August 16, 2022


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Newark, NJ—August 16, 2022— Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced a call for submissions of creative proposals for the Asphalt Art Grant the Newark’s Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs and Project for Empty Space were awarded from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Newark was one of 26 U.S. cities from across the country to be selected for a round of grants for projects designed to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists, improve public spaces, and install murals at intersections and crosswalks.

The grant will support the development and installation of a mounted public art project at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and the Interstate 280 off-ramp in Newark. This area of focus is bound by Interstate 280 to the south, Clifton Avenue to the west, Bloomfield Avenue to the north, Broadway and Broad Street to the east, and was at one time known as Newark’s Little Italy.

“Improving public spaces and corridors in the city through public art enhances public safety and quality of life concerns, and transforms neighborhoods. A multitude of people see this highly trafficked space each month in transit or while passing by on their way to work, school, or home. This is a wonderful opportunity to beautify this space, through the lens of a local artist, as we aim to develop more opportunities for vibrant transformations, citywide,” said Mayor Baraka.

Today, the area is home to many diverse communities, ethnicities, and neighborhoods. Nearby landmarks include: Broad Street Station, an early 20th century contribution to local transit needs; the Pavilion and Colonnade Apartments, designed by internationally renowned designer/architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the early 1960s; Branch Brook Park, a 360-acre park that contains a segment of the 36-mile Lenape Trail, and one of the nation's largest collection of cherry blossoms.

A request for artistic proposals has been released via Project for Empty Space’s Submittable, an online platform for submission of applications. It calls for local and regional muralists to present conceptual contemporary visuals that speak to interconnectivity, acknowledging how our paths cross and intertwine.

“Project for Empty Space is an endeavor that was inaugurated in 2011 to activate public space through community storytelling. We hope that this initiative will bring vibrancy and light to an under acknowledged, yet highly trafficked area of the city – as well as share a new narrative celebrating diversity and change,” said Project for Empty Space Co-Director

Rebecca Pauline Jampol.

This opportunity is open to New Jersey-based artists and artist collectives. The submission portal will close on Monday, September 12, at 5 p.m. The selected party will execute the project in the late fall of 2022.

A survey has been released to collect feedback from local residents about the condition of this space and open space for ideas and concepts to be considered. It can be accessed here.

About Project for Empty Space

Project for Empty Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating safe and equitable spaces for audiences and artists alike. PES is committed to cultivating discourse around important social issues through the catalytic lens of contemporary art.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies  

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit or follow on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

About The Asphalt Art Initiative

The Asphalt Art Initiative responds to the growing number of cities around the world embracing art as an effective and relatively low-cost strategy to enliven and improve safety in their streets through interventions on crosswalks, plazas, and other transportation infrastructure.


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