Audible yesterday unveiled a series of installations and public artworks from the Newark Artist Collaboration (NAC), a program created to amplify the work of Newark-based artists and encourage local investment in Newark’s creative community. Audible’s Founder and Executive Chairman Don Katz, and Vice President of Urban Innovation Aisha Glover were joined by elected officials, business leaders, Audible employees, and Newark residents for a celebration debuting the installations with speeches and a walking tour of the creative work in Audible’s newly renovated 1 Washington Park headquarters and in the surrounding downtown neighborhood.
Audible created the Newark Artist Collaboration to invest in Newark’s local artists and art organizations, recognizing the critical role they play in enhancing the vibrancy and cultural capital of the city. This inaugural phase of the program features an array of completed and in-progress site-specific and original interdisciplinary artwork from 20 local artists and artist collectives, selected by a jury of local arts professionals and community stakeholders last fall after a competitive call for proposals. Artists include Adama Delphine Fawundu, Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Armisey N. Smith, Eirini Linardaki, GERALUZ & WERC, IMVisible, Malcolm Rolling & Hans Lundy, Melisa Gerecci, Monifa Kincaid, CAZORLA + SALEME, Noelle Lorraine Williams, Ron Norsworthy, and Yasmin De Jesus.
“The Newark Artist Collaboration is a powerful testament to what public-private partnerships can accomplish,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “These installations are the latest in a long list of community-focused projects that Audible has done for our city since moving here 15 years ago. I commend today’s artists on their spectacular work and look forward to seeing how these creative pieces will undoubtedly uplift our neighborhoods for years to come.”
“We are proud to support Newark’s artists as they express their commitment to the city in profoundly creative ways,” said Don Katz, Executive Chairman and Founder of Audible. “Today’s unveiling demonstrates how public art connects to equity-making, as we also honor the generations of Newark artists, writers, poets, musicians, and creatives who have marked the city with their artistry. The Newark Artist Collaboration can serve as a model for other companies and cities looking to make a meaningful impact in their neighborhoods.”
“The Newark Artist Collaboration is an extraordinary showcase of the raw and diverse talent that calls Newark home,” said fayemi shakur, Newark’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Director. “These installations are a proud reflection of our city’s storied history and a portal into its bright future. Thank you to Audible and all those involved for their continued support of Newark’s creative community and their boundless commitment towards finding new and innovative ways to amplify and invest in our arts scene.”
“The Newark Artist Collaboration is proof that when you invest in your own community and cultivate local talent to commission works, the result is astounding,” said Aisha Glover, VP of Urban Innovation. “The first phase of many, the potential of NAC is limitless and we at Audible are excited to continue to build upon this work and expand our impact in Newark.”
Neighborhood stakeholders who donated their space in support of this project include Aetna Realty, Bolton Development, Fidelco Realty Group, Accurate Builders and Developers, Paramount Assets LLC, RBH Group, Hanini Group, L + M, Edison Properties, FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development, NJ Transit, the Newark Public Library and Rutgers University-Newark. 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 also advised on and supported the development of the program.
The Newark Artist Collaboration is the latest of Audible’s impact initiatives in the city, joining programs like Newark Working Kitchens, a COVID-19 response that launched in April 2020 and has helped keep open 37 local restaurants and delivered more than 1.4 million meals to more than 10,000 at-risk Newarkers. NWK and the Newark Artist Collaboration are supported by the Global Center for Urban Development, which Audible created in 2020 to expand its community and economic initiatives while launching new and measurable models focused on advancing equity, racial justice, and economic empowerment.
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