When thinking of art in Downtown Newark, venues like the Newark Museum of Art, Gallery Aferro, and the former 31 Central art studios often come to mind. However, a new project could allow Newarkers to view artwork without ever needing to set foot indoors.
Audible, the Newark-based audiobook business that is owned by Amazon, submitted plans to the city’s municipal government that illustrate some of the artwork that could be installed in the neighborhood as part of the previously announced Newark Artist Collaboration.
A presentation that was released by the City of Newark shows that several art installations are planned for the upper part of Downtown Newark near Newark Broad Street Station and Washington Park.
“The Newark Artist Collaboration will commence in Fall 2021 with thirteen commissions for Audible’s newly renovated headquarters at One Washington Park and the surrounding downtown neighborhood,” the document says.
One project consists of an “intervention” by artist Noelle Lorraine Williams at the old Westinghouse plant property, which has sat vacant for more than a decade near the corner of University Avenue and Orange Street.
The plans for the former Westinghouse site involve repairing the existing fence on the premises and adding “prefabricated ‘billboard’ like exhibition structures” with photo collages printed on them. The artwork would reportedly remain for one year and will then start “rotating annually until the area is developed.”
“For this project, the artist collaborated with a Newark-based photographer to document various sites in Newark connected to Black history here,” the presentation notes.
Nearby at 441 Broad Street, the exterior of the building used by the FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development could be repaired and used for the ImVisible Newark collective’s “Code Glitching” murals.
“‘Code Glitching’ is an interactive mural project that we propose to create based around the idea of reclaiming and liberating the act of code switching,” the presentation states. “We propose to create a mural design based on workshops and deep listening circles held with the public while centering cross generational immigrant voices.”
Meanwhile, a separate mural on the side of a three-story building owned by the Newark Public Library could last far longer. The structure on Essex Street is slated to feature a mural from Malcolm Rolling and Hans Lundy called “Souvenir de la Voix.”
“This mural concept depicts the spoken or oral histories carried through memories, cultural and generational knowledge of Africans throughout the diaspora,” according to the presentation. “It shares common traditions carried from generation-to-generation and from loved one-to-loved one.”
The presentation adds that all the artwork could be installed as early as October.