Newark, N.J. – Newark Symphony Hall (NSH), New Jersey’s largest Black-led arts and entertainment venue, has completed the first phase of its $75 million capital improvement program. The multi-year project is spearheaded by Talia L. Young, the venue’s newly appointed CEO who recently secured an additional $4 million for NSH in Governor Murphy’s 2024 state budget, bringing the total funding from New Jersey to $15 million over the past three years. Newark Symphony Hall’s renovations are set to be completed by 2025, coinciding with its 100th anniversary.
“We are grateful to everyone who is supporting Newark Symphony Hall throughout this journey, including the state of New Jersey, Prudential Financial and the Mellon Foundation,” said Young, CEO of NSH. “Thanks to the generosity and dedication of our donors, Newark Symphony Hall is on its way to being restored to its former glory, and we are excited to continue welcoming the community here as we remain open during the renovations.”
After being named interim CEO of Newark Symphony Hall in November 2022, Young developed and initiated a four-phase restoration plan, with phase one now completed. Young has supervised the restoration of the venue and has positioned it as a community development corporation, for-profit venue and non-profit arts institution by incorporating three pivotal principles: Art is Now, Art is Impact, and Art is Service.
Furthermore, Young has supported the re-establishment of the Lincoln Park Alliance, a Mayor Ras J. Baraka economic development initiative with Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Newark Arts Council and the City of Newark.
“For nearly a century, Newark Symphony Hall has been one of our city’s most glorious cultural institutions,” said Mayor Baraka. “The roster of performers who have graced its stage defines the range of music, from opera stars like Roberta Peters and Robert Merrill to singing titans like Judy Garland, Count Basie, Patti LaBelle, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. It is truly appropriate that we provide present and future generations of music stars and audiences with the finest theater in the nation. The restoration of Newark Symphony Hall will keep our city moving forward, and I congratulate Talia Young on her appointment as the hall’s CEO and commend the entire team on their efforts.”
Phase one of Newark Symphony Hall’s restoration plan included an overhaul of its Terrace Ballroom, the design of which was inspired by the 1920s jazz era. Once filled with the voices of legendary global stars like Otis Redding, Johnny Cash, B.B. King and Celia Cruz, Terrace Ballroom, one of Newark’s largest banquet spaces, can now host many of the venue’s community-first events again. The 15,000-square-foot room features a sunken dance floor and an elevated stage with two terraces on each side, all of which have been modernized with new hardwood and bold geometric carpet flooring, color-changing LED lighting and a vibrant vinyl-tiled and gold-accented bar.
Clarke Caton Hintz, the project’s lead design and architect team, sought to emulate NSH’s rich history and unique architecture by preserving the details from the original space including the staircase railings and column plaster moldings, which have been painted gold to accentuate its details. The color scheme was carefully curated and features a bold palette of ivory, gold, jade, teal, and pink, reminiscent of the 1920s iconic hues.
In addition to the Terrace Ballroom, improvements that will take place this year include the rehabilitation of the fourth-floor Arts & Education Lab and the restoration of the venue’s theaters, both of which will be led by Clarke Caton Hintz. Additionally, NSH will perform upgrades to the building’s roof, boiler, HVAC and plumbing systems.
Reinforcing Newark Symphony Hall as one of the city’s pillars and community hubs, Young has brought back unique events including a premiere screening of Wu-Tang: An American Saga in partnership with Hulu, book signings for stars Bill Bellamy and Cedric the Entertainer and the state’s first Black Creative Economy Summit. To further engage Newarkers and beyond, NSH will host its signature programming once again such as Soul Line Dancing and Latin Night, which will happen monthly in the Terrace Ballroom free of charge, as well as monthly comedy shows and open mic nights.
Born in 1925, Newark Symphony Hall (NSH) has been home to almost a century of arts and culture in what is now one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest arts and entertainment venues. NSH remains as committed as ever to providing an artistically rich experience for art lovers of all ages while creating career pathways for people of color and bettering both its community and the Greater Newark region. For more information on Newark Symphony Hall and events, visit NewarkSymphonyHall.org.