(NEWARK, NJ) -- Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Newark City Parks Foundation, Inc., have announced “Summer Fun in the Park,” a vibrant series of free outdoor events that will activate Newark’s public parks, highlight the city’s thriving cultural life and celebrate the return of in-person gatherings as the community comes “Back Together Again.”
Newark City Parks Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization envisioned by Mayor Baraka and passed by Council resolution to provide maintenance, programming, and advocacy for Newark’s downtown parks. The newly formed Foundation and its Board of Trustees work with partners, stakeholders, residents, and local government to raise funds to maintain the parks and provide programs that bring arts and culture, health and wellness, economic development, and education to public spaces. The Foundation is seeded with $1.2 million from the City of Newark, and a four-year $200,000 commitment from Prudential Financial.
Now through early fall, events at Washington Park, Riverfront Park, Lincoln Park, Military Park, and Mulberry Commons will share the breadth of Newark’s cultural energy — outdoors and accessible to all. Watch free movies and theater. Pack a picnic or grab a bite at a food truck. Create art. Celebrate reading. Dance, workout, and stretch. Learn about health and wellness. Connect, relax, and play outside.
“We are working hard with our public and private partners to enable our residents to enjoy ‘Summer Fun in the Park,’ which includes exciting activities like concerts, movies, health and wellness events, games, and children’s programming,” Mayor Baraka said. “This is all part of our ‘Back Together Again’ initiative, a slate of programs and events that foster collaboration and promote vibrant community participation. After more than a year of being quarantined by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now providing our youth and families with activities, programs, and significant resources for Newarkers to have a safe and enjoyable summer.”
Taking place in conjunction with Mayor Baraka’s “Back Together Again” initiative, “Summer Fun in the Park” is the result of a collaboration between public and non-profit organizations including New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Riverfront Revival, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Friends of Mulberry Commons, Newark Social, Newark Arts, and the Department of Recreation, Cultural Affairs and Senior Services.
“Prudential has a long history of supporting Newark’s recreational and open space projects,” said Shané Harris, Vice President, Inclusive Solutions and President of The Prudential Foundation. “We are proud to be a part of this public-private partnership that showcases our downtown parks, supports their ongoing vitality, and attracts residents and visitors.”
This citywide programming partnership will enable individuals of all ages to re-engage with Newark, a city long defined and strengthened by the arts and culture.
“Newark is a city of the arts and a city with outstanding public spaces that serve as our urban oases. As we begin to come back together again this summer, our city and partners have created free programs for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy safely in our beautiful parks. We invite Newarkers and visitors to visit our parks and experience all the arts and culture that Newark has to offer,” said Interim Executive Director for Newark City Parks Foundation, Inc., Marcy S. DePina.
The robust mix of programing planned for each of Newark’s five parks is available at newarkcityparksfoundation.com. Below are just a few highlights:
Mulberry Commons (Across from City Hall and the Prudential Center in Downtown Newark) - Tuesday nights, 7:00pm to 11:00pm. “Movies in the Park” will bring the big screen outside for 2021 releases such as “The Little Things,” starring Denzel Washington, and “The Mauritanian,” a legal thriller about a Guantanamo Bay prisoner. On the Mulberry Commons Park stage, “Plays in the Park” (July 23 & 30 and August 6 & 13, at 7:00pm) will present the courtroom drama “12 Mo’ Angry Men,” written, produced and directed by TaNisha Fordham.
Military Park (51 Park Place) NJPAC’s professional teaching artists will lead “Books on the Move,” a dynamic storytelling series for children, and a series of dance and fitness classes designed for movers of all abilities. The “After-Work Wednesdays” concert series (Wednesday nights through August 18, 5:00pm to 8:00pm) offers early evening grooves with House, Soul, Funk, Jazz Bebop and Fusion. “Soulful Summer Sundays” will offer an uplifting gathering with brunch accompanied by music (Sundays, 11:00am to 3:00pm).
Washington Park (Near the Newark Museum of Art and Newark Public Library on Washington Street) “Summer Garden at Washington Park” will transform this newly renamed square into a lively gathering space daily on Tuesdays through Sundays. Hosted by the nonprofit group Newark Social, the scene will bring together food trucks, performing arts, games and children’s programming. Grab a table and enjoy the mix.
Riverfront Park (709 Raymond Blvd) Experience the beauty of the riverfront from Newark’s new 15-acre green space, featuring walking and biking trails, playgrounds, and an active boat dock. Catch live music, DJs and fitness classes throughout the summer presented weekly for all ages by Newark Riverfront Revival. On July 31, Newark Arts and Brick City Jam will present the unveiling of the Newark Arts Public Art Map, featuring live art murals and performances from 4:00pm to 8:00pm.
Lincoln Park (1 Lincoln Park) Visit this neighborhood park for a series of arts events, hosted by the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District and NJPAC, which will feature dance classes, live music, movies, DJs, and community wellness events.