Newark has been a leader in the arts for more than 100 years and from small galleries to rock arenas, it continues to be a magnet for audiences and artists. With a wealth of options, one with a hefty admission, but, happily, most are free, here is a place-by-place, personal take on what the fall arts season offers.
I'm starting the season tonight, Saturday, at the opening reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a trio of provocative exhibits at Newark's 20,000 square foot Aferro Gallery at 73 Market St., www.aferro.org; the closing receptions are at the same time on Oct. 21. I expect to explore fully "Personal Effects," a 100 piece exhibit of selections from the street based art collection of photographer Eric Wolfe. Also on view are installation art by Caroline Mak in "Scabs, Bandages and Skeletons," and Barbara Wallace's "Facts and Figures." Regular hours are Thursday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.
Staying with the visual arts, Newark artist Adrienne Wheeler's one woman show "Lebranca/Resistencia-Memory/Resistance" has been on view since Sept. 1 at the Orbit One Gallery, part of Rutgers University, Newark, of Paul Robeson Galleries. The show is on the second floor of the Campus Center and had an opening reception last Thursday. I've been mesmerized by Wheeler's works as seen in group shows this year: Powerful and evocative, they embody African spiritual practices and traditions. The show runs through Jan. 5. Click here for information on the many exhibits at Rutgers. Hours are Monday through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the first Saturday of every month from noon to 5 p.m. No admission.
I promised you a rock opera and it does not come cheap, tickets for the Prudential Center's presentation of "Roger Daltrey Perform The Who's Tommy" start at about $40 and range up to $126 for the one-night only show on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., with the doors opening an hour earlier.
Far cheaper, free actually, you can learn about traditional opera during part two of The Newark Public Library's Vailsburg Branch program for parents and children, "Let's Explore Opera." Area resident and Juilliard trained singer Christine Clemmons McCune will take you through opera basics and even have you singing. Last time out, 70 people crowded the library's activity room at 75 Alexander St. I'm not so sure about my singing, but I hope to be there and report more fully before the third installment of the series on Wednesday, Oct. 12. (Call (973) 733-7755 for more information.) The tra la la's start at 6 p.m. and continue for about an hour.
See www.npl.org and click on events schedule for details of this and many other free library programs.
Later in September and through the fall, the second through fourth floors of the Newark Public Library's Main Branch at 5 Washington St., downtown, will be host diverse exhibits, activities, discussions and film screenings, many in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month. Here are some highlights:
This year, the library's Hispanic Heritage programs concentrate on the long, complicated history of Mexican migrants to America and Mexican culture. There is an opening reception in the second floor Centennial Hall at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5 for "Journey from Atzlan, Mexican heritage New Jerseyans," with a keynote speaker and performance by Mariachi Oro de Mexico. The exhibit is on view during library hours through Nov. 5 when there will be art workshops and a dance performance for children at 2 p.m. to celebrate the "Day of the Dead." In between the opening and closing, dance programs, films and book discussions will take place every Saturday afternoon in October.
Starting Wednesday, Oct. 5, see and hear more from acclaimed Newark artist gallery. An exhibit of stencils by Gant will complement a major show on the third floor gallery, "For Decoration and Agitation, Stencil and Pochoir Books and Prints" from the Special Collections of the Newark Public Library, running through Jan. 14. Curator Jared Ash of the department explained pochoir, a limited edition method of reproducing art that retains great vibrancy
No art season round up is complete without a stop at the Newark Museum, 49 Washington St., where I was on Wednesday for the first day of two closely related exhibits, "Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art" and "The Global Art of Patchwork: Asia and Africa." Both shows are certain to be extraordinary — the Newark Museum has been collecting quilts since 1918 — and run through Dec. 31, with many special programs and talks including free quilt making demonstrations that start on Sunday, Oct. 23, and take place now and then through Dec. 30 at 12:30 p.m. in the Museum's Englehard Court. Click here for complete listings of events.
As to some smaller favorite places, there is always good music and vibes with no cover charge at at 304 University Ave.
The Russell Aldo Murray (RAM) Gallery at 460 Washington Street, (call (973) 878-2587 for hours) continues with a fine photography exhibit including works by Newark photographer Tony Graves honoring jazz legend James Moody through the month of October. And, if you want to see your city and the area through a photographer's eye, you can do no better than to stop by Martini494, at 494 Broad St. for a joint presentation with the Newark Arts Council of John S. Masi's wonderful one man show, "Eye on the City," which opened this past week and runs through the month, on view Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. through 10 p.m. www.martini494bistro.com (973) 642-4900.