Film Clips and Conversation with Filmmakers Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno
2-3 pm
Marylou and  Jerome Bongiorno are Emmy-nominated Newark filmmakers who focus their lens on social justice documentary, fiction, and museum installation art films that are widely distributed through their production company.

Poems, Pictures and Places: Poetry and Spoken Word Performance with Jon Curley
3:15-4:15 pm
This program encourages participants to reimagine their relationship to Newark through poetry. A poet, scholar and teacher, Jon Curley is a Senior University Lecturer in the Humanities where he currently teaches a seminar entitled “Newark Narratives” that maps the city of Newark through textural and non-textural materials including poetry and prose. In 2009, Curley collaborated with Newark-based filmmakers Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno on the making of the short film New Work: Newark in 3D currently on view at the NewarkMuseum.

Newark Boys Chorus School Annual Spring Concert
3 pm
The Newark Boys Chorus School Annual Spring Concert will feature a recently composed medley of songs associated with some of Newark’s most celebrated music luminaries, Sarah Vaughan, Frankie Valli and Whitney Houston. The work was commissioned by the Newark Boys Chorus School to commemorate Newark’s 350 anniversary.

West Ward Diary #21: My accomplished neighbors

perspectives cardPeople have a certain idea of who we Newarkers are. They watch the TV news, they read newspapers, they see news stories on the internet. I personally know people who say they are afraid of coming to Newark.

I have lived in the West Ward for 13 years. I own my house. I don’t mean I pay a mortgage, I mean I own it. In April I finished my clinical rotation. In June I will be awarded a master’s degree in clinical psychology. I already have a master’s degree in history.
One of my neighbors owns five houses. He also doesn’t pay a mortgage; he owns them outright. Another of my neighbors moved here from the Bronx. She and her husband own their house and she is currently attending graduate school herself.
I know another woman who is thinking of buying a home here in the West Ward. She also has a master’s degree, and she teaches. She also runs a successful art gallery downtown.
The people I know, who are afraid to come here, are people who do not have college degrees. They do not own their homes, they rent. And to be honest, they are not very nice people.
Sometimes I joke and I say “That is fine, you do not need to come here. That is more Newark for me!” In all seriousness, I will consider myself incredibly lucky if I get to spend the rest of my days in Newark, here in the West Ward.

Newark Weekender: Things to do around town this weekend

Looking for a few things to do in your backyard this weekend? Check out a few picks for events and activities in Newark, and take a look at our full event calendar for more!

Friday, May 27

Starting @ 5 p.m.

Weequahic Park

African American Heritage Festival

The festival will include DJs, spoken word, face painting, story-telling, sports, carnival ride, food vendors, and a health and social services pavillion for blood pressure screenings. Friday will additionally feature Hip Hop & Poetry


8 p.m. – midnight

Edo’s Dessert Lounge, 17 Academy Street

Open Mic: Soca, African & Reggae music

Hit the stage or just sit back and enjoy the music. Featuring Niomie Luvv and live band Wolves Amongst Us.

Saturday, May 28

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Military Park

Sweet Peace Yoga with fayemi shakur

Get centered with fayemi shakur at this free outdoor yoga series in the park.


Starting @ 11 a.m.

Weequahic Park

African American Heritage Festival/The Cookout 2.0

The festival will include DJs, spoken word, face painting, story-telling, sports, carnival ride, food vendors, and a health and social services pavillion for blood pressure screenings. Saturday will additionally feature R&B & Funk. Hosted by Debbie Janae and Tariq Icon, Weequahic Park will be home to live performances and DJ’s


5 p.m. – 12 a.m.

The Newark Waterfront Center (1100 McCarter Highway)

The Ultimate Day Social Part Deux on the Waterfront

Get ready for an electrifying evening of music and entertainment that highlights a live band and guest deejays. A savory light buffet will be presented to all our guests between 5:00 – 6:00 pm. Bottle service will be available with your choice of champagne and Ciroc. The venue will be set up with various bar stations staffed with friendly bartenders to accommodate everyone with minimal wait time. Cost: $25 per person

Sunday, May 29

Starting @ 11 a.m.

Weequahic Park

African American Heritage Festival

The festival will include DJs, spoken word, face painting, story-telling, sports, carnival ride, food vendors, and a health and social services pavilion for blood pressure screenings. Saturday will additionally feature Spiritual/Gospel Music

Monday, May 30

Starting @ 11 a.m.

Weequahic Park

African American Heritage Festival

The festival will include DJs, spoken word, face painting, story-telling, sports, carnival ride, food vendors, and a health and social services pavillion for blood pressure screenings. Saturday will additionally feature cultural performances, including African music and dance.

Ironbound parents ask why a neighborhood playground was closed without notice

neighborhoods cardTwo Thursdays ago, on the morning of May 12th, Newark resident Amy Brown decided to take her two-year-old son on a routine jaunt to Independence Park in the Ironbound, about a half block from their residence.

Their plans for fun at the playground were thwarted when she encountered a temporary barrier at the playground entrance. Workers appeared to be performing basic tree maintenance, but there was no indication that it would be anything more than a short-term project.

“There was no wire fence, no sign, no notice that a major construction project was beginning,” said Brown. “I thought nothing more of it.”

But when she returned the following Wednesday, May 18th, she was surprised and upset to find that the playground had been completely ripped out, and that wire fencing now gated off the entrance to the park. A posted sign said the playground had been closed due to renovation, but there was “no timeline, no further info provided,” said Brown. There had been no notices posted at the park or in the neighborhood beforehand.


Brown said she asked around and eventually learned that Essex County would be conducting a months long renovation, and that it would be months until a playground was available for kids again. (An email to the Parks and Recreation director has not yet been answered.)

What most upset Brown was what felt like a sudden move that denied neighborhood kids a safe and cherished recreation area. “For me it feels like another example of how Newark people were not consulted or advised about decisions and actions that deeply affect our daily lives,” Brown said.

In response, Brown launched a petition on Monday afternoon demanding consistent online updates about the playground renovation, alternative play options for kids until a new playground is installed, and a decision-making process in the future that involves advance notice, opportunity for community input, and serious consideration of the impact these types of decisions have on local children and families.

Within a day and a half, the petition had accrued 100 virtual signatures. As of Thursday morning, it had surpassed 160. Brown said she’s planning to the deliver the petition next week to city and county officials, including County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and Mayor Ras Baraka (Independence Park is a county park). She hopes to hit 200 or more signatures by then.

The playground closure will not completely eliminate recreation options for children and families, said Brown, but the alternatives are suboptimal to the playground. There is green space in the park, but it doesn’t have the equipment that facilitates the type of varied recreation the children are used to in the playground.

That could explain why Brown witnessed children taking the closure very hard. “I remember one family in particular – the little boys looked around four and six years old. They were crying, stomping, just sad and angry. The little one picked up a handful of rocks with his little fist and threw it at the fence, crying,” said Brown.

And according to Brown, the rest of the green space presents more of a security issue for parents. “That space is not contained like the playground and parents have to be a lot more vigilant. It’s not as safe.”

At the end of the day, anger at the move wasn’t just about the playground. For Brown and the other parents and community members, mostly Newarkers, who have commented on her petition, it signaled disregard for the needs, input, and will of the immediate surrounding community.

“For a lot of neighborhood kids, that is the only park they know. My partner and I will probably take our son to other parks from time to time in our car, but not all families have that luxury or familiarity with the larger area,” said Brown, who spoke to every parent she encountered the morning she discovered the months long closure (Brown speaks Spanish and understands Portuguese) and encountered no one who had known that the renovations were coming.

See Amy Brown’s full petition at

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

West Ward Diary #20: On planting trees (Learn how at Weequahic Park next month)

neighborhoods cardOne sunny May weekend a few of us from the West Ward volunteered to plant trees. We got up at 9 a.m. and for three hours, we dug holes. We planted trees by Central Avenue.

I never like to read about things I missed. You can still learn what we learned even if you were not there. Elena Lopez, of New Jersey Tree Foundation, will provide a free workshop (free for Newark residents) from 6pm-8pm on the following Tuesdays: June 7, 14, 21. The workshop will be at Weequahic Park Fieldhouse: 92 Carmichael Dr, Newark NJ. To rsvp email because seats are limited.

I always wanted to plant beautiful flowering cherry blossom trees, or dogwood trees at my home in the West Ward. Now? I am glad I never did. My trees would not have had their best chance, since I did not know five key planting tips Elena taught us. First, when you get a tree home, you have to look at the roots. If you have a container tree, make sure to loosen the roots by cutting vertical slices around and under your rootball. Otherwise the tree could choke itself and die. If you have a balled and burlap tree, leave the rootball contact as is.


Second, When you dig the hole, only dig deep enough to cover the roots in the burlap sack. You can leave the burlap sack on since it is biodegradable but you have to remove the wire mesh and be careful about removing nails. Third, when you fill in the hole do not put any dirt on a three inch radius at the top of the tree. Otherwise the tree might rot when it rains, as soil and mulch retain moisture.

Fourth, before you fill the hole in, step away from the tree, and see if it is straight. If it is not straight, use the ropes  at the top to right the tree. You do not need a lot of dirt: only a handful of earth is all you need to set it straight. Fifth, when you fill the hole up with earth, tamp it down HARD. Otherwise, you risk the tree’s stability as air pockets fill with water and the tree shifts .

They say you never work a day in your life if you love what you do.  I believe this to be true of Elena Lopez.  Elena  rolls up her sleeves and she shows you, while she tells you, what you need to know. Trees are one of Elena’s passions, and she blushed just telling us how proud her dad is of her. Elena is a modest person with a ton of knowledge and I for one look forward to this workshop. I want to make sure that when I do buy trees for my home, they get their best chance to flourish.

2016 Newark Black Film Festival announces Paul Robeson Award winners

culture cardWinners of the Newark Black Film Festival 2016 Paul Robeson Awards, a biennial competition that recognizes excellence in independent filmmaking, were announced this week.  The winners will be honored at a reception and award ceremony at the Museum on Wednesday, August 3, beginning at 4:30 pm, followed by a screening at CityPlex 12 in Newark at 7:30 pm.  The reception, ceremony and screenings are free to the public but pre-registration is required for the reception. (To register, call 973.596.6550, or email at


More than 35 films were entered in this year’s competition.

The 2016 Paul Robeson Awards winners are:

Winner: Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
Filmmaker/Director: Pratibha Parmar
Producers: Shaheen Haq
A compelling biographical portrait of a legendary icon and the extraordinary journey of her birth to her historical win of The Pulitzer Price for her novel, The Color Purple.

Honorable Mention: SEMBENE!
Filmmaker/Producer/Director: Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman
The resistance fighter who used the camera as his weapon: meet Ousmane Sembene, the father of African Cinema.

Winner: Lee Hagan: Connecting Generations
Filmmaker/Producer/Director: Antoinette K. Ellis-Williams
This documentary explores the life and legacy of Dr. Hagan at NJCU, a Newark resident, the Civil Rights movement, and African American history and culture.

Honorable Mention: Harlem on My Plate
Filmmaker/Director/Producer: Rochelle Brown & Sonia Armstead
The film explores the Great Migration from the South to Harlem in the early 1900s, to the renowned Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s.

Winner: Blue
Filmmaker/Producer: Don Wallace
The gritty, urban drama of a professional boxer. Gary “Blue” Meekins struggles against unusually high obstacles to turn his hopeless life into that of the American dream.

Honorable Mention: Forever Yours
Filmmaker/Director: Patrick Ulysse
Producer: Patrick Ulysse and JD Rose
A romantic comedy about finding true love at the wrong time as Adrienne and JC share their love and drive to protect the neighborhood youth.

Winner: Video
Filmmaker/Director: Randy Yang
Producer: Pamela Rook
A woman’s racist remark is captured on video by two teenage black girls. Realizing the consequences of her actions, she pleads with them to delete the incriminating footage.

Honorable Mention:  Moves We Make
Filmmaker: Nonstop Show Group
Producer:  Lamar Mackson
Director: E. Patric Coker
A street pharmacist known for maker power moves, finds himself the victim of his own ill-conceived strategy and decision making that can lead to the demise of his entire world.

The schedule for the Adult and Youth screenings for the 2016 Newark Black Film Festival is available online at Featured image: Filmmaker Pratibha Parmar (right) shares the stage with her subject, Alice Walker. Parmar won the Paul Robeson 2016 Award for Long Documentary. Source: Youtube (Southbank Centre)

Evolution Open Mic returns from hiatus with a new schedule and location

Evolve NJ is relaunching its core program, Evolution Open Mic, for the summer of 2016.

A staple in the Newark arts community since October of 2014, Evolution centers itself with the ongoing growth of artists and art lovers alike. Not only is the list open for performers of all kind-poets, singers, emcees, dancers, comedians, monologue readers, etc—but performers and audience members have a chance to write new work on the spot with prompts and tools, as well as participate in our live painting project, the Canvas Of Resource (CORE).


For the summer, Evolution will occur every second and fourth Monday of the month from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., starting May 23rd, at The Cage (319 Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Newark, NJ). The cover will be $5 at the door plus any additional donations that can be made to what is called the Brick Pile. A different theme will be presented every show, for those who need a place to begin their inspiration. The theme of the upcoming show will be “Resurrection:” appropriate for the return of the event after a hiatus half-month-long hiatus.

“Like all programming presented by Evolve NJ, Evolution is community funded. Through the help of those who attend and see what we accomplish, those who believe in us, we continually provide services of recreation and release through art and congregation,” said Sean Battle, a poet residing in Newark by way of Camden, NJ who is the founder, executive producer, and host of Evolution. It was through the show growth that he expanded into other programming under the brand of Evolve NJ, of which he is the CEO.

Co-hosting the event will be Kween Moore, who facilitates the CORE project for those who choose visual art as their tool of expression. Moore, residing in Newark by way of New Haven, CT, has facilitated the project as a collaboration between Evolve NJ and her creative arts platform, Urban Kween Brand. Selected pieces from the project were presented in an art exhibition during last year’s Open Doors Art Gallery Festival. This month marks the one year anniversary of CORE.

The feature of the evening (known in Evolve NJ as our Ascended Artist) will be emcee Young Bonez. Born Kevin Bennett II in Newark, NJ, Young Bonez recently performed for the Newark installment of Hip Hop 4 Flint, and has released a new single entitled “We Wit It,” available for download on iTunes.

Evolve NJ is a Newark, NJ based arts education and entertainment firm that promotes artistic translation. Our mission is to provide the tools and platforms needed for marginalized voices to be recognized, developed, and celebrated. For more information follow Evolve NJ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and, or email

West Ward Diary #19: Everyday life

neighborhoods cardThey say life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. I feel so honored to write a column describing life in the West Ward as it really is. For me, this column has always been a “love letter” to the West Ward. People from “away” only know our city as a “police blotter”.

For me, the West Ward consists of:  Ally the real estate developer/gardener, Jay the activist, rallying us all when we need to get something from municipal service providers, Marcel the philanthropist, who feeds the homeless from his own pocket, on his own time. Ada the neighborhood “den mother”  who keeps track of all the important events and serves as the glue that holds us all together, and beautiful Ms. Ruth whose property we all take turns maintaining.


The truth is, there is not a new sensational story every week. We are like you. If you are reading BrickCityLive then you too love Newark. You live your life: you do laundry, you make food, you work. Maybe you are like us: maybe you live in a close knit neighborhood. Here on our block we synchronize our gardens, we remember birthdays, we have BBQ in summer.

Here on my block we have a neighborhood watch. It is unlinke any other  I ever heard of (we text from our cell phones 24-7, rain or shine: if you come here, we will all know about it in a microsecond). We have a feeling of community and love here that is unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I have lived in the suburbs of Long Island, Silicon Valley California, and Manhattan.

As the city changes, our West Ward neighborhood changes: children marry, they buy their own homes, have their own children. People say Newark is dangerous. The reality is simply this: in all the 13 years I lived here, I never even had my feelings hurt!

Newark Weekender: Things to do around town this weekend

Looking for a few things to do in your backyard this weekend? Check out a few picks for events and activities in Newark, and take a look at our full event calendar for more!

Friday, May 20

6 – 10 p.m.

Various Locations

Brick City Bar Crawl

The bar hop is back and making four stops in the downtown district: Duke’s Southern Table, Redd’s Biergarten, La Rouge, Joe’s Crab Shack. Tickets: Eventbrite


Saturday, May 21

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Bo Porter Sports Complex, 378 Lyons Avenue

Annual South Ward Bike Ride

Ride from the Bo Porter Sports Complex to Weequahic Park along with the Weequahic Park Sports Authority. More information: Facebook

11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street

Market on Market Street

Modeled after other fantastic markets, Market on Market offers handmade, upcycled, recycled and antique items as well as workshops and musical events. Over 40 vendors attend the market, and although some come back for each market, there is always a good rotation of new vendors each month. New vendors and arts programming scheduled during the event means each market is a unique and exciting experience so don’t miss it!

11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Newark City Hall, 920 Broad Street | Riverfront Park [Postponed]

Annual Walk to the Water Day

Meet at 11 a.m. on the steps of Newark City Hall for the 5th Annual Walk to the Water and a symbolic reclamation of the riverfront for the people. Represent your city, ward, or organization by walking to the beautiful Riverfront Park for a full day of celebrating Newark’s 350th Anniversary.

River Day will kick off on the Orange Boardwalk at Riverfront Park at 12 p.m., and will celebrate family-friendly activities that focus on the history, arts & culture, and environment of the city of Newark.

12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Newark Museum, 49 Washington Street

Museum Day: Celebrating Museums for All

Activities for all ages, including tours of our permanent collection, Creative Play activities for families and FREE* Planetarium programs for kids-all day long.

* General Museum admission required. Admission details here.

6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street

To My Father: Closing Reception with Artist Talk and Poetry

Gabriel García Román has already garnered national press for his stunning chine-collé and photogravure portraits of LGBT/non-conforming activists, poets, and artists of color, depicting his subjects as contemporary Queer Icons. Finding inspiration in portraiture styles of Renaissance, Flemish and Christian Orthodox paintings, the series aims to elevate these multi-dimensional, powerful and proud contemporary figures and give visibility to a population generally underrepresented in the art world.

There will be poetry readings by guest poets Bakar Wilson, Sheila Maldonado, Alba Hernandez, and Banjela Davis and an artist talk by Gabriel.

Sunday, May 22

4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Grace Church, 950 Broad Street

Te Deum: A Concert of Organ and Choral Music

An organ and choral concert to commemorate the restoration of Grace Church in Newark’s newly restored “Te Deum” window, given in honor of Thomas Lynch Raymond, Jr, mayor of Newark from 1915-1917 and 1925-1928. This concert will explore settings of the ancient “Te Deum” hymn, for which the window is named, and explore the history of Grace Church in Newark. The concert will take place at Grace Church, which is a designated National Historic Landmark in Downtown Newark. Grace’s new Director of Music, James Hopkins, will direct the program.

Featured image: Event invite for To My Father: Gabriel García Román