Newark, NJ- March 29, 2022—Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Invest Newark, the City of Newark’s Economic Development Corporation, dignitaries, and community members today celebrated the ribbon cutting at the Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective at 505 Clinton Street. The new artist housing development will provide the community of Clinton Hill and the City of Newark a new cultural art, education, residential and social center. The celebration was followed by a short performance and open tours of the ground-floor units, cafe and performance center, as well as an exhibit to display local artwork. The building will offer an opportunity to build a vibrant neighborhood that encourages the growth of creativity and arts. You can see photos from the event here.
“Newark has a long and rich history as a center for the arts,” Mayor Baraka said. “This new facility provides a new generation of artists with housing, facilities in which to work, and a space for the city’s artists to connect, express themselves, and showcase their talents. It is truly befitting that this development honors two outstanding Newark natives and artists, Rodney Gilbert and Jerry Gant. They left indelible marks across the city, state, and world during their lives through their art and the people they touched. Further, the project will bring increased economic strength to the Clinton Hill community, provide an opportunity for residents to experience culture and art, and write a new page in our artistic history.”
“The ribbon cutting at the Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective marks the opening of an incredible investment in the City of Newark,” said Roy Southerland, Interim President and CEO of Invest Newark. “This unique project is one of many that are helping to revitalize the Clinton Hill District, bringing necessary affordable housing, and providing an accessible community space to center creative entrepreneurship, artistic and cultural collaboration, and year-round community engagement through art programming. The Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective will provide space and opportunity for our local artists to thrive within a community of their own.”
The mixed-use residence will provide 27 affordable homes, a performance space, 10 on-site work studios, and community and public space that will serve as a creative hub for artists and their families. The Collective will also feature programming that will focus on the following essential areas for the success of the artist housing, including:
● High Quality Artistic Venues Special Event Programing
● Stage Performances: Music, Dance, Theater
● Special Events: Private and Corporate
● Access to Affordable Art Discipline, Education and Training
● Individual and Community Capacity Building, Promoting Artistic Expression and Creativity
● Strengthening Community’ Socialization and Wellness through Effective Engagement and Creative Collaboration
● Building Strategic Alliance, Partnerships with the Greater Newark Arts Community, Area Businesses, Corporate and Foundations
● Nutrition, Health and Fitness
● New Works Platform for Artistic Ideas and Presentation
● Social Awareness: Lectures, Readings, Panels and Roundtable Discussions
The artist housing development is a $9 million project that will bring new hope, vitality, and stabilization to the Clinton Hill community, offering opportunities for individuals and that community to grow and reach desired interests and outcomes in art, cultural, and community health and wellness.
“At BlkBoxNwk, we will provide an affordable, accessible, and high-volume venue for artists to express themselves while showcasing, testing, and refining their respective crafts,” said John Murray, Operator of the Performance Space at the Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective. “It is our aim to provide an interactive system of support for our artist community that adapts with the outside factors that affect constructive output from the working artist.”
“At our cafe, we are combining healthy food, entertainment, and art to the heart of Newark,” said Rashena Burroughs, owner-operator of the cafe Rhythm N’ Food.
Rodney Gilbert, who passed away in 2017, was the founder and CEO of Yendor Productions, a Newark-based firm that consults, develops, and produces arts education programming and events for under-served artists and communities. Jerry Gant, who died in 2018, was a visual artist, poet, performance artist, and educator, and is known for creating most of Newark’s public sculptures.
“Thank you to everyone for their continued love and support of Jerry Gant. It is such a blessing to see his work, spirit, and name continue to live on,” said Mr. Gant’s daughter, Marissa Gant-Monroe.
“Today we reached a milestone. This is long overdue and the fact that my brother’s name is a part of this is a blessing not just for his memory and our family, but for the community,” said Sheila Cannon, Mr. Gant’s younger sister, speaking on behalf of her family.
“The only thing that makes this moment and building even more beautiful is that it honors two of the most prolific artists not just of this community but of this generation. I was friends with both Rodney and Jerry, and didn’t get the time I wanted with either, so to have the opportunity to have my art on the walls alongside their art and also walk by it every day means the world to me,” said Olive, a multidisciplinary artist and future resident of the Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective at 505 Clinton Avenue.
Invest Newark, the City of Newark’s Economic Development Corporation, propels the City’s strong and diverse economy, builds vibrant communities, and creates opportunities for all Newarkers. Invest Newark supports small, women and minority-owned businesses, invests in world-class internet service, spurs real estate development, and executes economic development activities to produce and sustain economic growth, generate jobs, and create wealth for the citizens of Newark. www.investnewark.org
For more information on the City of Newark, please visit our website at www.newarknj.gov