Blending Art & Technology at The Honk-Tweet

 

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One afternoon while I was waiting for an art exhibit to open at Project for Empty Space, Jasmine, one of the galleries co-founders suggested I go downstairs to check out The Honk Tweet. I had no idea what to expect, but I love exploring and trying new things so I went.

I was greeted by Co-Founder and Director, Wolfgang Gil and the team, who gave me a tour of this space and all the amazing things that could be created with art and technology. I was blown away and curious to learn more and now everyone can. Gil informed me about the upcoming course offerings that will be starting on October 7th. Space is limited for more personalized attention so I would suggest you register now.

Creative Coding
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creative-coding-registration-3…

 

About: “The Honk-Tweet was founded as a platform for technologists and artists to combine making a living with their creative, and intellectual pursuits. The idea is to build a collective that works on paid projects that also help develop the skillsets they need to continue to sustainably pursue their creative endeavors. That is why we are both a for-profit production company AND an ever-growing community. We invest time and resources into educational programs that train future collaborators.

The mission of our educational program is to increase technological literacy among college students and artists living in Newark and adjacent areas.

We want our students to understand software, hardware, and systems at a fundamental level, and to understand the creative potential these technologies have. Students that complete our core curriculum should be able to develop and implement such technologies professionally and to communicate with other technologists in professional contexts.” (https://thehonktweet.com/education/

For more info visit The Honk-Tweet on Facebook.

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Become an Newark Arts Ambassador

All week (hopefully) you have read my interviews with the staff of Newark Arts and their roles within the organization.

Today’s blogpost will feature Project Associate, Nikki Horwitz who is responsible for many things in the organization, but I will focus on her management of the many volunteers or Ambassadors as they call them.

Horwitz explained the process of how to become an ambassador, why they are so vital in this organization and while not paid, but provided with numerous benefits and opportunities.  For instance, I became an ambassador as a way of getting acclimated in Newark after I moved there. That was over a year ago. I have since made some new friendships, have been exposed to different forms of arts, met well-known to up and coming artists, and learned valuable skills such as outreach, marketing, networking, event planning and more. It also looks very good on my resume, but also inspired me to create a daily social calendar of events happening in Newark that this organization now fully promotes on their website as well.

With the Open Doors Citywide Festival coming up, the organization depends on it’s ambassadors to assist well before the commencement of this four day event. Horwitz explained this can take many forms. From distributing informational handouts throughout Newark and beyond, identifying spots for exhibits, recruiting new ambassadors, reaching out to artists and so much more.  If you are interested, send her an email nikki@newarkarts.org or by signing up online.

For Ambassador Paul Dennison said he volunteers with Newark Arts because “I wanted to find a way to support the arts.” He cited his favorite way is doing so is during the Open Doors Citywide Festival. “This includes supporting the (participating) galleries by doing set ups prior to the event with clean up, arranging the art pieces.”

Throughout the year, there are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer for Newark Arts. I would encourage you to do so for the reasons I provided, but also be a part of something great now that cultural plan for Newark was announced this week.

 

 

Opening The Doors To Newark Arts

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Today’s blog post features an interview with Newark Arts Marketing Manager,         Lauren Craig.

We talked about how Newark Arts is opening the doors for artists of all types, gallery owners, curators, Newark residents, visitors to Newark, people that work in the city and beyond.

This year marks the 16th year of Newark Arts Open Doors Citywide Festival that Craig promised will be the “best year yet. You will be amazed at the star power at this year’s Open Doors.”

In case you did not know what Open Doors is: Craig explained, it’s a citywide arts festival in Newark, “where all the doors of the studios, galleries and lots of popups are open. This year it’s October 12-15th. We invite the community, not just the Newark community, but statewide and the surrounding areas to come and visit see all that Newark Arts has to offer.”

A little different this year  while the participating venues will be open all throughout the festival each day there will be cluster for a particular area. Follow Newark Arts for up to date info and details.

October 12th

University Heights District: Fownders

October 13th Market Street District: Gallery Aferro, Art and Artifacts of Newark, Index Art Center

October 14th

Halsey Street District that includes the Newark Print Shop, City Without Walls including the popular Murals and Martinis Tour that concludes with a sneak peak into to soon to be opened The Grammy Museum and more.

October 15th

Gateway District , Project for Empty Space;  Ironbound and Military Park District

Other ways this not for profit agency is opening the doors to arts in Newark is by providing and administering of ArtStart grants to artists of all types that work with the community and youth. Craig explained, “It is a selection process that gives artists anywhere from $3,000-5,000 to fund their program.” She added, “That (these grants) have funded a lot to well-known art organizations in Newark, (such as helping getting) the Newark Print Shop started. This year there 16 recipients.

Another way is through partnerships with companies and organizations such as Newark Downtown District and Greater Newark Visitors Bureau. Craig said, “We’re the promotional power behind different events that we partner with.” They post and share what’s happening mostly through social media as it’s the most effective way to reach people. I would definitely encourage everyone to like and follow as well as check out the Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival.image001 (1).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newark Creates A Vibrant Art City

In yesterday’s blogpost, I mentioned that Mayor Baraka was scheduled to make an announcement of Newark’s Cultural Plan known as Newark Creates under the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) in City Hall. And he did to a packed room.

Continuing with the introduction of Newark Arts staff, please allow me to introduce to you Susan Schear, Deputy Director.

Schear explained to me as a Deputy Director she “wears many hats” but this post will be about Newark Creates. Many meetings were held throughout Newark, where the staff listened and collected community input on what they want for their city. She says, “we focused tremendously on the neighborhoods” as every neighborhood in Newark has different wants and needs. These conversations engaged the community to “design neighborhood community conversations to gather insight on access (needs, barriers, goals, visions) to arts and culture for stakeholder groups.”

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Newark Arts Builds Bridges In Newark

As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came upon a post that was captioned “Art builds bridges.” This statement cannot be more fitting as Mayor Ras J. Baraka of the City of Newark plans to announce the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) report on September 12th at 1130am in City Hall.

The leading organization behind this is Newark Arts. Everyday this week I will feature and introduce you to staff.

Today I introduce you to Executive Director, Jeremy Johnson and Executive Assistant to Jeremy V. Johnson and Office Manager, Ruby Annette Evans.

In an interview  with them, they both reiterated the mission of Newark Arts, “Powering the arts to transform the lives who work, live and play in the great city of Newark, New Jersey.”

Johnson explains, “We are like the electricity that powers the house and without the electricity, they (appliances) don’t work. We bring the power to the arts, funding to the arts, art folks together by helping make Newark a city of the arts that brings it to Newarkers and people beyond Newark.”

He adds, “Newark Arts helps facilitate this by bringing together people and initiatives that help make the city stronger through lots of partnerships. He says, “We are like a bunch of artistic cats. We corral them together.”

He emphasizes that this could not be possible with their greatest ally, The Mayor. Mayor Baraka, who is an artist himself from the beginning of his administration has supported the arts in all it’s forms. He created The Office of Arts, Cultural Development and Tourism that is led by Gwen Moten.

Newark Arts also helps artists by giving them a voice. Evans who is the “eyes and ears keeping him apprisedof all matters” of Johnson, says, “We are the mouthpiece for artists who might not have the opportunity to be seen, heard, or for people to witness their great work and contributions here in the city.” She emphasized that “If they (artists) connect with us, then we can connect them to other opportunities.” She cited the example when “corporate sponsors call looking to fill their walls and spaces” the organization in turn reaches out to the artists.

After speaking with Johnson, it is evident his love for the arts and Newark are one in the same. He says, “Art helps the economy and make our city grow, healthier, safer, more beautiful, more educated, a more prideful city.”

He cited a number of ways that this is already happening to a city that has had it’s unfair casting of negative perceptions over the years. On any given Thursday summer evening, there is NJPAC’s Sounds of the City. Other days dogs are bringing their humans to the movies at The Newark Museum and the next day gathering with folks watching the eclipse and learning from the astronomers at the museum’s planetarium. When driving, drivers can take in Gateway To Newark (Portraits) mural along McCarter Highway or a number of them on once blighted buildings around the city.

As Newark moves forward, Johnson does have a wish list for Newark Arts and the city. They include: “More young people to have more arts in their lives by having people invested in the city’s youth join and participate in the Newark Arts Education RoundTable (NAER), that are making things happen.” Another is for “artists that call Newark home and will remain their home as they build their craft as they find art lovers to enjoy their art.” For neighborhoods: “to have funding and dollars to bring art to far flung areas of Newark that don’t always get the attention and help they need…who could be inspired by art if they could access it more.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newark History For Sale: One Man’s Treasures Can Now Be Your Treasures

 

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M. Gosser, Curator of Art and Artifacts of Newark is located on the first floor of Index Art Center located at 233 Washington Street, Newark.  It will be holding it’s opening on April 1st from 12-5pm with an Opening Reception for Newark Artist, Anker West from 6-8pm. Open Thursdays-Saturdays 11am-6pm.

Do you, like M. Gosser have a love of and for history, specifically Newark history that you not only can read and hear about, or view in pictures or videos, but to hold in your hands, display, and even own? Beginning on April 1st, everyone will have the opportunity with the grand opening of Art and Artifacts of Newark. Gosser is the curator of this pop up store/pop up gallery which is a unique curatorial residency with Index Art Gallery. It is housed on the first floor of the gallery of an old storefront that was a former beauty salon turned furniture store that could easily be the stage for a video for Frankie Avalon’s song Beauty School Dropout.

“Think of it as a museum, only no item is off limits.” said Gosser. Even the bike he rode in and around Newark is up for sale. He has amassed quite an eclectic collection of Newark Centric art, pictures, photos, sculptures, records, books, clothing, furniture, and fixtures from historic buildings that were demolished like the Queen of Angels church and an old firehouse now long gone in Newark’s little-known about Chinatown. Whatever is not on site are in storage at various locations, but he is in the process of digitizing the entire collection for perspective buyers to look through.

Gosser came to the city 25 years ago, when he enrolled in NJIT to study architecture.  He is now the curator of the school’s Center of Architecture and Design (COAD) Gallery. Gosser fondly recalled how “he fell in love with Newark, stayed and never left.” After hearing his extensive knowledge about the city’s past and looking around at the mostly one of kind items in his store, that love is very apparent.
With Newark experiencing a boon in development or as he said “seeing a turn it is creating a demand for Newark-centric items.” When he learns a historic structure is being slated for demolition and ” being destroyed for no good reason,” he is often given access to retrieve and save relics of the city’s past.  Or sometimes he finds them on his own when he is out exploring the city he loves, like so many of us. He also finds treasures at estate sales and thrift stores.

Not Just A Store

In addition to being a pop-up store, Gosser explained that Art and Artifacts of Newark will also serve as a gallery and feature artwork done by Newark based artists and outside artists whose subject matter is Newark in exhibits that will change every 2-3 months. The first artist to be featured will be Newark based Artist Anker West. There will be an opening reception for West in the evening of the opening from 6-8pm.
I do hope you get an opportunity to visit, view and consider purchasing these one of a kind or limited Art and Artifacts of Newark regularly to help keep pieces of the nation’s third oldest city alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“An Amusement Park without the rides” at Barringer High School this Saturday

Early this month, I was attending a Women’s History Month event at NJPAC and greeted by a group of high school students who were also there. They, along with their leader Ms. Jones-Brown were distributing flyers for their first Art Bazaar.  It is not every day, one sees teens at history talks. I was curious to learn more about them and why they were there. I immediately arranged an interview Ms. Jones-Brown and her students for this blog.

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April 1, 2017 Barringer High School Gymnasium, 90 Parker Street, Newark, NJ
When I arrived at the historic Barringer High School  with notable alumni such as Playwright and Activist, Amiri Baraka now houses two academies within the building. I was greeted by Vivian, a senior in the JAG program that prepares students for life after high school, the world of work, and postsecondary success. I learned that she was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and spent four years living in Brooklyn before she moved to Newark. When she first arrived, Vivian did not speak English and was placed in English as A Second Language (ESL) classes. She now ranks 1 in the program.
Ms. Jones-Brown, who is in her first year as a JAG Specialist, explained to me that in order for students to qualify for JAG, they must have one or more barriers that impacts their education. The barriers can range from language, teen parenting, truancy, homelessness to a number of others. According to their website, Newark is one of two cities to have this program available, the other is in Camden.
Twin sisters Seniors Stephany and Tiffany who are affectionately called “The Twins” “Twin 1 and Twin 2” also only spoke Spanish when they first arrived from Puerto Rico a year ago. They respectively rank 2 and 3 in the program.
Half of the students I met were born and/or raised in Newark while other students came from some place else such as Passaic, Guyana, Ghana and Jamaica.
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J.A.G. Students l.-r. Christian, Blas, Dock, Princess, J.A.G Specialist, Ms. Jones-Brown, Maria, Tihi, and Priya at Barringer High School of the Humanities
Dock a senior who is in his first year in J.A.G. credits the program for helping him applying to local colleges and universities where he hopes to study music as well as career preparation. Dock says that the instruction he received on resume writing was useful when applying for jobs. He is now working at the Red Bull Arena.
Before entering the program, Ghana-born Princess, said she was, “really shy, I couldn’t do it and now I could do it better. It has helped me a lot in so many ways.”
Other students reported that JAG has them in prepared in ways as they lead up to the bazaar, as it encourages “working together as a team,” “group learning,”  “project based learning,” “money and budgeting skills,”  “hands on learning,” “preparing and dressing for interviews” and “leadership skills.”
I would encourage you to stop by their bazaar and support these students as they put into practice what they have learned. Proceeds of  the items sold by them will generate funds for their upcoming prom.