As most Newarkers know Penn Station encapsulates a part of our city that is filled with culture, music, food, heritage, art, and history. The Ironbound is home to what has always been a booming immigrant community. Dating back to the 1800s Germans, Italians, Portuguese, Brazilians, and Chinese have felt protected by the “Great Wall” Penn Station created. This weekend as part of Newark’s Open Doors I learned that that culture is still growing, changing, and creating.
Yoland Skeete is the Director and Co-Founder of Sumei Multidisciplinary Art Center and Ironbound Unbound. Founded in 1993, The Sumei is an amazing alternative art space which is run and maintained entirely by the artists themselves. In fact, Yoland told me that she and a small group of woman when door-to-door to the merchants and business owners on Newark’s Ferry Street soliciting support for this month’s art installation. Ironbound Unbound has also received a tremendous amount of support from the Newark Fire Department which allows it to utilize the Prospect Street Fire House as a hub for dance, literature, fine arts and music exhibitions and classes.The 501 C 3 nonprofit organization, is located in the refurbished Button Factory and is currently exhibiting artwork from Newark based artists.
I had the opportunity to speak with photographer, Newark Club manager, and exhibiting artist Harry Prott. Harry’s photographs showcase Newark as a historical gem while highlighting it’s progression into a revitalized city. Born and raised in Newark, Harry says he photographs what he knows and Newark is what he knows! In addition to Harry’s work, art from eight other artists is on display at the Sumei, including water color paintings from Portugal native, Ivone Martins. Ivone also paints what she knows; homes in Portugal, florals, and other still life images she’s seen growing up in Portugal and living in Newark. Ironbound Unbound is a powerful reminder of the the beauty that is Newark arts!
Visit Ironbound Unbound and donate to support it!
Sumei Multidisciplinary Arts Center at The Button Factory
85 Hamilton Street corner New Jersey Railroad Avenue
Newark, NJ 07105
(F) 973-732-3108, 973-242-7914