Nicholson Grantee Bringing Art, Jobs, and Educational Opportunities to Downtown Newark
Pictured here, with hard hats and shovels, are (from left to right): Katie Witzig, COO of GlassRoots; Kathryn Markel, Board President of GlassRoots; Ras Baraka, Mayor of Newark; Jan Nicholson, President of The Nicholson Foundation; Dena Lowenback, Founding Board Member of GlassRoots; Barbara Heisler, CEO of GlassRoots; Barbara Nicholson McFayden, Trustee of The Nicholson Foundation; Pat Kettenring, Founder of GlassRoots.
On April 25, 2018, Newark-based GlassRoots, Inc. and its project partners, including The Nicholson Foundation, celebrated an important first step in the organization’s transformation into a community hub for creative entrepreneurship with a Launch Event. The event, which was attended by more than 50 donors, local businesses, news outlets, and GlassRoots’ board members, staff, and students, featured speeches by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Nicholson Foundation Trustee Barbara Nicholson McFadyen, and others.
With a $1 million dollar grant from The Nicholson Foundation and additional support from other donors, GlassRoots will transform the old St. Michael’s Hospital—an abandoned historic building—into an 23,000-square foot creative hub located on the first floor and basement floor. The refurbished site will connect community members with arts and education programs, thereby driving economic growth and helping to revitalize a once blighted neighborhood. By giving local youth and adults an opportunity to explore the practical and innovative application of glass art, programs at the new facility aim to help students develop both creative and STEM skills.
GlassRoots, Inc. was founded in 2001 with the mission of giving underserved youth opportunities to achieve by engaging them in the creation of glass art and the development of entrepreneurial and life skills. A key grant from the Nicholson family in the first years of GlassRoots’ existence helped the organization grow. Initially, GlassRoots served 100 youths ages 10 to 13. Today, the organization serves more than 3,000 children, teens, and adults annually.
Barbara Heisler, Chief Executive Officer of GlassRoots, referred to the organization’s move and expansion as the “anchor” of the redevelopment projects taking place across Newark. “This project is important for GlassRoots, our youth, and the city,” said Heisler. “It’s another shining light for people to understand the jewel that is Newark.”
The full renovation is expected to take seven months, and the new spaces are planned to open to the public early in 2019.
Visit GlassRoots’ website.