Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, announced the creation of the Newark Artist Collaboration, which will elevate the work of Newark-based artists and encourage local investment in Newark’s creative community. The program will commence this fall with the unveiling of 12 commissions at Audible’s newly renovated 1 Washington Park headquarters and in the surrounding downtown neighborhood. The request for proposals will open on Monday, June 21st and close on Monday, Aug. 9. A virtual community meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 14 to review the inaugural scope of work and answer questions.
The Newark Artist Collaboration will include an array of site-specific and original interdisciplinary artworks to be installed in and around Audible’s headquarters, which is undergoing a comprehensive renovation in preparation for employees’ forthcoming return to the office. These neighborhood projects are made possible with the support of area stakeholders including Aetna Realty, Bolton Development, Fidelco Realty Group, FOCUS – Hispanic Center for Community Development, the Newark Public Library and Rutgers University-Newark.
Audible’s scope of resources will support distinctive collaboration and advancement of artistic practice. Opportunities will include indoor and outdoor facade activations (murals, wall installations, etc.); digital artwork and video; experimental and immersive media (light, sound, etc.); interventions, functional sculpture, and design work in a collaborative framework (such as apparel and product design).
The City of Newark’s Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs and local arts organizations such as Express Newark, Newark Arts, The Newark Museum of Art, and Project for Empty Space have advised on and supported the development of the program. A jury of local arts professionals and stakeholders will play an integral role in the artist selection process.
“Our city has a long heritage of being a center for the arts, and what’s great about the Newark Artist Collaboration is that it will empower and commission local artists while giving them the opportunity to brighten our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “I am grateful for Audible’s leadership in engaging Newark’s artists, and I look forward to seeing what they create.”
The Newark Artist Collaboration is an extension of Audible’s deep commitment to the cultural life of Newark, where it established its headquarters in 2007. “Newark is the wellspring of generations of profound creative talent across arts, music and culture, and I’m proud that Audible, which exists to serve the creative professionals who write and perform the words we deliver, can support artists in our hometown and help showcase their work,” said Don Katz, founder and executive chairman of Audible. “We hope to continue to lead by example, encouraging local investment and continued advancement of the arts.”
“This thoughtful initiative builds upon the ethos of Audible and directly supports the community that it lives in,” said Rebecca P. Jampol, co-director of Project for Empty Space, and coordinator for the Newark Artist Collaboration. “The inaugural opportunities evolved out of conversations with artists and are designed to harness Audible’s media-rich resources, giving a unique type of support and work environment. Models like the Newark Artist Collaboration can elevate and amplify the position of the creator, which has worked behind the scenes for too long.”
Audible employees receive free memberships to the Newark Museum of Art as well as tickets to concerts and events at NJPAC and the Prudential Center. Audible has also donated free memberships to its service, including 160 educator-selected titles, to thousands of Newark Public Schools students and teachers, and to the Mayor’s Book Club. The Newark Artist Collaboration is the latest Audible effort to aid in pandemic recovery, joining Newark Working Kitchens, which launched in April 2020 and has helped keep open 30 local restaurants while delivering more than 1,000,000 meals to at-risk Newarkers. In 2020, Audible created the Global Center for Urban Development to expand upon its community and economic initiatives while launching new and measurable models focused on advancing equity, racial justice, and economic empowerment.
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