With a seemingly subtle change, The Newark Museum became The Newark Museum of Art and expanded its purview and recommitted itself to serve the community and New Jersey. On Tuesday, November 6, 2016, Museum Director and CEO Linda Harrison welcomed an energetic crowd of school children, museum members, and residents of the community with an unveiling of a new logo and new name for the 110 year old institution. The changes aim to make The Newark Museum of Art “The Destination Museum” of the state and the entire region through interactive experiences and showing off the Museum’s wide variety of artwork and exhibits with the world.
The celebration included free admission all day, live jazz on the sidewalk, and open gallery tours to emphasize The Newark Museum of Art’s desire to be inclusive under the umbrella of art. Ms. Harrison highlighted the importance of being a welcoming, visitor-centric space. Reflecting the new logo’s tag-line Go Ahead. Get Closer., the Museum Director encouraged the audience to “Have fun, be playful, be inspired by something you see.”
State Senator Teresa Ruiz, of Newark, addressed the audience as well. The Newark Museum of Art, she said, is “the treasure that exists in our own backyard. This is New Jersey’s state museum.”
Changing the name and freshening up the logo aims to re-define the museum for those who are surprised and impressed by the breadth of the permanent collections of and the impressive contemporary art exhibits. Highlighting “Art” in the name will help guide potential visitors who may believe The Newark Museum of Art is focused mainly on Newark, and not also on world-wide art collections.
Those who visit The Newark Museum of Art for the first time are often astounded at how large the museum is and how diverse and far-reaching both the permanent and visiting exhibitions are. Of course, the Ballantine House and many artists and artwork directly related to Newark and New Jersey appear, but African, Southeast Asian, a renowned Tibetan collection, ancient art from Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and collections of ceramics, glass, furniture, jewelry, and more all feature prominently in the museum’s permanent collections as well. In addition, a planetarium and Dynamic Earth exhibit (a favorite among school age visitors) are always accessible.
Of particular note, the permanent Seeing America collection is a must-see. Newark and NJ-adjacent artists and officials chose pieces that resonate with them and provided responses and explanations for their choices. Rapper Rah Digga, New Jersey City University professor Midori Yoshimoto, and current Newark Mayor Ras Baraka are some of the local personalities featured. A map, included in the Seeing America booklet, helps visitors find each piece in the museum.
The Newark Museum of Art, 49 Washington Street in Newark, NJ, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from Noon to 5 PM. Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for children under 12. Membership starts at $60 and is a good bet for anyone planning on visiting more than once.