Newark, NJ Mayor Ras Baraka (City Hall photo)

Urban News Staff Reports

Mayor Ras J. Baraka recently announced the recipients of the Creative Catalyst Fund awards to provide artists and art groups with flexible grant support during the Coronavirus crisis and beyond. 
The selection committee (comprised of community representatives, City staff and arts experts), recommended 120 artists, art collectives and cultural organizations for funding. 87 of the awards went to individual artists and collectives and 33 to arts groups. A total of 164 applications were received.
“Newark is a ‘City of the Arts,’ where access to spoken-word events, musical and dance performances, film, art exhibits, theatre offerings, museums and libraries add exponentially to our economic health,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “During the pandemic, our arts community has used its creativity to bring the arts to Newarkers in ways that have not risked spreading COVID-19.
“Our strategy to help Newark residents and businesses get through the pandemic includes attention to the health of the arts community, inclusive of small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as our arts and cultural organizations. I appeal to foundations, businesses and private funders to join us in creating innovative strategies and public/private partnerships for funding the arts sector,” Mayor Baraka added.
The Fund will provide up to $1 million annually for at least the next three years, beginning with $750,000 provided by the City of Newark and $50,000 donated by the Community Foundation of New Jersey to seed the initiative. Contributions can be made through Newark Arts.
In partnership with Newark Arts, the Creative Catalyst Fund will continue to support the local community of artists as well as small-to-midsize arts and cultural organizations, all of which provide social and economic value to the City of Newark by revitalizing neighborhoods, inspiring students, and generally improving the quality of life for city residents. The arts contribute more than $178 million to Newark’s economy, create more than 5,000 local jobs and generate $15.5 million in local and state taxes.
“Newark’s economic and cultural vibrancy is rooted in the arts community,” said Jeremy Johnson, Executive Director of Newark Arts. “We at Newark Arts are committed to working with the City of Newark to bolster the diverse core of artists, arts organizations, and creative businesses that are on the frontline of education, equity, and artistic expression. We will need art, and plenty of it to help emerge from the current crisis and to build on the recommendations of the Newark Creates cultural plan.”

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