Press Releases

Ark Republic awarded Newark Creative Catalyst grant

Ark Republic among 120 local organizations and artists awarded with Newark’s 2021 Creative Catalyst Fund grant. 

NEWARK, N.J. (August 17, 2021) The City of Newark’s Creative Catalyst Fund awarded Ark Republic a $5,000 grant. Ark Republic, a Newark-based news agency, already highlighted arts and culture in the City. With the money, they will be able to cover the arts and culture community more.

“It is absolutely critical for the artist to be present and active in curating and constructing who we need to be after COVID-19,”said Dr. Kaia Niambi Shivers. “Newark has received accolades for its support of artists. Now, Ark Republic plans to focus on artists and the growing arts scene as the City recovers.” 

She added “Over the years, Newark centers itself as an art-city, yet and still, it has been inadequately captured. The Creative Catalyst Fund gives us the needed support to see how Newark re-imagines itself during a post-pandemic recovery, but from the lens and work of artists.” 

As a part of a trilateral commitment, the Creative Catalyst Fund aims to award $1 million worth of grants for at least 3 years towards assisting local artistic endeavors. Newark’s artist community has a longstanding presence. Historically, the City has served as a talent and a cultural home for artists and performers looking for their big break. Through different programming like converting a historical mansion for affordable living for artists or featuring artists in constructing the second largest Mural in the U.S., which is along McCarter Highway, the City has long supported local artistic pursuits. 

In hopes to cultivate further artistic development the City’s support continues with the announcement of the 2021 recipients of the grant. Designed to facilitate local, long term artistic development, The Creative Catalyst Fund (CCF) focuses on the most vulnerable in art spaces impacted by COVID-19. According to the City, the arts contribute nearly $200 million to the local economy, supporting around 5,000 local jobs. Largely informed by the proposed 10 year Newark Creates cultural plan, which started in 2018, the Fund is a joint effort between Newark’s Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Department of Economic and Housing Development, and Newark Arts. 

CCF’s aim is to educate and guide local organizations and artists, all at different walks of life. They hope to continue “provid[ing] immense social and economic value to the City of Newark by revitalizing neighborhoods, inspiring students, and generally improving the quality of life for city residents.”  In 2020, the Fund awarded almost one million dollars in grants to over 100 artists and organizations.

‍Ark Republic is an online media publication challenging the traditional audience intake of the typical, bipartisan mainstream media. The brainchild of media scholar and NYU professor, Dr. Shivers, the media revolution was launched in 2017. The organization prioritizes the various stories of underreported, often neglected perspectives both on domestic and international stages. Ark Republic also adds texture to familiar narratives by tackling media accessibility issues often emerging for communities of color. To date, the boutique news media company has worked with over 70 reporters and storytellers and has  a network spanning three continents. Also, started the largest free, public database of Black farmers, Black Farmers Index, which is now its sister organization.

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Ark Republic chosen as a recipient of Comcast’s RISE award

The broadcasting conglomerate awarded $5 million to small businesses in a grand commitment to support 13,000 small businesses of color by 2022.

NEWARK, N.J. (July 22, 2021) Comcast selected Ark Republic to support its efforts to expand its readership by offering the boutique news organization the run of a commercial on over 50 cable stations, as well as marketing tips and a $9,000 grant to enhance its technology.

“Comcast’s grant came at such a critical time for Ark Republic. Like many other small businesses we were struggling during the pandemic and needed some support to keep going,” said Dr. Kaia Niambi Shivers, editor-in-chief at Ark Republic and its founder. 

Comcast contacted Ark Republic December 2020, and have been working with them since in developing the commercial whose concept came from Kaia Shivers. Dr. Shivers also led in editing. As well, Comcast offered fiscal support. “With the grant, we’ve been able to keep our doors open and continue to contract reporters and journalists,” added Shivers.

Comcast’s RISE program aimed to provide often underfunded, neglected small businesses with resources to elevate business procedural and operational sustainability. This is especially true of minority and socially disadvantaged small business owners in the U.S. Unfortunately, the financial instability resulting from the pandemic has further complicated matters. 

“According to the National Bureau of Economic Research…the number of active Black-owned businesses declined by 41%, Latinx-owned businesses declined by 32%, and Asian-owned businesses dropped by 25%, versus just 21% for the general population. Comcast RISE was created to invest in the success of these critical businesses by providing valuable and practical support,” states the company’s site.

As support for creative, innovative spaces has continued to shrink, there are organizations that seek to highlight work and provide media support for socially disadvantaged businesses. In May, the corporation awarded 500 businesses in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia $10,000, $5 million in total via their Comcast RISE Investment Fund

Along with a monetary grant, Comcast anticipates aiding recipients in various aspects of successful business support, including marketing consultations, a 90-day media schedule which broadcasts a self-curated commercial to over 50 stations across the U.S., and technological support and services for over a year. 

To date, over 3,500 businesses in “422 cities across 34 states” have been selected as Comcast RISE recipients. The diverse business roster includes restaurants and childcare centers to retail shops, both virtual and brick and mortars.

The brainchild of media scholar and NYU professor, Dr. Shivers, the media revolution was launched in 2017. The organization prioritizes the various stories of underreported, often neglected perspectives both on domestic and international stages. Ark Republic also adds texture to familiar narratives by tackling media accessibility issues often emerging for communities of color. To date, the boutique news media company has worked with over 70 reporters and storytellers and has a network spanning three continents and the Diaspora en masse. Also, it’s sister organization, a project started by Ark Republic, is the largest free, public database of Black farmers, Black Farmers Index.

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