All-in on art: Newark Artist Collaboration is Audible’s latest effort to celebrate city

Innovative public-private partnership between company, city and local organizations invigorates and celebrates Newark’s creative community

Since it moved to Newark 15 years ago, Audible leadership has shown a commitment to be of Newark, not just in it.

Its latest effort: the Newark Artist Collaboration, a series of installations and public artworks created to amplify the work of Newark-based artists and encourage local investment in Newark’s creative community.

Audible created the Newark Artist Collaboration in a public-private partnership with the city to invest in Newark’s local artists and art organizations, recognizing the critical role they play in enhancing the vibrancy and cultural capital of the city.

The artists

The initial artists in Newark Art Collaboration include:

  • Adama Delphine Fawundu
  • Antoinette Ellis-Williams
  • Armisey N. Smith
  • Eirini Linardaki
  • IMVisible
  • Malcolm Rolling & Hans Lundy
  • Melisa Gerecci
  • Monifa Kincaid
  • Noelle Lorraine Williams
  • Ron Norsworthy
  • Yasmin De Jesus

The inaugural phase of the program, unveiled this week, features an array of completed and in-progress site-specific and original interdisciplinary artwork from 20 local artists and artist collectives.

The artists were selected by a group of local arts professionals and community stakeholders last fall after a competitive call for proposals. Their works can be found within Audible’s newly renovated 1 Washington Park headquarters and in the surrounding downtown neighborhood.

Several murals transform the facades of neighborhood buildings and can be seen from blocks away, such as Eirini Linardaki’s “Cosmic Microwave Background,” which includes contributions from area youth and families and is installed at comic book store Fortress of Solitude, facing University Avenue.

Art collective IMVisible’s mural, “Code Glitched,” on the Orange Avenue-facing side of the FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development building, celebrates language and cross-cultural identities.

And, at the former Westinghouse site near Broad Street Station, billboards feature images of the neighborhood’s former abolitionist structures collaged with their modern-day sites, from artist Noelle Lorraine Williams’ series “Monumental Newark: Reimagined Sites of 19th Century Newark.”

Don Katz, the founder and now executive chairman of Audible, said the company is proud to support Newark’s artists as they express their commitment to the city in profoundly creative ways.

“Today’s unveiling demonstrates how public art connects to equity-making, as we also honor the generations of Newark artists, writers, poets, musicians and creatives who have marked the city with their artistry,” he said. “The Newark Artist Collaboration can serve as a model for other companies and cities looking to make a meaningful impact in their neighborhoods.”

Mayor Ras Baraka speaks at the unveiling event.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said he is thrilled to see so much local art around the city — and saluted Audible for its efforts.

“The Newark Artist Collaboration is a powerful testament to what public-private partnerships can accomplish,” he said. “These installations are the latest in a long list of community-focused projects that Audible has done for our city since moving here 15 years ago. I commend today’s artists on their spectacular work and look forward to seeing how these creative pieces will undoubtedly uplift our neighborhoods for years to come.”

Aisha Glover, vice president of urban innovation at Audible, said the effort is another example of Audible fulfilling its vision and mission in the city.

“The Newark Artist Collaboration is proof that, when you invest in your own community and cultivate local talent to commission works, the result is astounding,” she said. “The first phase of many, the potential of NAC is limitless, and we at Audible are excited to continue to build upon this work and expand our impact in Newark.”

About Audible

Audible, an Amazon company, is the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible content includes more than 700,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers.

The Newark Artist Collaboration is the latest of Audible’s impact initiatives in the city, joining programs like Newark Working Kitchens, a COVID-19 response that launched in April 2020 and has helped keep open 37 local restaurants and delivered more than 1.4 million meals to more than 10,000 at-risk Newarkers. NWK and the Newark Artist Collaboration are supported by the Global Center for Urban Development, which Audible created in 2020 to expand its community and economic initiatives while launching new and measurable models focused on advancing equity, racial justice, and economic empowerment.

Audible employees receive free memberships to the Newark Museum of Art as well as tickets to concerts and events at New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Prudential Center. Audible has also donated free memberships to its service, including 160 educator-selected titles, to thousands of Newark Public Schools students and teachers, and to the Mayor’s Book Club.