Audible today announced the artists selected for the first phase of the Newark Artist Collaboration, a program created to amplify the work of Newark-based artists and encourage local investment in Newark’s creative community. Fifteen local artists and artist collectives were selected by a jury of local arts professionals and community stakeholders to produce large-scale installations and public artworks at Audible’s newly renovated 1 Washington Park headquarters and in the surrounding downtown neighborhood. Based on the strength of the submissions and the eagerness of community stakeholders to become part of this collaboration, an additional site was recently added at 53 University Avenue.
Selected artists include:
- Adama Delphine Fawundu: Fawundu, a photo-based visual artist, will create a nearly 50-foot immersive digital artwork in the lobby of Audible’s newly renovated One Washington Park. Adama is a co-author and editor of the critically acclaimed book MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora and is an artist in residence at Project for Empty Space in Newark.
- Antoinette Ellis-Williams: Williams is a multidisciplinary visual artist, poet, playwright, actor, and scholar. She is the chair of Women’s and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University. Williams has been selected to create a vibrant mounted fence mural on Lackawanna Avenue across from Broad Street Station. Upon installation, the mural will be programmed with live performance.
- Armisey N. Smith: Smith is a visual artist, arts administrator, and educator who has been the lead artist on several local public art initiatives. She has been selected to create a multifaceted installation at the Newark Public Library courtyard that includes a nearly 40-foot-long mural and series of functional sculptures.
- Eirini Linardaki: Linardaki is a public artist who lives between Newark and the island of Crete. Her work centers on social engagement and the education of our collective histories. Linardaki will be creating a multi-location intervention on University Avenue which will include a mounted fence mural and a large-scale facade activation driven by local youth participation.
- GERALUZ & WERC: GERALUZ & WERC are a celebrated street artist couple with strong roots in Newark. Together they have created murals and large-scale public artworks across the nation and worldwide. Their collaborative practice honors each site by bringing out its natural and historical wonder. They have been selected to create a nearly 500-foot long mounted mural and light installation off Broad Street on the Route 280 barrier facade.
- IMVisible: Founded in 2018 by Yeimy Gamez Castillo, Dr. Jennifer Bucalo, and Layqa Nuna Yawar, IMVisible is a collective of Newark-based artists who amplify migrant voices in the city of Newark using art, advocacy and education with a holistic approach. IMVisible has been selected to create a temporary facade installation at the FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community. The development of this artwork will be driven by open discussions with the undocumented and immigrant community in the Fall of 2021.
- Hans Lundy and Malcolm Rolling: Lundy and Rolling of YENDOR, an artist-owned and operated production house founded by the late Rodney Gilbert, have been selected to create a mural on the Newark Public Library Annex. The mural, titled Souvenir de la voix, designed by Lundy, depicts the spoken and oral histories of Africans throughout the diaspora.
- Melisa E Gerecci: Gerecci is an illustrator whose work centers the power of everyday objects and place. She has been selected to create an informative wallpaper installation about Newark’s rich culinary culture at Audible's Innovation Cathedral.
- Monifa Kincaid: Kincaid is a visual artist whose work is inspired by meditation, self-love, and healing. She has been selected to create a mounted fence mural on Essex Street that gives an illustrated mapping of underrepresented voices and historical events.
- Nancy Saleme and Patricia Carzola: An aunt and niece Latinx collaborative artist duo, Cazorla + Saleme create public art projects inspired by the working-class immigrant community. They have been selected to create a vibrant and empowering installation at the Newark Public Library Youth Courtyard that gives attendees the opportunity to sit, play, dream, and read alongside each other.
- Noelle Lorraine Williams: Williams is a public humanities specialist, artist, researcher, and curator who examines the ways African-Americans use culture to reimagine liberation in the United States. Williams has been selected to install an intervention that includes site-specific iteration of artworks from her multimedia project Black Power! 19th Century.
- Ron Norsworthy: Acclaimed at a young age for his installations and sets for iconic music videos and televised performances, Norsworthy’s multidisciplinary practice engages art, design, and architecture to explore the expression of identity. He has been selected to create a multi-facade, kaleidoscope-like environment that embraces local landmarks and retells their history through intricately designed wallpaper.
- Yasmin De Jesus: Born and raised in Newark and an Arts Highschool alumni, De Jesus has been creating murals in Newark for over 12 years that encourage and uplift her community. She has been selected to create a mural in the lobby of Audible’s 1 Washington Park headquarters that captures the importance of voice and representation.
“Just as we draw out the best art from the creative professionals who produce the well-wrought words our customers hear, Audible is proud to elevate the homegrown creativity of artists in Newark as they enhance the vibrancy and resilience of the neighborhood, to the benefit of all city residents,” said Don Katz, founder and Executive Chairman of Audible.
“This group of local artists truly represents the ambition, originality, and talent of Newark’s creative community,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “The Newark Artist Collaboration shines a critical light on the exceptional creators we have in Newark, which has long been a center for the arts and culture. Through Audible’s leadership, we have a replicable model by which the public and private sectors can come together to support the artistic community that we call home.”
"In the aftermath of the pandemic, I want to have an even more significant impact on helping to bring joy, peace, and healing through my public art to Newark,” said Antoinette Ellis Williams.
Newark Artist Collaboration installations will begin this fall in and around Audible’s headquarters, which is undergoing a comprehensive renovation in preparation for employees’ return. Neighborhood stakeholders who donated their space in support of this project include Aetna Realty, Hanini Group, Bolton Development, Fidelco Realty Group, FOCUS – Hispanic Center for Community Development, 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 have also advised on and supported the development of the program. The Newark Artist Collaboration intends to regularly engage the local artist community and will include future installations and artistic activations.
Newark Artist Collaboration Jurors included:
- Celeste Bateman, Principle/Founder, Celeste Bateman, and Associates
- Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Curator of American Art, The Newark Museum of Art
- Lauren Craig, Director of Marketing & Artistic Initiatives, Newark Arts
- Joslyn Bowling Dixon, Library Director, Newark Public Library
- Anne Erni, Chief People Officer, Audible
- Aisha Glover, VP, Urban Innovation, Audible
- Nina Cooke John, Founder and Principal, Studio Cooke John Architecture + Design
- Sheila D. McKoy, Owner, SDM Art Solutions Service
- Taneshia Nash Laird, President and CEO, Newark Symphony Hall
- Kari Niles, VP, Creative Director, Audible
- Damon Rich, Designer, Urban Planner, and Partner, HECTOR
- fayemi shakur, Arts and Cultural Affairs Director, City of Newark, NJ
- Salamishah Tillet, Director, Express Newark at Rutgers University, Newark
- Roger C. Tucker, Director, Tucker Contemporary Art
- Jasmine Wahi, Co-Director at Project for Empty Space
The Newark Artist Collaboration is the latest of Audible’s impact initiatives to aid in pandemic recovery, joining Newark Working Kitchens, which launched in April 2020 and has helped keep open 30 local restaurants and delivered more than one million meals to at-risk Newarkers. NWK has reached more than 10,000 Newark residents across 70 locations. 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. Audible has been a long-time proponent of the Newark arts community. 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.