Call for Public Artists & Designers


Download flyer.

The Newark Public Art Program seeks lead and supporting artists for Newark Murals.

Newark Murals tell Newark’s stories, celebrating and commemorating underrecognized people, places, and events. Each Newark Mural results from a collaboration between a community-based organization, young people, researchers, and artists convened and facilitated by Newark Public Art Program staff.

Projects range from 4 to 10 months in length, and artist stipends vary based on project scope and artist experience. Past murals have ranged in size from 800 to 6000 square feet.

Applicants must have experience in making large-scale graphic or visual art, collaborating with students and community-based organizations, and a strong interest in engaging Newark communities. Lead and supporting artists will implement project according to work plan and schedule, contribute to a collaborative design process with diverse stakeholders and participate in formal approval process, serve as painting site manager, supervise students and/or community participants, administer evaluations and assessments, and participate in the dedication ceremony.

Sites for 2014-15 projects have been selected based on nominations submitted by community-based organizations. See flyer for anticipated sites. The Newark Public Art Program is committed to create artwork in places where it will matter most to improving everyday life in Newark.

Submissions must be emailed to by February 28, 2014, with “Lead Artist” or “Supporting Artist” in subject line, be no more than 3 pages, and include the following:

1. Cover letter explaining:
a. your interest in producing public artwork in Newark
b. your approach to and past experience in collaborative design and art making with community-based organizations
c. your past experience creating large-scale outdoor murals
d. your past experience working at heights or on scaffolding
e. your past experience with teaching at any level
f. your past experience with mobility impaired students

2. Curriculum Vitae showing art, design, and educational experience

3. 5-10 JPEGs of relevant past work with accompanying two sentence descriptions about the artwork and your specific involvement in the piece (not included in page limit).

4. Names and contact information for three professional references with whom you have worked on relevant projects.

Join NPAP Friday, August 23 to dedicate A Tribute to Newark Jazz Clubs

JazzClubsFinalOn Friday, August 23, 4-7 pm, please join the Newark Public Art Program, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka, the Clinton Hill Community & Early Childhood Center, lead artist Gladys Barker Grauer, arts administrator City Without Walls, and others to dedicate the Newark Public Art Program’s twenty-fourth large-scale outdoor painting, titled A Tribute to Newark Jazz Clubs, which overlooks David L. Warner Playground at 390 Hawthorne Avenue.

Dedication of A Tribute to Newark Jazz Clubs
August 23, 2013, 4-7 pm
David L. Warner Playground, 390 Hawthorne Avenue
Light refreshments and entertainment provided

The mural is the twenty-fourth completed since Mayor Booker launched the Newark Public Art Program (NPAP) in 2009 under the direction of the Newark Planning Office. Newark Murals tell Newark’s stories, celebrating and commemorating under-recognized people, places, and events. For each mural project, NPAP leads a collaboration of a community-based organization, artists and researchers, and young people to design and produce a large-scale outdoor painting.

A Tribute to Newark Jazz Clubs celebrates the city’s history as a hotspot of jazz composition and performance, featuring a lively scene of playing, dancing, and listening. The painting includes the names of 22 legendary Newark jazz clubs including Carvan, the Key Club, Sparkey J’s, and Lloyd’s Manor. It was designed and produced in collaboration by the Newark Public Art Program; community partner and wall owner the Clinton Hill Community & Early Childhood Center; lead artist Gladys Barker Grauer; supporting artist Melanie Stokes; additional artists and NewarkWORKS students Yasmine DeJesus, Malik Hardaway, Onnie Strother, Nicole Thompson, Lee Johnson, Larry Hilton, Cheryll Fowler, Kaela Berdecia; and arts administrator City Without Walls.

“We are creating a city where the physical environment reflects the bold aspirations and deep history of Newark and its people,” said NPAP Director Damon Rich. “A mural is not just a work of art, but the manifestation of real collaboration among artists, youth, community-based organizations, and residents. That’s how each of these murals tells the story: THIS IS NEWARK.”

“Newark Jazz Clubs were the pulse of the City’s entertainment from the late 1920s to the 1950s,” according to lead artist Gladys Barker Grauer. “It was a stop-over for gigs between New York City and Philadelphia for many great jazz entertainers. During the Depression, the clubs were a good business venture, a source of jobs and launched many careers for local entertainers of color. In the mural, the clubs are represented symbolically because so many of the original structures are gone. I attempted to give the viewer a glimpse of the jazz-era fashion showing the zoot suit and the conked hair. Of course ‘Sassy’ Sarah Vaughn takes over the center. The legacy of the jazz clubs lives todayin Baraka’s Blues People, Barbara Kukla’s Swing City, and WBGO’s 24/7 365 jazz.”

Riverfront Park!


Song of the Passaic
Riverfront Park, 537 Raymond Boulevard
Newark Murals / Newark Public Art Program
Community Partner: Ironbound Community Corporation
Artists: Lead Artist Kevin Blythe Sampson with James WilsonCesar Melgar, and Daniel Brophy
Wall Owner: Seidler Chemical Company
Arts Administrator: City Without Walls

A partnership between the wall’s owner, Seidler Chemical Company, and the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) nominated the wall to the Newark Public Art Program‘s annual Call for Walls, explaining that the story of community organizing behind the new park deserved to be told through public art in the park itself. As one of six selected sites for 2012, the Newark Public Art Program convened and led a team of artists headed by Kevin Sampson to work with ICC and Ironbound residents to develop the design and produce the mural.

SongofthePassaicDedication.jpg   SongofthePassaicFish.jpgLeft: August 3 dedication with Batman. Right: A Passaic River fish.SongofthePassaicSketch.jpgAbove: Preliminary sketch by Sampson developed with NPAP & ICC.SongofthePassicKevin.jpg   SongofthePassaicArtists.jpgAbove: Painters at work.

The painting shows a fantasy steampunk version of the area’s relationship to the river, visualizing how the river, the city, and residents have mechanically grown into one another in both amazing productive and frighteningly poisonous ways. Most of all it shows how people have come together to improve this system, including creating the park that the mural overlooks.


Bring a mural to your neighborhood! 2013 Call for Walls

Bring a Mural to Your Neighborhood!
Newark Public Art Program Call for Walls
Due by July 31, 2013 5 pm


Download PDF flyer.

The Newark Public Art Program seeks large and prominent outdoor walls for permanent large-scale public paintings in all Newark neighborhoods. Newark Murals tell Newark’s stories, celebrating and commemorating underrecognized people, places, and events. Each Newark Mural results from a collaboration between a community-based organization, young people, researchers, and artists convened and facilitated by Newark Public Art Program staff. Selected projects receive up to $20,000 in public funds.

To nominate a wall, you must either be a Wall Owner (of any type of building) or Community Partner, a community-based organization willing to provide $5000 in matching funds, workspace, and other project ingredients. In addition, Community Partners must agree to participate in artist selection, host required public mural design meetings, and recruit young people and volunteers to help complete the work. Wall Owners must agree to provide access for mural installation and to preserve the artwork for ten years.

Most importantly, the Newark Public Art Program is committed to create artwork in places where it will matter most to improving everyday life in Newark.

Submissions must not be more than 3 pages and must answer the following questions:

1. Who is nominating the wall? Are you a Wall Owner, Community Partner, or both? Community Partners can be schools, church, mosque, or synagogue groups, and must commit to providing matching funds of $5000. Provide your name, organization, contact person, address, email, and phone number.

2. If you are a Community Partner but not a Wall Owner, who is the Wall Owner? Will the Wall Owner agree to participate in a mural project?

3. Why would a work of art on this wall improve your neighborhood? (This is the most important question. Please provide as much background as possible.)

4. What is address of the wall? What are its width and height? What material is it made from? What condition is it in? Please provide 3-5 photographs of the wall, both far away and close.

While only 3-5 projects are initiated each year, all nominations are kept on file permanently for future consideration.

Learn more
(973) 733–5917 fax (973) 733–5662
newarkpublicart [at] gmail [dot] com
Newark Public Art Program
City of Newark
920 Broad Street #406
Newark, NJ 07102

First Street near Central!


NJCRI, 393 Central Avenue
Newark Murals / Newark Public Art Program
Artists: Sue Daly and Kerry Dennehy
Community Partner: North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI)
Arts Administrator: City Without Walls & Barat Foundation

NJCRI4Created with an organization dedicated to empowering  clients by reducing social and health disparities in the greater Newark area, Steps depicts stories of clients and staff on the exterior of their building. The North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) is one of New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS community-based organization, and hosts programs including Project WOW, a drop-in center for LGBTQ youth. This mural helps tell their story to their city, and the city’s story to itself. This is Newark.


Artists Kerry Dennehy and Sue Daly, Art Administrators Chandri & Gary Barat of the Barat Foundation, and Newark Public Art Program Director Damon Rich worked with NJCRI stakeholders to identify stories and people as source material for the mural. The artist team, Rodney Gilbert, Pat Huizing, and Jackie Cruz of City Without Walls, and Newark Public Art Program Manager Perris Straughter brought the project to realization.

NJCRIWorkshop    NJCRIsketchesNJCRI3NJCRI7


Lincoln Park!


Emancipation of Music
Newark Murals / Newark Public Art Program
Artists: Armisey Smith, Malik Whitaker, and Rutgers-Newark students
Community Partners: Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District and Integrity House
Arts Administrator: Yendor Arts

LincolnPark1 Music at the Dedication Ceremony provided by the drumming band from the Adelaide L. Sanford School.

The theme for Emancipation of Music is the history and contemporary culture of the Lincoln Park neighborhood, epitomized by African American music. The Lincoln Park area, once referred to as the Barbary Coast, was an African American business district that became a hub for jazz clubs and nightlife.  “When people think of the hottest cities of the Jazz Age and Swing Era, New York, Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, Kansas City, and Chicago immediately spring to mind. But Newark, New Jersey was just as happening as each of these towns. On any given evening, you could listen to a legendary singer like Sarah Vaughn or laugh at the celebrated comedy of Red Foxx. Newark was a veritable maze of theaters, clubs, and after-hours joints where people like to have a good time. Many entertainment careers were launched in the City of Newark.” (Swing City: Newark Nightlife 1925-1950 by Barbara Kukla) Today, Lincoln Park is home to the Lincoln Park Music Festival, which attracts over 50,000 visitors and is one of Newark’s largest cultural events.

The mural celebrates Lincoln Park’s past and present by featuring images of a choir, musician Billie Holiday, who performed in Newark and of Sarah Vaughn and James Moody, who were from Newark and began their career here. The mural includes an image of a blues player to represent that genre and an image of a DJ to represent the genres of house and hip-hop which are the mainstays of the Lincoln Park Music Festival. The mural also depicts images referring to Africa and to slavery, a reference not only to African American people but specifically to the South Presbyterian Church which was once an abolitionist church.


Jesse Allen Park!


Getcha Mind Right
Jesse Allen Park, 66 Muhmmad Ali Avenue
Newark Murals / Newark Public Art Program
Artists: James Wilson, Malik Hardaway-Whitaker, and youth team
Community Partner: Friends of Jesse Allen Park
Arts Administrator: City Without Walls


A portion of the mural commemorates the great rent strike at the Stella Wright Houses between 1970 and 1974, when over 2000 people refused to pay rent in protest of their housing conditions.


MindRight3    MindRight5

Above left: Artist James Wilson with Central Councilman Darrin Sharif, in front of a scene of former Central Ward Councilman Jesse Allen, for whom the park is named. Above right: Youth team receive certificates of accomplishment.