Newark allocating additional $750,000 in grants for arts

Baraka tapping American Rescue Plan funding to support 3rd year of Creative Catalyst Fund

Newark’s commitment to the arts continues — with big dollars.

On Monday, Mayor Ras Baraka announced the allocation of $750,000 of American Rescue Plan funds to support the third year of the city’s Creative Catalyst Fund, which will provide artists and cultural groups with flexible grant support during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Prospective applicants will choose between two grant streams, based on eligibility:

  • General Operating Support for Newark-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations with annual operating budgets up to $2 million. The grant range is $2,500 to $25,000. Grants over $5,000 must be matched by funds raised from other sources.
  • Artist Fellowships for Newark-based individual artists or artist collectives working in any artistic discipline are eligible. The grant range is $1,000 to $5,000. There is no matching requirement.

The deadline to apply is Dec. 1. Apply here.

Announced in January 2020 as Newark’s first-ever municipal arts grant program, the inaugural round of Creative Catalyst Fund grants offered much-needed support in the early months of the pandemic that took an enormous financial toll on the creative sector.

Baraka said he was thrilled to be able to continue the support.

“Newark has a long history as a center for arts and culture,” he said. “That sector is an important part of our economy and focus on equitable development and neighborhood growth.

“Empowering artists has an impact greater than economics alone — it empowers the creativity of our city.”

The financial support from the Creative Catalyst Fund has bolstered Newark’s creative community, which has vital contributions to civic economy and quality of life.

Need more information?

An online public information session about how to apply will be provided at 6 p.m. Wednesday. To learn more and register, click here.

To apply, click here.

The fund was launched as a multiyear initiative providing up to $1 million annually for at least three years. In its first two years, the fund issued a total of $1.6 million for the arts.

Last year, the Creative Catalyst Fund awarded grants to 134 artists and organizations for programs that served over 250,000 Newark residents and visitors and paid over 1,000 additional artists for their work supporting these projects. The average award amount was $10,900 for organizations and $3,800 for individual artists and collectives. 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 thrilled to partner with the city of Newark for a third year to facilitate Creative Catalyst Fund grants to Newark’s arts community,” Executive Director of Newark Arts Felicia Swoope said. “These much-needed resources help small arts organizations and individual artists to thrive as they enrich the city with artistic vibrancy and cultural relevance. Newark Arts’ mission is to help to drive funding, space, and coordination that supports the arts community.”