(NEWARK, NJ) -- A grand opening weekend was held on April 21-22, 2023 to celebrate the opening of two new local businesses – BlkBox Newark and Plants & Poets Café - in the Gant Gilbert Arts Collective located at 505 Clinton Avenue. The Gant Gilbert Arts Collective, developed by Invest Newark and the City of Newark, was a vacant bank and is now a facility offering the community of Clinton Hill and the City of Newark cultural art, education, residential, and social opportunities.
The Collective provides 27 residential units marketed to artists, 1,000sf gallery/performance space, a vegan café and access to affordable artistic programs. In the future the Collective plans to provide 10 leasable office/workspace, as well as 2-secure parking lots for residents.
BlkBoxNwk and Plants & Poets Café are community facing businesses on the first floor of the development. Each business’ founder spoke at the ribbon cutting.
BlkBoxNwk is an art gallery and performance space operated by John Murray, previous owner of The Coffee Cave and The CAGE, both in downtown Newark. It is an affordable, accessible and high volume space for artists to express themselves and showcase their craft.
“BlkBoxNwk is excited for the opportunity to provide arts and community-based programming to The Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective at 505 Clinton Ave in Newark’s South Ward. We are cultivating a culture of authenticity, acceptance, artist empowerment and community service. Come be a part of our movement,” shared John Murray, owner of BlkBox Newark.
Plants & Poets is a vegan restaurant operated by local, serial entrepreneur Rashena Burroughs, who also operates Blueberry Café, The Zucchini Bar, Aqua Phit, and Magic Cones Ice Cream. Plants & Poets will be offering vegan food and poetry readings in a plant-filled, comfortable atmosphere.
“Providing healthy vegan food options in urban communities is our mission. We are super excited to embrace the Clinton Hill Community and South Ward of Newark,” said Rashena Burroughs, Founder and Owner of Plant & Poets Cafe.
Marcus Randolph, CEO of Invest Newark shared, “We are looking forward to many events here at BlkBox Newark and we know Plants & Poets Café will also be a great place for people to get food here in Newark’s South Ward. Congratulations to all!”
Invest Newark, the City of Newark’s Economic Development Corporation, propels the City’s strong and diverse economy, builds vibrant communities, and creates opportunities for all Newarkers. Invest Newark supports small, women and minority-owned businesses, invests in world-class internet service, spurs real estate development and executes economic development activities to produce and sustain economic growth, generate jobs and create wealth for the citizens of Newark.