New Arts Justice is an incubator for intersectional approaches to art and activism. New Arts convenes thinkers and doers; collaborates with community, university, and municipal partners; and creates public projects powered by art’s relationship to place, social justice, and civic engagement in Newark and beyond. Our particular areas of thematic focus are advocating for racial, gender, sexual, and income equality; dissolving the boundaries between high art, public art, and popular culture; and supporting the vision of historically underrepresented and under-resourced artists and their communities.
Housed in Express Newark, under the directorship of Professor Salamishah Tillet, New Arts Justice is a joint partnership between the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and Modern Experience and Express Newark. The name “New Arts” was inspired by Amiri Baraka’s 1968 film, “The NEW-ARK,” a creative documentary about racial justice education, urban public theater, and political consciousness-raising in Newark, set inside and outside of Spirit House. Under the leadership of poet, playwright, and activist Amiri Baraka (known at the time as LeRoi Jones), Spirit House also known as Heckalu Community Center, was a community center in Newark that hosted street theater performances, political rallies, rehearsals, martial arts practice, discussions, dance and musical performances.
Newark has long been the lodestar for artists who are committed to justice. We don’t have to invent anything new here, we just remember who we’ve always been.