I’m making predictions, which never sits well with me. The future only exists in the imagination. My solace and confidence is in the nature of our campaign. Our 90,000 square foot expansion is an example of the effect creating the cause. Newark is undeniably on an up. There is a great diversity of people investing in Newark, and being here amongst them affirms this. There is a momentum in the city that is apart of us at Aferro; so much apart of us that we seem to meet challenges and opportunities in synergy with the greater expansion.
We’re opening 60 studios for artists. That’s at least 60 new people from all over the world contributing to our city. The new additions will be walking our city streets, shopping at local shops, and greeting local strangers. Gallery Aferro is not an exclusive community. There is a very strong appreciation and awareness of our surroundings that permeates studios and floors.
As long as Aferro has been existent, it has been in Newark. Aferro worked hard to become a cultural icon in Newark, but we (and Newark arts on the whole) have barely seen the changes yet. While our city gains more attention, even we feel the pressure from models of artistic endorsement through corporations and the gentry. At Gallery Aferro, we can’t sell out; the base of our mission is to encourage art, alternative ideas, and unrestricted creativity. I am enthralled by the images of a future Newark. The expansion opens room for many more artists to create culture in our city.
The expansion of space also means the expansion of influence. Gallery Aferro is a cultural icon in Newark and will only gain strength with more artists involved here. The city of Newark is in need of a strong grassroots, artistic character. In order to station the city in the postmodern age of internationality, there must be a particular culture to Newark to make valuable. With many people creating, the arts will be a commodity for the city. The arts can prevent our city from gentrification so long as we cultivate our independent thought without influence. We must have an artistic influx, yet it must contain the decades of Newark art with it. I’ve never felt more diversity in one place, and I want to see it survive into the future of Newark.