Rock Steady is an arts and culture podcast produced by Express Newark - Rutgers University and hosted by Dr. Fran Bartkowski. Express Newark is a Rutgers University community collaboratory.
Engineer: Eric Johnson
Social Media & Marketing: Dana Damiani
Fran’s guest on this episode of Rock Steady is John Schreiber, Director of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark.
John and Fran discuss how an anchor institution such as NJPAC, that lost 90% of its revenue due to Covid, and laid off a large portion of its workforce, managed with great success to curate, develop, and produce quality virtual programming.
One of only 6 African American museum directors in the country, Linda Harrison became Director of Newark Museum of Art in 2019.
Before her move to Newark, Linda was the Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.
Linda chats with Fran about what the pandemic has taught us, including how to make art live online,,, and how it heals, as well as how it can connect families.
Professor of Sociology and Executive Vice Chancellor of Rutgers-Newark Sherri-Ann Butterfield is Fran’s first guest of Rock Steady Season 3. Sherri-Ann talks about how her life experiences shaped her commitment to the arts. She emphasizes how the arts are a gateway for students in higher education that may often be overlooked.
Fran and Sherri-Ann also talk about how collaboration between Newark’s non-profit, business community and the university are strengthening the Newark Arts ecosystem.
Fran’s guest on this final episode of Season Two, is artist, gallerist and Inaugural Express Newark Co-Director, Victor Davson.
Victor reflects on the work toward opening Express Newark, his early life in Guyana, his artistic career, and how he and his wife, Cicely Cottingham, collaborate artistically.
Victor also discusses two current projects: a documentary on his life and work, and "The Misogyny Papers," a painting series based on a cache of photographs and writings he found under the floorboards of a cottage on his property.
Professor Anne Schaper Englot is Fran’s guest on Episode 9 of Season 2. Anne was the Inaugural Co-Director of Express Newark, a role she says she could not have imagined before she came from Syracuse University to Rutgers University-Newark when Nancy Cantor became Chancellor.
Fran talks with Anne about the concept of a "third space," which is the foundation for Express Newark's co-creating between the university and the community, as well as her scholarly work on the Public Universal Friend, and Utopian Communities of the 19th century.
On this episode of Rock Steady, our host Dr. Fran Bartkowski sits down with the Dean of Rutgers-Newark School of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Jacqueline Mattis who had prior connections to Newark and New Jersey before she became our leader at the School of Arts and Sciences Newark in mid-pandemic.
We hear her view of the arts as means of storytelling, and her hopes for Express Newark that it become a catalyst for merging STEM fields and the Arts.
On this episode of Rock Steady, Fran talks with maverick Professor, Tim Raphael.
Tim is a theater professor in the Arts, Culture, and Media Department at Rutgers-Newark, and serves as the Director of The Center for Migration and the Global City. Tim founded Newest Americans, a multimedia collaboratory focused on the immigrant experience that has garnered wide recognition.
Fran and Tim discuss Newark’s place in our universe; Stories from the Pandemic, a project born out of the past year's upheaval; and the role that the arts have in 21st century life.
On Episode 6 of Season 2, Fran has an engaging conversation with public artist, Layqa Nuna Yawar.
A recipient of many awards, Layqa is a graduate of Mason Gross School of the Arts, and a Newark resident. His murals can be found in communities around the world.
Fran and Layqa discuss his work as an artist, his history as an immigrant, and what it means to him to have both his birth name, and his chosen created name. Most striking is how he sees his mural work as a bridge between the spiritual and the corporeal.
On this episode of Rock Steady, Fran engages with artist and curator, Jo-El Lopez. A native of Paterson, he discusses how his painting practice is influenced by Christian motifs such as stained glass. His desire to become an artist and the vitality of the Newark arts community led him to give up a business career, and to work and live in Newark as an artist.
On this episode of Rock Steady, Fran chats with Wayne Winborne, executive Director of Rutgers-Newark Institute for Jazz Studies - one of the largest and most comprehensive libraries and archives of jazz-related materials in the world.
Fran and Wayne also reminisce about Rutgers Newark historian, Dr. Clement Price. Clement's Place, a jazz club, at 15 Washington Street (now Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall), is named for him and his lifelong love of jazz.
On Season 2, Episode 3 of Rock Steady, Fran engages in a lively conversation with Rebecca Jampol. To say Rebecca wears many hats is an understatement.
She is a Teaching Designer in Rutgers Newark - Arts, Culture Media department, a Newark Arts Activist/Advocate through her work as Co-Director of The Project For Empty Space, Project Manager/Curator of Four Corners Public Arts Project, and Mom of a two year old.
Rebecca discusses how the pandemic has brought the already collaborative nature of the Newark Arts community even closer together to pool resources; the public murals on Treat Place and Beaver Street, and how through the Andy Warhol Foundation, her organization is providing serious financial support to Newark artists.
Rutgers Professor of Graphic Design, Ned Drew engages with Rock Steady Host, Dr. Fran Bartkowski in a lively discussion.
As a founding member of Express Newark, Ned talks about how the idea of Express Newark was birthed, to the June 2020 Newark Street Mural project, to how to teach LetterPress remotely, to keeping creatively afloat while anchored in the Pandemic Harbor.
On our first episode of season 2 of Rock Steady, our host, Fran Bartkowski has a spirited conversation with Marcia Brown. Marcia is Vice Chancellor of External Relations and Government Affairs for Rutgers Newark. She is also founding member of the Newark Repertory Theater Company as well as a poet. Fran and Marcia discuss how to engage community in this late-stage pandemic, Marcia’s long history of activism, her love affair with the theater, and more.
On Episode 6 of Rock Steady, Fran’s guest is artist and gallery director Anonda Bell.
Anonda is the Director of Rutgers-Newark Paul Robeson Galleries, and is also a practicing artist.
Fran and Anonda explore the meaning and the fragility of networks and their physical manifestation as a web.
Two of Anonda’s pieces were part of a group show in 2020 at the Akwaaba gallery in Newark.
On this episode of Rock Steady, our host, Dr. Fran Bartkowski speaks with Newark native Michael DeVon. Michael DeVon is the founder of Artistic Passion & Purpose, an organization that is an Express Newark community partner.
Michael discusses how he has moved forward with Artistic Passion & Purpose programming (hair styling, sewing, cosmetics, fashion) despite the pandemic, with the development of The Artistic Eye Magazine.
In this episode of Rock Steady, Fran discusses with Julie Winokur the ‘big pivot’. Julie's film production company, Talking Eyes Media, which is the communication arm of Express Newark Partner, Newest Americans, pivoted their work with immigrant communities to Covid times by launching Stories from the Pandemic - a project that has garnered serious attention and an article in the NY Times.
Julie also discusses her new film The Sacrifice Zone which centers on the Ironbound neighborhood in Newark - the largest superfund site in the U.S and the people on the ground working for environmental justice.
In this episode of Rock Steady, Fran interviews artist Jordan Casteel.
The artist, who is a faculty member in the Arts, Culture, Media Department at Rutgers-Newark, currently has a solo show WITHIN REACH, at the New Museum.
Jordan and Fran discuss how the shift from normalcy to pandemic living has affected Jordan’s art practice which is driven by connection with people in her Harlem neighborhood, her work with students, and being out and about in the world. The artist also ponders the question: with faces donned in masks, how do people project what they are thinking and feeling to others around them?
Fran sits down with Newark-based artist and arts advocate Fayemi Shakur who is a cultural critic and interdisciplinary artist. Fayemi's writing has been featured in national and international outlets including The New York Times, Hyperallergic, CNN Style, VICE, The International Review of African American Art, Nueva Luz Photographic Journal, HYCIDE magazine, and MFON: Women Photographers in the African Diaspora among other books and publications. She was selected for several artist residencies in 2019 that include Critical Studies Artist in Residence at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Artist in Residence at Shine Portrait Studio, and Feminist in Residence at Project for Empty Space.
On this inaugural episode of Rock Steady, Dr. Fran Bartkowski speaks with Rutgers Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who is a leading voice on higher education in the United States. They discuss the meaning of Express Newark, the arts during Covid, and the idea, as discussed in the New York Times, by Legacy Russell, a curator at the Studio Museum of Harlem, of what 'an emotionally intelligent future for institutions can be.'