Abandoned, historic building to be converted to new arts commons

The ground floor of St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark will come alive again as a home for a Newark based-nonprofit, GlassRoots.

Abandoned St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark. Courtesy of Simuel Gordon/BrickMediaWorks LLC

“The move to this larger space will allow us to welcome more people in our community and help lead a resurgence of creativity and economic vibrancy in Newark,” said Barbara Heisler, chief executive officer of GlassRoots.

According to the organization, the programs that will be offered are designed to fuse art, entrepreneurship and STEM education with the goal of helping youth and adults tap into their creativity while learning skills to help them succeed in careers.

“GlassRoots is so much more than the glass arts. Through glass, we introduce math and science in unique ways, help our students create paths for their futures and nourish important life skills in our community,” said Heisler.

Eighteen thousand square feet will be renovated for GlassRoots, which will serve as an anchor tenant and collaborate with other educational and arts groups.

The new space will include:

  • Three glass art studios: a flame shop, a flat shop and a hot shop.
  • Kiln, mold and sandblasting studios and a finishing shop.
  • Flexible spaces to house workforce development programs and facilitate other entrepreneurial activities.
  • A glassblowing production and repair shop providing on the job training opportunities and jobs.
  • Income generating spaces including a gift shop, a coffee shop and gallery space.

The estimated $2.1 million creative hub is being funded through a capital campaign and philanthropic organizations, such as the Nicholson Foundation. Partners in the project include the city of Newark, New Jersey Community Capital, Hanini Group, Crawford Street Partners. Prospective tenants include Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and Newark Arts. Hollister Construction is serving as the construction manager.

“We’ve been committed to Newark and its revitalization since our inception in 2004, and we are confident the redeveloped site will transform the neighborhood and bring new opportunities to downtown Newark,” said Brendan Murray, executive vice president at Hollister Construction.

The full renovation process is expected to take eight months and plans to open to the public in early 2019.

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