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EXPRESS NEWARK is a conceptual framework and an interdisciplinary learning space where artists and community residents collaborate, experiment, and innovate in partnership with Rutgers University – Newark faculty, staff, and students to engage in creative practice, foster democratic dialogue, and promote positive transformation. Located in the historic and newly redesigned Hahne Building, Express Newark is a true collaborative in which community partners and the university can communicate on equal footing in what has been called, “The Third Space.” This progressive learning environment cultivates an inclusive ecosystem that aligns creative production, education, and entrepreneurial innovation through cross-unit, cross-sector, and cross-institutional social practices, which will allow for the expansion of existing programs and institutions.
Express Newark is co-directed by Victor Davson, founding director of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Newark’s longest lived and most respected gallery, and Anne Schaper Englot, RU-N professor of architecture and humanities in the interdisciplinary Arts, Culture and Media (ACM) Department.
Developing Express Newark was an “organic process,” according to Davson. This evolution posed challenges in fulfilling EN’s mission of breaking down barriers between the university and the community, and creating partnerships in parts of the community that the university had previously been unable to reach, so that RU-N could truly be “of Newark, and not simply in Newark,” explains Davson. “We want people who walk past the building to feel included, to feel, ‘That place is for me,’” states Englot.
Express Newark’s goals are to:
- Partner with the public to stimulate artistic interest for a range of audiences
- Provide public access to state-of-the- art facilities and advanced technologies
- Seek to increase public awareness and understanding of Express Newark’s goals and the University’s public mission
- Support and encourage artistic expression of art at all levels
- Support engaged scholarship, investigation and research
- Use the arts to build trust by bridging differences in power, position, scale, resources, culture and education.