January 24, 2023


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Newark, NJ – January 24, 2023 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today the recipients of the 2022 Creative Catalyst Fund awards to provide artists and cultural groups with flexible grant support in recognition of the immense social and economic value the creative sector brings to Newark. The list of the awardees can be viewed here. A selection committee composed of local artists, curators, community representatives, City staff, and funders, recommended 148 applications for funding. A total amount of 114 grants will be awarded to individual artists and artists’ collectives with an average award of $3,200; and 34 grants will be awarded to small and mid-sized arts organizations with an average award of $10,100.

“Newark has a long history as a center of the arts, and our administration has supported the arts in word and deed, creating great works like the second-longest public mural on the East Coast. We are proud, privileged, and humbled to write a new chapter by supporting this year’s grantees. Their works will define the voice and talent of a new generation of Newark artists for our present and future,” Mayor Baraka said.

The Creative Catalyst Fund was created by Mayor Baraka in January 2020 as a multi-year initiative providing the local community of artists and small and mid-sized arts organizations up to $1 million annually for at least three years. Launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the Fund has awarded a total of $2.35 million in grants in its first three years. In its most recent year, the Fund awarded 134 artists and organizations funding for programs that served more than 250,000 Newark residents and visitors and paid over 1,000 additional artists for their work supporting these projects. Grantees used the funds to help pay for operating costs, space rentals, staff, programming costs, supplies and equipment, and COVID-related expenses.

The Creative Catalyst Fund is administered by the City’s Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs in partnership with Newark Arts, and was designed and facilitated with support from Bloomberg Associates, the pro bono municipal consulting arm of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Newark Arts is honored to help administer the Creative Catalyst Fund again this year,” said Felicia A. Swoope, Executive Director of Newark Arts. “This fund demonstrates Mayor Baraka’s continued commitment to supporting and uplifting Newark’s vibrant and cutting-edge arts community. The Fund helps level the playing field for the arts in Newark as recovery from the pandemic continues.”

The City’s allocation of $750,000 of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in 2022 to support the City’s Creative Catalyst Fund bolsters Newark’s creative community, which has vital contributions to civic economy, neighborhood revitalization, education, tourism, and generally improving the quality of life for city residents. The arts are estimated to 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.

For more insight into Mayor Baraka’s arts initiatives spearheaded by the City’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Director, fayemi shakur, view the Arts & Culture Annual Report here.

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


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