Photo by Fresco Arts Team
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Newark Arts, a long-standing, community-centered non-profit that remains ever committed to serving Newark’s vibrant arts and culture ecosystem, announced that Lauren LeBeaux Craig, Esq., former Director of Marketing and Artistic Initiatives, will serve as Interim Executive Director.
Felicia A. Swoope, after leading the organization for the last year, has left to pursue another career opportunity. Regina Barboza, the Newark Arts Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives since 2018, will continue in that role.
Ms. LeBeaux Craig joined Newark Arts in 2016, after first serving as a Board Member during the tenure of Executive Director, Linwood Oglesby. A cum laude graduate of Spelman College, Ms. LeBeaux Craig received her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where she was the Notes Editor for Rutgers Law Review. After practicing law for ten years, Ms. LeBeaux Craig stepped into the role of creative strategist, and now has a decade of marketing/media relations, copywriting, community relations, artist advocacy, and event curation experience in the arts, tourism and nonprofit industries.
Ms. LeBeaux Craig is a former gallery owner in the Lincoln Park section of Newark and is the former Executive Director of Art in the Atrium, Inc., a 31-year-old New Jersey-based Black fine arts organization. While at Newark Arts, Ms. LeBeaux Craig and her team successfully pivoted the Newark Arts Festival (“NAF”) to virtual during the pandemic and co-produced NAF in 2021, which was headquartered in the Hahne’s Building and went viral in the press. This success directly resulted in the current partnership with The Newark Museum of Art, where the NAF annual group show will be exhibited in 2023 for the second year. Ms. LeBeaux Craig is a certified yoga instructor and the author of "100 Things Newark," a tourism guide to the City of Newark, which was featured in the New York Times, AP Travel and The National Magazine.
“I'm humbled by the opportunity to lead such a highly respected arts organization that has supported thousands of artists over the course of its 42-year history,” LeBeaux Craig said. “I've seen firsthand how Newark Arts' work to empower artists and partner with arts organizations large and small creates vibrancy, boosts the economy, addresses social injustices, promotes health and wellness, aids in employment, inspires education and entrepreneurship, nurtures solutions and provides arts access. I look forward to working with the board, staff, artists, partners and funders to ensure a continually thriving and well-supported Newark arts community for years to come.”
“Lauren LeBeaux Craig has made countless contributions to the rising reputation of Newark Arts, particularly through her leadership on Newark Arts Festival marketing and ArtSource initiatives. Her stellar track record and skill set will help set the course for Newark Arts to become an even stronger organization,” said Marcy DePina, Board President of Newark Arts. “Our board is excited to have someone like Lauren, who has an extensive history with our nonprofit and knowledge of our goals and priorities, to guide us into the future.”
Founded in 1981, Newark Arts provides funding and resources for Newark artists in three main ways: ArtStart grants which seed programs in Newark’s neighborhoods; Newark Arts Festival which acts as a marketing machine for the best and brightest of the arts community; and ArtSource which connects local artists to corporate art opportunities. Newark Arts also acts as a collaborative intermediary organization for Newark’s creative sector and as the fiscal agent/conduit for key in-community artistic initiatives throughout the city. 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.