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Bolstering Newark’s Arts and Culture Sector While Faced with the COVID-19 Pandemic

CitiesNewarkBolstering Newark’s Arts and Culture Sector While Faced with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bloomberg Associates worked with the City of Newark to expand its investment in the local nonprofit arts and culture community and quickly respond to the sector’s needs in the midst of a global health pandemic.


Newark is a ‘City of the Arts…’ No strategy to help Newark residents and businesses get through the coronavirus crisis is complete without attention to the health of the arts community.

Ras J. Baraka, Mayor of Newark

Relevant Expertise

Advance a Vibrant Arts and Creative Sector

  • Grants and Funding Strategies

Support Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations

  • Homelessness Counts and Interventions


Newark’s nonprofit arts and culture community not only enriches the lives of thousands of Newarkers, but is an economic cornerstone for the city. Each year the sector generates approximately $178 million in economic activity, provides roughly 5,000 jobs, and creates over $7 million in revenue for local government. Understanding the integral nature of the arts community in Newark, Mayor Baraka announced a broad vision in January 2020 to support the city’s arts and culture industry. Shortly after the announcement, Newark began experiencing the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Mayor Baraka asked Bloomberg Associates to help the City create its first arts grant program and ensure the creative community continues to thrive in Newark during COVID-19 and beyond.


With the arts community also heavily affected by the crisis, Bloomberg Associates utilized their expertise in grant program design to provide hands-on support with structuring funding streams, designing an application portal, and building review and reporting processes for the new Creative Catalyst Fund. To help respond to the urgency of artist needs, the Mayor and his newly appointed Arts and Cultural Affairs Director lifted the City’s prior restrictions on the usage of funds and sped up the process to disburse the grants as quickly as possible.


The Creative Catalyst Fund promotes equitable financial support for Newark’s arts sector by providing grants to artists and small and mid-sized nonprofits working in any artistic discipline. The ability of the City, with the help of Bloomberg Associates, to respond quickly in a time of global crisis will help ensure Newark’s cultural organizations and artists can continue to contribute to the city’s identity and residents’ quality of life not only in the middle of COVID-19, but for the many years to come.

Photo: Anthony Alvarez (@anthonyalvarezphoto)


$2.35M in grant funds committed or raised by the City of Newark

402 grants awarded to artists and cultural organizations in 2020-22

5K jobs provided by Newark’s arts and culture sector

$178M annual economic activity generated by Newark’s arts and culture sector

Top photo: Chrystofer Davis (@dolo_foto)