The mission of Gallery Aferro is to bring cultural education and aesthetic engagement with contemporary issues to all people equally, and to create an environment where artists can gather and share physical and intellectual resources.
We are working towards an arts community that is available to everyone, without sacrificing standards or quality of experience.
Gallery Aferro hosts several public exhibitions spaces amongst the first 2 floors of 73 Market Street. The first floor is primarily occupied by our Main Gallery, an expansive open-floor space designed for large-scale exhibitions, events, film screenings, workshops, artist talks, and more. Our Liminal Gallery on the 2nd floor is a modest sized exhibition space for more experimental and reflective projects. Gallery Aferro also hosts a public art program entitled Activate: Market Street, consisting of several refurbished unused store-front displays on Market Street. These displays are viewable 24/7 for the public to engage with and are ideal spaces for artwork with a focus on social engagement.
Although exhibiting artwork is one of Gallery Aferro’s primary mission-based goals, we work to expand the types of spaces and communal experiences we are able to offer. Immediately upon entering the gallery is Art Shop, a gift shop designed by Gallery Aferro to highlight artworks for sale with a focus on affordable works as well as Gallery Aferro’s growing publication line of more than 27 artist books, exhibition catalogs, essays, and sound art CDs. Additionally, on the 2nd floor we offer Gallery Aferro’s Community Book Room, containing over 2000 books, magazine, journals, and other publications, with couches and board games for the public to enjoy; as well as Gallery Aferro’s Elevator Music Installation, a refurbished vintage Otis elevator designed to exhibit an ongoing series of experimental sound art publications.
The rest of our building is primarily dedicated to Gallery Aferro’s Studio Residency Program. Consisting of 17 studios, the year-round residency program was designed to uplift artists and help encourage an environment where artists can make work as large, ambitious, or complex as desired. Selection is based on a demonstrated commitment to a chosen field, especially in the face of financial or other personal disadvantage, excellence of work, an interest in engaging with the public via one’s art-making process, and by the probable effect the program will have in allowing art-making that otherwise would not have been possible. Participation in the residency program includes a platform to share and participate in a community of artists and others through informal networking and participation in seasonal open studios and artist talks at the gallery. Gallery Aferro is also dedicated to providing opportunities to our residents in the form of exhibitions, off-site talks, advocacy, visiting curators, and letters of recommendation.
Along with these many programs and public offerings, Gallery Aferro offers education programs and unique arts experiences for youth and adults. Our educational offerings include group tours, public talks, and a wide range of workshops. We’ve originated educational programs like Identity Blueprint, a cyanotype photography intensive for high school aged girls in Newark, as well as a “How To Photograph Your Artwork” workshop for artists interested in progressing the quality of their professional assets without breaking the bank. We’ve also hosted programs designed by local educators like drawing workshops, music production classes, and more. Additionally, our internship program is a comprehensive program focused on skill sharing, developing talent, and building informal networks amongst our interns that have grown into collaborative partnerships and interpersonal support that we believe is crucial to success in the professional art world.
Another major project Gallery Aferro originated is the Aferro Mobile Portrait Studio. Through funding provided by the Newark 350th Celebration and other partner organizations we were able to purchase a trailer, stock it with professional-grade photographic equipment, and tow it to community events across the city. Gallery Aferro photographed Newarkers for free, creating a digital archive of over 1000 people who live, work, and play in Newark, NJ, as well as an exhibition displaying 350 of the best portraits we took for Newark Open Doors 2016, Newark’s citywide arts festival.
The gallery has been recognized for our notable fluency in developing innovative partnerships and collaborations with an extraordinary range of museums, galleries, universities, arts organizations, and collectives. Select partnerships over the years include the Montclair Art Museum, the Newark Museum, Polish Cultural Institute, the Price Institute for Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience, Newark Riverfront Revival, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Critical Practices Inc., and Harvestworks. In 2016 alone we collaborated with Creative Capital, the New Jeru Poetry Slam, People’s Open Mic, I’m So Yoga Newark, the Newark Arts Education Roundtable, Oculus Art Collaborative, People’s Prep Charter School, Newark Pride, Urban and Out, the Cooperative Development Institute, Grab a Beat Dance Studio, Them Cloud Kids, Yendor Productions and Rutgers University, the Montclair State Film Department, Community Integrated Services, City Without Wall’s ArtReach program, Hycide and Bridges Outreach, Free Press, the Essential Elements Collective, and the many high schools, colleges, and universities whose students visit or intern here.
Despite our comparative organizational youth, we’ve served as the sole Newark and even NJ representation as part of larger nationwide initiatives such as the 2009 nationwide screenings organized by PPOW Gallery (NYC), and 2013’s GhostFood Truck, part of Marfa Dialogues on Climate Change from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (NYC) and Ballroom Marfa (TX). Gallery Aferro’s directors represented the North East on a nationwide panel on community engagement hosted by the College Art Association. Gallery Aferro’s Gallery Director Emma Wilcox also gave a TedX talk in 2016 about art, audience, community, power dynamics, resistance, and the “strange and enduring power of arts experiences” such as the Aferro Mobile Portrait Studio.
We are featured regularly in the press including a feature on NJ State of the Arts, NBC News TV, NJ Monthly Magazine, Design NJ Magazine, WBGO radio, Remezcla.com, Huffington Post, NJTV, NJ.com, Ironbound Unbound, Rutgers Magazine, the Star Ledger, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Record, Inside NJ, Fast Company, NJ Biz, Rutgers Magazine, Two Coats of Paint, notwhatitis.com, artcorejournal.net, and Hyperallergic. The co-directors were invited to join the 2013 convening of the Gustav Heningburg Civic Fellowship, Rutgers Institute for Culture, Ethnicity and the Modern Experience, and jointly shared the honor of the Printmaking Center of NJ’s 2013 Erena Ray Award for Art and Social Justice.
Gallery Aferro has experienced significant growth since our 2003 founding, becoming a recognized multigenerational space where art is made, experienced and discussed. Our space is an important place for hundreds of people from Newark and surrounding communities. “Many young people and even adults assume that art galleries aren’t for them… It has been important in the community that Gallery Aferro has always been open to the public- to young people and the general public- to just explore. Kids talk, so when my mentee comes back to school he can say he went with his mentor to an art gallery.” –Artist, Newarker and youth mentor Malik Hardaway-Whitaker.
Please contact us if you are interested in having a free tour, lecture or demonstration arranged for your group or school. All ages are welcome. Gallery staff can share a presentation with your group, answer questions, discuss current exhibitions, contemporary art in general, and may be able to arrange for exhibiting artists to meet with your group.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of our funders, sponsors and the individual donors who make our programs possible.
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
The New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the national endowment for the Humanities
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts
Contact us at 973 353 9533 or email@example.com. Gallery Aferro is open Wednesday – Saturday from 12-6 and by appointment. Sign up for our email list here!
Gallery Aferro can be visited at:
73 Market Street
Newark, NJ 07102
and for mailing:
Evonne M. Davis
PO Box 5668
Newark, NJ 07105
Accessing the Gallery
Gallery hours during exhibitions are every Wed-Sat 12-6pm, come by for a visit! Gallery Aferro is a street level store front gallery and is wheelchair accessible. If you need special assistance, requests, or desire additional information about accessibility, please email our ADA Coordinator, Evonne Davis, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We believe art is absolutely for everyone and are very happy to accommodate anyone’s needs but please give us 1 weeks notice for any arrangements that will need to be made at the gallery. If you require large print press materials please let us know 48 hours ahead of time.
Evonne M. Davis, Artistic Director
Evonne is a working artist, as well as the co-founder and Artistic Director of Gallery Aferro and formerly Gallery/Education Director at City Without Walls, both in Newark, NJ. Originally from the Woodstock, NY area, she studied at School of Visual Arts and Cornell University.
Her current practice involves sculptural installations and experimental video. Her work deals with labor, systems, class, language, and the juxtapositions present in everyday life. Her work is informed by a deep love of modern and contemporary poetry, and an insatiable curiosity about human nature. She has exhibited at venues such as the Krampf Gallery, NYC, Theater for the New City in NYC, Walsh Gallery in Orange NJ, Prtizker Gallery in Poughkeepsie, NY, College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, NY, Alley Culture in Detroit, MI, and countless other galleries and alternative spaces nationwide.
Evonne has curated independent and affiliated exhibitions for the past 14 years in innovative as well as traditional settings, including a vacant lot in Coney Island and the back of a 1978 Volvo. Her goal is connect any willing audience with cultural experience.. Other locations include The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Valley Arts, Ironworks Gallery, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Studio 411, Red Saw Gallery, Arts Guild of New Jersey, Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster, NJ, Print Making Center of NJ, Seton Hall University, and 207 Gallery, among many others. Her 2002 exhibition, Nostalgia and Decay, which originated in Coney Island, Brooklyn was moved to Borough Hall at the invitation of the Brooklyn Borough President. This exhibition focused on the ways that artists and residents were inspired by the now-demolished Thunderbolt Rollercoaster, a functional ride that also the caretaker’s family home. Other relevant community-led history work includes videography for WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, the major 2007 exhibition on feminist art and activism 1965-80. Evonne worked on interviews for the NYC-based artists, recording their testimonies.
Evonne has facilitated partnerships with Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art, Newark Arts Council, The Polish Cultural Institute, Brick City Development Corporation, Camera Club of New York, The Newark Museum, The Montclair Museum and many others.
She has worked with youth in a variety of contexts including creative writing for at-risk youth at the NYC LGBT Youth Center – The Zone, attendance counseling for the NYC BOE, and as a mentor in City Without Wall’s Artreach Program. She was a member of the Arts High School Advisory Committee, and the NPS AV Committee, and is currently a member of the City of Newark Committee on Arts, Culture, Tourism and Heritage as well as co-chair of the City of Newark Public Art Committee.
Currently, she is also one of 14 senior executives from New Jersey nonprofit organizations selected to participate in the Prudential Foundation Nonprofit Executive Fellows Program at the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School.
Emma Wilcox, Gallery Director
Emma is a working artist and writer as well as the co-founder of Gallery Aferro. Over the past decade, she has worked with co-founder Evonne M. Davis to develop hundreds of exhibitions, residencies, education programs, public art initiatives, as well as 22 publications. Many of these efforts have been highly collaborative in nature, involving other nonprofits and collectives, such as our 2012 digital animation “remixes” by Newark youth of Newark Museum collection artworks, or our 2013 project, Jan Sawka 1946-2012: Reflections on Everyman, which focused on the life and work on Polish exile, artist and activist Jan Sawka, including Sawka’s support of the Solidarity movement. Wilcox maintains an artistic and curatorial interest in history, including the history of artist communities, as well as Newark’s overall history.
As a photographer she is concerned with environmental justice, land usage, eminent domain, and the role of individual memory in the creation of local history. Solo exhibitions: Where it Falls, The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA and William Patterson University Galleries, Wayne, NJ, 2012, Emma Wilcox, 2010 at Gitterman Gallery, New York, NY, Salvage Rights, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, 2009 and Forensic Landscapes, Jersey City Museum, 2007. She is the recipient of a Harpo Foundation Grant for Where It Falls, a NoMAA Creative Grant, a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship for photography, the Camera Club of NY residency, the Newark Museum Residency and was a core participant in Night School at the New Museum in 2008. She was featured on Women in Photography, the New Yorker, American Suburb X, and Black and White Magazine, was reviewed in Art In America, and has written for Bomb Magazine, Zing Magazine, and Influence. She regularly leads gallery tours for all ages at Gallery Aferro, and is a frequent guest speaker for a variety of universities and other organizations including the NJ Historical Society.
Jacob Mandel, Gallery Manager
Jacob Mandel was born in December 1990. He graduated with honors from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2012 receiving a BFA in Photography and a minor degree in Art History. Since graduating he has planted himself in the Newark arts community and currently works as Gallery Manager at Gallery Aferro in Downtown Newark. Jacob is the co-founder and Administrative Director of Collaborate Audio Lab, a Newark-based music and arts organization producing and collaborating on community-oriented creative content. He also has partnered with other local non-profits like Oculus Art Collaborative to produce exhibitions and events. As a curator, Jacob has done projects for Newark Open Doors, major group and solo exhibitions in Gallery Aferro’s main gallery, and exhibitions outside of Newark including at the Arts Guild of New Jersey in Rahway, NJ. In 2013 Mandel was awarded a scholarship as a mentee of Evonne Davis to attend the Nonprofit Emerging Leaders Certificate Program at The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School. In 2016 he was nominated for an Ubuntu Award at Newark’s 30 under 30 hosted by Them Cloud Kids. His work in a growing art community like Newark’s has shown him that collaboration, self motivating, and idea sharing are crucial to one’s professional and creative success.
Jo-El Lopez, Activate: Market Street Curator
Visual artist, arts advocate, and Curator. Jo-El has curated independent and affiliated exhibitions since 2010. His goal is to connect the urban audience with cultural experience in untraditional arts settings. He is the curator at Newarks’ Gallery Aferro, Activate: Market Street, which has received critical acclaim. Activate: Market Street is a yearlong exhibition that displays installations and two dimensional art in store windows at one of the busiest streets is Newark, NJ.
Some other shows include: The Store Front Gates Project and several murals and pop up shows for the City of Newark and Yendor Arts, several shows for Gallery Aferro, Newark Open Doors, Paterson Art Walk, Paterson Great Falls Festival, Newark Artfront Galleries, and Hoboken Diggable Arts Festival as well as other independence projects.
Originally from the Paterson, NJ area, he studied at Kean and Montclair State Universities. He has exhibited his works throughout the NY Metropolitan and Caribbean areas and his work is part of Newark Museum Permanent collection.