A Dedication to Memory This inaugural edition of the NAF Journal is an homage to the past, present, and future. Newark is in the throes of a major shift; one which has and will impact the the arts scene. With this in mind, we felt that it was important to trace the trajectory of the visual arts scenes over the past 40+ years. We want to acknowledge those who have come before us and created spaces, places, and opportunities- the legacy of their labor will live on. Understanding the past, is as important as living in the present, and looking towards the future. We hope that this publication, in its infinitesimal way, provides you with a meaningful glimpse of the complex wonderful arts city that is Newark, NJ. – Rebecca Pauline Jampol + Jasmine Wahi (Directors, Project for Empty Space)
the fire next time is a semi-stream of consciousness prose work. The piece is inspired by one of Wahi’s favorite book of civil rights era essays by James Baldwin, who wrote The Fire Next Time. Newark is a city with an important legacy of civil rights that is deeply intertwined with the national dialogue. It was important to acknowledge the past, as we look towards the future, and look at the multivalence of angles and perspectives that contribute to shaping this future.
The Art Wall, as both outcome and process, forms an example of successful integration of urbanism and art. It must be just the beginning. Self-reliance and self-determination are crucial—for instance through community land trusts, before outside interests take control via land-banking. There are other strategies that can connect artists and neighbors in communities of interest and affect. The city, if so minded, can offer a boost.
42 years- until its closing in late 2017, cWOW was a vital space for emerging artists, students and the Newark community at large. “City Without Walls has meant so much to so many people, I just hope we can reactivate and continue the legacy,” Malik Whitaker says. “The community is booming and we’ve approached the Newark Arts Council to help us in our efforts.”