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Newark Arts Festival to celebrate 50 Years of Hip Hop and "Cross Cultural Perspectives" this Fall

originally published: 04/03/2023

Newark Arts Festival to celebrate 50 Years of Hip Hop and "Cross Cultural Perspectives" this Fall

Artists and attendees at Newark Arts Festival 2022 Opening Reception at The Newark Museum of Art. Photo credit: Mouna Moussa

(NEWARK, NJ) -- Newark Arts Festival (NAF), powered by Prudential Financial and produced by Newark Arts, will attract thousands of artists, collectors, aficionados and creatives to New Jersey’s largest city this Fall. Happening September 27 through October 1, 2023, this free four-day celebration of arts and culture will span across all five wards of Newark, kicking off with a not-to-be-missed Opening Event on Wednesday, September 27th at The Newark Museum of Art.

Voted New Jersey’s Favorite Visual Arts Festival, NAF 2023 will proudly feature the “Cross Cultural Perspectives” of Newark’s diverse and vibrant arts community, as well as national and international voices in the arts. Unique to this year’s festival will be a spotlight on the contributions of Newark-area hip hop pioneers, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop.

Led by local and national curators, each day of the Festival will feature dynamic artistic offerings from Newark’s creative community including pop-up art installations, performance and poetry experiences, the Open Doors Kids festival, film and media events, nightlife, panels and more. Artists and curators are encouraged to apply to the Call for Artists, which opens on April 17th and will close on June 1st.

“This is the Festival of the people and Newark Arts’ love letter to Newark. We are looking forward to once again partnering with The Newark Museum of Art and our entire community of artists of all disciplines, our dedicated funders, partners and lovers of art and entertainment. We hope to make the Newark Arts Festival a Fall destination for patrons globally. Incorporating a celebration of Hip-Hop will be the icing on the cake,” said Felicia Swoope, Newark Arts, Executive Director.

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“We are excited to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop at the 2023 Newark Arts Festival and to pay homage to the artists from Newark who made massive contributions to this uniquely American art form that has defied the odds and stood the test of time, said Councilman Dupre “Doitall” Kelly of Newark’s West Ward and founding member of the rap group, Lords of the Underground.

Particularly known for must-see exhibitions that generate fervent conversation around timely social issues, NAF will partner with The Newark Museum of Art to host the “Cross Cultural Perspectives” group exhibition, expanding on the success of previous years. The poignant visual arts exhibition will enhance each attendee’s cultural experience by providing a rich bounty of diverse viewpoints, artistic mediums and voices to be valued.

“We look forward to partnering with Newark Arts, now for the third year, to host the Newark Arts Festival exhibition. Following last year’s stunning showcase, we are thrilled to celebrate and support the immense artistic talent right here in Newark. Our team welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the dynamic staff at NAF to foster community at The Newark Museum of Art,” said Catherine Evans, Deputy Director, Collections & Curatorial Strategies at NMOA.

Newark Arts will host an NAF 2023 Information Session for artists interested in submitting on April 17, 2023. Please visit to register.

“As an early supporter of Newark Arts, we know the festival is an important opportunity to showcase local creatives in our hometown,” said Nicole K. Butler, Vice President, Inclusive Solutions, Prudential Financial.  “The incorporation of “Cross Cultural Perspectives” provides an opportunity for innovative conversations addressing the rich tapestry of Newark’s many cultures, voices, and perspectives.”

The mission of Newark Arts is to power the arts to transform lives. Established in 1981 as the Newark Arts Council, the organization’s vision is to become a nationally recognized catalyst for the collaborative power of the arts in the City of Newark and urban America. Newark Arts is the producer of the Newark Arts Festival and Newark Creates, a community-led citywide cultural plan, created in partnership with the City of Newark.  Key initiatives include Arts Education Newark (AEN) and the ArtStart community grantmaking program. Newark Arts is generously supported by Prudential Financial, the City of Newark, M&T Bank, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Turrell Fund, Bank of America, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Verizon, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Hanini Group, TD Bank, Panasonic, PSEG and individuals, businesses and institutions.

Founded in 1909, The Newark Museum of Art (NMOA) is the largest museum in New Jersey and ranks twelfth nationally in collection size, with more than 130,000 artworks and significant holdings of science and natural history. The NMOA is committed to the values of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion by responding to the evolving needs and interests of diverse audiences through participation, visitor experiences, and community engagement.

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From the ancient world to contemporary art, the Museum boasts a renowned collection of exceptional quality and depth, spanning concentrations in the Arts of Global Africa; Arts of Global Asia, featuring a Tibetan Buddhist altar; Arts of the Americas; American Art, with a particular strength in Native American art; Decorative Arts; Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean; and Science.

With a focus on welcoming everyone with inclusive experiences that spark curiosity and foster community, the NMOA offers groundbreaking exhibitions, engaging programming, a research library with 60,000 volumes, paid internships, and impactful local and global partnerships. A four-acre campus includes the Ballantine House (1885), a National Historic Landmark; the Ward Carriage House (1860); the Old Stone School House (1784); the Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden; and Horizon Plaza. Under the leadership of Director and CEO Linda C. Harrison, the NMOA has launched an era of transformation to create an engaged citizenry by reimagining the role of the art museum in the 21st century.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a global financial services leader and premier active global investment manager with approximately $1.4 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people by expanding access to investing, insurance, and retirement security. Prudential's iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise, and innovation for nearly 150 years.



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