A store in a brick building: Akwaaba Gallery in Newark, New Jersey, seeks help to weather the financial chaos of the coronavirus pandemic


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Akwaaba Gallery in Newark, New Jersey is seeking help to survive the financial chaos of the coronavirus pandemic.

NEWARK, NJ – A Newark black art gallery seeks help weather the financial mayhem of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since opening in February 2019, the Akwaaba Gallery in the city’s West Ward has made a name for itself, showing various works by underrepresented artists, including local students.

But now it needs the help of the community, says Laura Bonas Palmer, who owns the gallery with her husband Ray Palmer. She explains more about the situation in an online fundraiser, what can be seen here.

As of Thursday, the campaign had raised more than $ 36,000 from over 300 donors and shared more than 1,100 times.

Palmer says:

“In the past two years Akwaaba has become the arts hub of the West Ward and an arts destination in the city of Newark. Akwaaba is not just a gallery, but the heart of our community and a welcoming place where art lovers and artists can feel at home. We believe artists need a point of sale to sell their work and should be able to live sustainably that way. We were this outlet and presented local, national and international emerging and established artists. “

She continues:

“My husband and I are excited about creating a stronger community in what we call the hometown. We love Newark and the community our gallery is in. My husband and I invested the initial capital to open Akwaaba. The gallery is open five days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The income from the sale of art and the rental of event rooms comes from the gallery. We have no employees and I am responsible for the daily running of the gallery. “

Like many other Brick City businesses and venues, the coronavirus crisis has hit the gallery hard, Palmer said.

“As a result of the pandemic, we were closed from March 16 to July 27, 2020,” said Palmer. “We were closed again from November 25th to December 4th, 2020 [during the city’s mandatory lockdown]. Due to the closings and capacity restrictions, we had to cancel five exhibitions and all of our event rentals. “

“Also, we haven’t been able to rent the space for events for almost a year,” writes Palmer. “Like many minority small businesses, we didn’t qualify for the PPP loan, unemployment, and most arts scholarships (we’re not a nonprofit).”

“Financially, we can no longer afford to run the gallery alone, so we ask for your help in saving Akwaaba,” concludes Palmer. “Your donation will allow us to stay open and further promote the arts in an underserved community.”

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