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For its bicentennial in 1866, the City of Newark hosted a grand parade and “receptions.” A century later, on May 18, Founders Day was heralded by a cacophony of factory whistles and church bells.
With Newark’s 350th anniversary upon us, several of the city’s famed institutions will continue the city’s grand tradition of celebrations in full regalia with citywide events toasting one of America’s oldest metropolis’s cultural contributions, community and citizenry. Newark Celebration 350 Founders Weekend Festival is the centerpiece of NC 350, a year-long salute to the incorporation in 1666 of one of America’s greatest cities. The young, elder and in-between generations of Newark and citizens from all over the metropolitan area are invited to gather in historic, 147-year-old Military Park (opposite New Jersey Performing Arts Center) from Friday, Saturday and Sunday May 13-15 for a party like no other. Anyone who wants to wave the banner for community pride is invited – free!
Appearing on the mainstage is a constellation of international recording artists and GRAMMY® Award winners and nominees, some of whom claim Newark roots: hometown heroes, Faith Evans and Naughty By Nature with “Princess of Salsa” India, the U.S. Air Force’s Airmen of Note jazz ensemble with special guest Stefon Harris presented by the Institute of Jazz at Rutgers University and Cissy Houston with the Jubilation gospel choir. Recently added to the lineup is the Robert Glasper Experiment, the critically acclaimed breakthrough artist known for his Grammy award winning album Black Radio, who will perform on the main stage on Saturday before Naughty by Nature.
“This will be my band’s first time playing in Newark. Can’t wait!!! It’s an honor to open for such an iconic hip hop group!!” said Robert Glasper.
A dynamic lineup of locally-based talent includes the Brick City Soul Collective, Angela Johnson, Random Test Reggae Band, Rob Paparozzi and his jazz combo, and the gifted young musicians of Jazz House Kids and New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Brick City Jazz Orchestra and Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens. Emceeing the shows will be Newark’s own Darnell “J.D.” Williams (HBO’s The Wire and Oz), Newark rapper and former member of Buster Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad Rah Digga and radio/TV personality Cherry Martinez with New Jersey’s hottest celebrity DJs, WBGO’s Felix Hernandez, Hot 97’s Bobby Trends and Power 105.1’s DJ Reymo closing out each night at the turntables. The Newark Celebration Youth Showcase stage will feature author and WBGO personality Sheila Anderson serving as emcee and amazing talents of tomorrow including teen vocalist Alexis Morrast and her trio, the esteemed, 47-year-old Newark Boys Chorus, and Them Cloud Kids, a multidisciplinary performance art ensemble.
This free fabulous weekend of music and entertainment starts Friday, May 13 from 6 to 10:30 p.m. and continues on two stages, Saturday, May 14 from 1 to 10:30 p.m., and concluding Sunday, May 15 from 1 to 8 p.m. Festivities take place rain or shine. Full schedule and areas of activity below.
Leaders across Newark-public, private, and nonprofit-will gather on May 14 to celebrate the intersection of art, commerce, and community vibrancy and well-being under a glamorous tent in the Newark Museum’s Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden. The annual black-tie fundraiser titled Newark Museum Legacy Gala: Celebrating Museums for All will honor two of Newark’s distinguished art visionaries for their contributions and commitment to the thriving arts movement in Newark: Museum trustee and patron Joseph J. Melone, who will be presented with the 2016 Medal for Meritorious Service and Rutgers University-Newark, with Nancy Cantor Chancellor of the Rutgers University-Newark, accepting the Distinguished Community Partner Award. Gala attendees will also have a chance to enjoy the museum’s special exhibition Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam through Time and Place which closes May 15 and a live auction for several unique experiences including the opportunity to “curate” the Christmas tree in the Ballantine House with Ulysses Dietz, the Museum’s Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts and a Night at the Museum party for 12 children. The annual Gala helps make possible the Museum’s many education and exhibition initiatives that impact the lives of more than 525,000 children, adults and families in the tri-state region each year. For tickets or further information visit www.newarkmuseum.org or call 973-596-6571.