It’s an evening you don’t want to miss  — one filled with collective appreciation for the hard work and enduring creativity of artists, cultural leaders and community supporters who dedicate themselves to the centralizing tenet of art.

Some recaps include a full circle moment for artist and visionary Mickalene Thomas, who was brought up in Newark and spent her youth among the Museum’s galleries. She was awarded the Artist Impact Award—one of the greatest honors our institution offers to local creative practitioners and artists of the highest caliber.

Mickalene Thomas, Artistic Impact Award recipient with award 

Jake Pine, Senior Director for LMXD, an affiliate of L+M Development Partners with the Distinguished Community Partner Award

We cheered on Mickalene and also LMXD, the Museum’s partner for projects like The Ballantine House. We were honored to award LMXD with the Distinguished Community Partner Award for their commitment to our museum and their invaluable support. We then dedicated a moment to raising support for The Ballantine House— a restoration project our Museum has taken on to preserve the historical and cultural legacy of a local home and artistic treasure.

Given our efforts to preserve this home, I wanted to briefly share its history with you.

The last 19-century mansion on Washington Street, The Ballantine House was the home of John and Jeannette Ballantine of the Newark beer-brewing family. This beautiful 27-room sandstone home was designed by Architect George Edward Harney. Since 1937, the house has been a part of The Newark Museum of Art and is now a wing of the Museum complex. In 1985 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Both a national and local treasure, The Ballantine House is vital to our city’s history and its cultural footprint. In 1994, the first- and second-floor period rooms were restored to reveal the house as it was lived in between 1885 and 1919. Thematic galleries highlight the Decorative Arts collection. Special gems from the Museum’s global art collections are installed throughout.

Our goal at the Museum is to restore and repurpose the entirety of the home, making it a destination for art, culture, education, and history at the center of downtown Newark.

Art Ball guests pledge to raise money for the 2022 Cause to Give Ballantine House. Ⓒ Bryon Summers & Manny Ogbonnaya

The Art Ball auction yielded enthusiastic bidding and support, and we are proud to share that significant contributions were made toward the beloved Ballantine House. With my utmost gratitude, I wanted to say thank you to those who attended and participated in our auction. The dollars raised are contributions to the memorialization of a local story and an incomparable asset of Newark’s history.

The Ballantine House restoration will be a vital resource for local school groups that use it. It’s a landmark, Victorian-era building in an urban setting that’s constantly evolving. The gifts received at our gala were really gifts to our city and the many people who pass by the house and visit the Museum to tour its rooms.

Robert Verdi, Mickalene Thomas, and Amalia Dayan Ⓒ Bryon Summers & Manny Ogbonnaya 

Left: Artist Mashell Black, Right: Artist Geri Hahn Ⓒ Bryon Summers & Manny Ogbonnaya

Following the awards and auction items, guests were seated across the Museum’s various gallery spaces and dined among classic and emerging treasures, such as the large, floating cowrie shells in Simone Leigh’s untitled and icons of Hudson River School in Saya Woolfalk’s Tumbling into Landscape. The evening concluded with a proper dance party in the foyer.

Dancing throughout The Newark Museum of Art galleries. Ⓒ Bryon Summers & Manny Ogbonnaya

It was a night filled with memorable experiences, from those who joined me in toasting Mickalene and LMXD, to those showing off smooth moves on the dance floor. I am already counting down the days in my calendar until we can celebrate again next year. Until then, feel free to experience the evening through photos!

Here’s to a night well spent,

Linda C. Harrison
Director and CEO
The Newark Museum of Art