Gallery Aferro


73 Market St
Newark, NJ 07102
County: Essex


Ms. Emma C. Wilcox

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

To support Gallery Aferro's expanding role as a cultural hub connecting diverse publics with the arts and each other.

Organization Background

Gallery Aferro was founded in 2003 by artists Emma Wilcox and Evonne M. Davis, inspired by concerns over barriers to public arts engagement and the need for access to resources for artists. Based on the strength of four exhibitions in Newark in an initial location in 2004, the gallery was able to secure its current 20,000 sq ft building in 2006. In 2015, we added an additional gallery day: now we're open Weds-Sat.

Our programming aims to meld a welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere with fine art content that is substantive and immersive, akin to a museum-level experience. New events are regularly introduced, complimenting popular annual events like our winter potluck and our twice-annual open studio days. In 2015, we offered a total of 83 daytime or evening public events: hands-on workshops, artist talks, community conversations, open studios, yoga classes, poetry slams, and more. We did all sorts of things we've never done before, like more than 8 straight hours of outdoor papermaking engaging nearly 100 people in our back alley, 5 artisan flea markets supporting a more economically empowered and cohesive local creative community, and a performance/hip hop track created collaboratively by out-of-school youth from Newark. In addition to seeing art exhibits during gallery hours, you can simply hang out in the new community book room: there are 1000+ books, and more being added every month. Public art installations were on display in 4-5 storefronts 12 months out of the year, and because they are viewable 24 hours a day, we don't know exactly how many tens of thousands of people have seen and enjoyed the artwork. We can tell you that we've been working late and seen people getting off the night shift discussing the artwork happily, seen large groups of students pause and ponder even on gloomy winter days. We don't know exactly how many days this year our resident artists were working in their studios, but we know that our building is rarely devoid of daily activities and discoveries. We created 2 more publications for our line of essays, catalogs, artist books, sound art CDs, and educational art history handouts, #24 and #25. Groups of youth and adults from schools, community colleges, universities, alumni associations, senior groups, day and recovery programs visited for free guided tours of our galleries and studios, and our internship cohort enlarged with more tri-state area young people from a wide variety of majors and socioeconomic backgrounds

Our fulfillment of our mission to bring cultural engagement with contemporary issues to all people equally continues to expand and evolve. Founders Evonne M. Davis and Emma Wilcox act as Co-Directors, with former intern Jacob Mandel reporting to them as Gallery Manager and helping direct committed volunteers, interns, and our assistant gallery manager, and exhibit assistants, both young artists. The board takes active roles in fundraising and development, with committees also working to support our work. We are on the path to becoming a large cultural hub, due in part to our facility for imagining and securing a wide range of partnerships and collaborations.

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