June 25, 2021


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Newark, NJ – June 25, 2021 — Mayor Ras J. Baraka today announced the recipients of the 2021 Creative Catalyst Fund awards to provide artists and art groups with flexible grant support during the Coronavirus crisis and beyond. The list of the awardees can be viewed here. A selection committee comprised of local artists, curators, community representatives, City staff and funders, recommended 134 artists, artists collectives and cultural organizations for funding. 102 grants will be awarded to individual artists and artists’ collectives and 32 grants for small to mid-size arts organizations. The funds will be administered by the Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs in partnership with Newark Arts.

“Newark has a long history as a center for arts and culture, and that sector is an important part of our economic recovery effort focused on equitable development, neighborhood growth, and relieving the economic stress that has impacted so many households,” said Mayor Baraka. “Empowering artists has an impact greater than economics alone – doing so empowers the creativity of our City.”

In 2020, the Creative Catalyst Fund awarded a total of $800,000 in grant funds to 120 artists and arts organizations. The average award amount last year for general operating support was $10,727 and $3,098 for artists and artist collectives. Grantees used the funds to help pay for rent, staff, programming, supplies and equipment, and COVID-related expenses.

Last year, Creative Catalyst Fund applicants reported an estimated total of $4.5 million in monetary loss due to COVID-related closures, lost income and cancelled events, with an average loss of $12,650 for artists and $87,992 for organizations. In light of this, the City of Newark streamlined the design of the Fund as much as possible to allow for flexibility in how grantees may use awarded funds.

“Newark historically has been a vibrant city of the arts,” said Regina Barboza, Interim Executive Director of Newark Arts. “We are pleased to partner with the City of Newark to support artists, arts organizations, and creative entrepreneurs who amplify the diversity of Newark’s cultural voices, call for social justice, and advance arts education, which informs young, emerging artists.”

The Creative Catalyst Fund is a multi-year initiative providing up to $1 million dollars annually for at least three years, seeded by Department of Economic and Housing Development and philanthropic support. This year the City is providing $750,000 and has received an additional $50,000 from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

“Artists and arts organizations in Newark and throughout the state stepped up to help their communities through the pandemic as economic drivers and sources of creative expression, healing, and cohesion,” said Marianna Schaffer, the Dodge Foundation’s Vice President of Programs. “We are proud to support the Creative Catalyst Fund and the impressive range and diversity of the Newark’s arts and culture sector.”

The arts contribute more than $178 million to Newark’s economy, support roughly 5,000 local jobs and generate $15.5 million in local and state taxes. The Fund will support the local community of artists as well as small-to-midsize arts and cultural organizations, all of which provide immense 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 Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs also released an annual report that provides more insight into Mayor Baraka’s arts initiatives spearheaded by the City’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Director, fayemi shakur. View the report here.

More information about resources and opportunities for artists and arts organizations can be found at