WNYC Radio on Newark Art Scene
Ubiquitous Montclair artist Marco Muñoz sent me a link to the broadcast today of a program on a New York public radio station that included a discussion of the Newark art scene's growth and challenges in this difficult economy. The text that accompanies the audio player says in part:
Hang out with artists and you’ll hear a lot of talk about being the next big thing… in Newark."There’s this real sense that downtown Newark is really rising up again and we’re really glad to be part of the cultural push for that."
This is one of the "Sirens" series of three chalk and pastel works on paper, from "The Westinghouse Project" show at NJIT.
That’s Edwin Ramoran, the director of exhibitions and programs at Aljira, a Newark center for contemporary art. For years artists have moved to Newark which offers the trifecta of cheaper rents, city life and proximity to Manhattan. So the arts scene is on fire, but will the economic downturn put out the flames?Quite so, but in hard times, a lower cost of living sure helps. Newark might, thus, actually benefit from the Decession. Greedy landlords in New York seem oblivious to the economic downturn, since their rents never go anywhere but up. The French bookstore Librairie de France, a charter tenant of Rockefeller Center's commercial space, is closing once its current lease runs out before summer, because the landlord raised the rent from $360,000 to $1,000,000 — during the worst recession since the Great Depression, when Rockefeller Center was built. Newark has a lot of people who speak French, and an Internet operation based in Newark would be a lot less expensive than one based in Rockefeller Center. Maybe Gateway Center or something else in Downtown Newark would be a congenial new location for the Librairie de France.
Reporter Heather Haddon stopped by an art opening in downtown Newark not long ago – the show was dedicated to photography from the 70’s house music scene, and she spoke with some of the people involved in it. * * *
The present economic climate makes making it an extremely difficult thing to pull off, even if you are living in Newark.