#EmbraceNewark is Newark Symphony Hall’s initiative launched in conjunction with the office of Newark, NJ Mayor Ras J. Baraka to uplift and empower its 280,000 residents during this urgent time of need. The COVID-19 pandemic is dire for this city. Our citizens are challenged by underlying health issues which present higher risks for contracting the virus, exacerbated by damaging economic conditions. Just like the illustrious spirit of Sarah Vaughan that is immortalized at Newark Symphony Hall’s grand concert hall, her words source the mission for this cause. It is simply to offer an embrace to those who feel alone, hungry, ill, and serving on the frontlines.

The Problem:

  • 29% of the residents live below the poverty line (Nearly 1 out of every 3)
  • 1 out of every 4 children have asthma and adults with high blood pressure is 5x the national average
  • Studies show that Newark over-indexes in every possible chronic illness including diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and obesity

THE OVERVIEW: In an effort to combat those issues Newark Symphony Hall–which has been committed to bringing the people of Newark together to uplift and entertain them for 95 years–is bringing together artists, government officials, community organizations and influencers to deliver an integrated solution.

Artists are often called on in times of crisis and recovery to bring their expertise to three areas: communication, connectivity, and hope.” ~ Michael Rohd

Playing leading roles in this are visual artist and poet Jasmine Mans as #EmbraceNewark’s Creative Director and motivational speaker and author Chef Ameer Natson as the initiative’s Culinary Creative Partner.

“Our goal is to chronicle the COVID19 Pandemic by way of the storyteller. By collaborating with the most brilliant and innovative photographers and poets in Newark, we will create a platform for artist to project the true Newark Narrative, rendered to the most vulnerable human experience.” ~Jasmine Mans

The Solution:

  • Food supply support with early commitments from Beyond Meat and Just EGG
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to essential workers and the city’s most vulnerable
  • Service Task Force for wellness check-ins via phone/text/social media check-in
  • Culinary programming including engaging cooking demonstration videos
  • Artistic multi-media campaign of artists documenting their quarantine experience by way of poetry, photography, video journalism, and documentary style self-discussion. Artists will create in the isolation of their homes & communities and collect a unique historian style narrative

We believe this tightly integrated approach will enhance communication by strengthening channels for residents and public officials, while also delivering important services and enhancing the feeling of security when much seems out of everyone’s control. NSH is seeking sponsorship from corporate donors, private citizens and others to support #EmbraceNewark’s ongoing objectives that will not only serve the city now but whenever another challenge demands that our people unite and embrace so no one is left alone.