NEWARK, NJ — Newark Symphony Hall, New Jersey’s largest black-led arts and entertainment venue, has announced that Newark Arts and Cultural Affairs Director fayemi shakur has been elected chairperson of the hall’s 19-member board of directors. At NSH, shakur will provide strategic fundraising and programming counsel on community programs, virtual events and ongoing racial justice initiatives. This includes NSH staff-led programs designed to bring more diverse populations to arts careers, both onstage and behind the scenes.
“fayemi’s reputation demonstrates a commitment to cultural organizing, mentorship and engaging programming that explores art that challenges the way we see and experience the world, ourselves and each other,” NSH President and CEO Taneshia Nash Laird said. “We’re thrilled to have her as chairwoman of our board and value her input. Overall, we anticipate success in the months ahead — in everything from enriching new programming to several community and economic development initiatives.”
“Newark Symphony Hall’s historic stage represents the cultural backbone of our city, and I’m pleased that fayemi shakur, Newark’s arts and cultural affairs director, has been elected to preside over its board of directors,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said. “Her sound counsel on the venue’s arts programming and fundraising efforts will have a dynamic and positive impact for years to come, enhancing our city’s luster as a center for the arts and ensuring that residents and visitors alike enjoy world-class quality performances at Symphony Hall.”
shakur previously served as executive director at City Without Walls gallery, marketing and public program manager at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, and co-founder of the annual Lincoln Park Music Festival. In 2019, shakur also founded A Womb of Violet, a project-based collective created to celebrate the work of black women writers, poets and interdisciplinary artists. shakur also served as a visiting lecturer in Rutgers University–Newark’s Department of Art, Culture and Media.
“Newark Symphony Hall’s vibrant cultural history deserves to be celebrated,” shakur said. “I’m excited and humbled to chair its board of directors — composed of such talented professionals, who have worked tirelessly to preserve and support the venue’s growth and long-term sustainability. This is important and joyful work.”