Our founding Director John Cotton Dana believed that museums should cultivate appreciation and enjoyment of arts and sciences in the community, which has been the cornerstone of our strategic plan for the past three years as evident in the Museum’s engagement strategy and mission statement –We welcome everybody with immersive experiences that spark curiosity and foster community. 

Key to this strategy is the Community Advisory Committee, which includes more than fifteen members representing local artists, businesses, and organizations, with whom we work to create innovative programs and content for all.

In 2022, thanks in part to the work of the Committee, we strengthened existing partnerships and developed new ones with some thirty local organizations, including Express Newark, Rutgers University, NJ Symphony, Nassan’s Place, LGBTQ+ Pride Ball, The Jewish Federation of Greater Metro West, and the Ironbound Community Corporation. For the first time in the history of the Newark Arts Festival, the Museum hosted both the opening event and main exhibition, featuring some of the greatest artistic talents in Newark. We also expanded the NMOA’s presence in the community by hosting several events outside our walls, such as the film series at Riverfront Park, and by participating in various festivals across the city.

Art After Dark evenings for Gen Z and Millennial audiences and our free Community Day events engaged more than 50 local artists, performers, and vendors in 2022 so far. Meanwhile, special exhibitions like Carlos Villa: Worlds in CollisionJazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection, and Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill: Photographs by Jerry Dantzic have attracted majority Asian American and African American visitors. As the Latinx community grows in Newark, the Museum is making a concerted effort to engage this audience by offering programming like Fiesta Latina while ensuring more content in the galleries is available in Spanish, including our Bloomberg Museum Guide that is now fully bilingual.

These efforts have contributed to expanding the reach of the Museum, increasing our Newark-based program audience by 21%, and our BIPOC audience by 28%. Today, more than 77% of our program attendees are people of color and 65% are under 45 years of age. As such, we are more representative of the communities we serve, and we have established ourselves as a leader among American museums in successfully engaging young and diverse visitors. This leadership and commitment to community and inclusion are also reflected internally with the creation of a newly named Department of People, Culture and Operations (formerly Human Resources), that includes a Director of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion. Together with staff, they foster robust conversations around racial inequities and systemic injustice while hiring a more diverse team.

Thank you all for your support in making The Newark Museum of Art a leader in our region, an anchor for our communities, and a catalyst for our economy.

Warm regards,

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