(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Launches a New Virtual Series: 10 NEWARK CREATORS. Meet some of Newark, New Jersey’s brightest creative talent. Instagram Live visitors can join the conversation with the young innovators who’ve made Newark’s tight-knit community one of the most diverse, interesting, and active in the state. Viewers will be able to ask questions about their work, their response to the pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement – and learn more about the energy that’s making New Jersey’s largest city resilient.
The Series kicks off with Chrystofer Davis, a Newark-native fine art photographer and filmmaker on Tuesday September 15th at 6:00pm. Join the conversation by following NJPAC’s Instagram Live @njpac.
September 15, 2020 - Chrystofer Davis, a Newark-native fine art photographer, teaching artist and filmmaker, whose work is influenced by street and portrait photography and contemporary culture. Chrystofer has worked with companies and celebrities including Michelle Obama, New York Magazine, Leica Camera, Puma, Urban Outfitters, MTV, Vogue Italia, and Rutgers University over the course of his career. Named one of the best fine art photographers in the city by Peerspcae, he’s now engaged in teaching photography workshops, and documenting Newark’s architecture and people through his own unique lens.
September 22, 2020 - Lisa Conrad is the founding executive director of the Newark Print Shop, a community printmaking facility in Newark. She’s also an artist, art director, and educator. Her works include fine art prints, ceramics, and works on handmade paper. Many of her pieces feature building facades and strive to capture both the evolving cityscape of Newark and the landscape of her own life as she moves around the city.
September 29, 2020 - Layqua Nuna Yawar, a Newark muralist, artist, and educator. Born in Ecuador, Layqa migrated to the United States and attended high school in New Jersey, before getting a B.F.A. from the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Today, Layqa creates works on paper but specializes in creating murals and street art, both independently and through collaboration with communities and neighborhoods. In Newark, he’s worked with the Newark Public Library and the Newark Museum of Art, among other groups, on education programs. He is currently engaged in creating a virtual reality experience based around his family’s migration titled Across La Tierra.
October 6, 2020 - Diana Candelejo, a painter, illustrator, and social justice advocate, who’s traveled around the globe studying her art, and brought a world of insight to her Newark practice. Born in Ecuador, Diana migrated to France, then to Newark where she attended Arts High School. She studied Renaissance art in Florence and traveled to 13 countries around the world on academic scholarships pursuing her passion. Find out how she’s now engaging with and advancing social justice through her activist artwork – all while holding down a 9-to-5 job.
October 13, 2020 - Mira Abou Elezz is the Muslim Chaplain at Providence Health & Services, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and University of Pennsylvania Heath System. She is also a Blogger/Writer for Miss Muslim and Muslim Girl educating young women about their sexuality. She is a firm believer that sex plays an important component within Muslim spirituality. She is also a Vegan entrepreneur.
October 20, 2020 - Adam Bergo runs Black Swan Espresso on Halsey Street in Newark. Opened in 2017, Black Swan is now a go-to downtown spot for nitro brews and artisanal donuts. Adam not only runs the Black Swan (with his mother, Laura Mashtaler), he’s also a musician who records under the name Cevn. We’ll talk to Adam about the challenge of being an entrepreneur in the middle of a pandemic and balancing the work of running a small business while pursuing his artistic goals.
October 27, 2020 - Sally Helmi is a mixed media visual artist, who’s also a nurse. Her healthcare practice and her artistic work inform each other; some of her work, a part of a series called Intimately Held: Safe keeping through Touch, makes tableaux out of medical supplies. Another project invited people to write their fears on surgical masks. We’ll talk to Sally about making art, and caring for her community, in the middle of a pandemic.
November 10, 2020 - Isaiah "Zay" Little is the program manager for the Office of Information Technology for the City of Newark, and the Creative Director of GalleryRetail, a prosocial creative service agency, representing local artists and offering branding for local businesses. His social media project, #CurbCovid, is a Newark-local effort to leverage the work of artists and entrepreneurs in the city to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
November 17, 2020 - Jessica "JV" Valladolid, a sexuality educator and Board member at the Newark-based Masakhane, a youth-driven organization promoting healthy outlooks on sex and sexuality. As an intern at the organization, they filmed and published ‘Coming Out Stories’ – an online series documenting the varying experiences of Newark resident’s “coming out.” JV has served as a Program Coordinator for a 21st Century Learning Center after-school program for a North Ward middle school in Newark and is actively involved in neighborhood revitalization efforts in the East Ward. A lifelong Newarker, JV is also the co-founder of the Down Bottom Bike Crew youth mentorship program.
November 24, 2020 - Sharronda “love” Wheeler is a Newark native spending her entire professional career helping others. Wheeler’s provided support to various populations including mothers and children, teens, developmentally disabled, homeless, and senior citizens. Wheeler is board president of Newark Pride, Inc., a non-profit organization that advocates for safe space and programming for the LGBTQ community in Newark. Her life committed to servicing others took a painful turn when she experienced the tragic loss of her 18-year-old son just weeks after he graduated high school. Her motto is, “Be the change you seek.”
NJPAC is located at One Center Street in Newark, New Jersey. It is America’s most diverse performing arts center, and the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million visitors (including over 1.7 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.