The All Stars Project , a unique program that uses the arts to enhance the lives of disadvantaged youth, has had a presence in Newark since 1999.
And as of Thursday, they now have a permanent home at 33 Washington St.
City officials, All Star staff, students and other supporters gathered for a ribbon-cutting for the Scott Flamm Center for Afterschool Development, a 9,000-square foot facility that includes performance spaces, meeting rooms and production facilities.
The $9.2 million center is named for the late Scott Flamm of Short Hills, who was a strong supporter of the All Stars Project until his death in 2006. About $1.5 million of the project cost was donated by Flamm’s friends and family. The rest came from private and corporate donations, including PSEG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Tiffany & Co. and Investors Bank.
Speakers Thursday said the Newark chapter -- the All Stars also serve underprivileged youth in New York, Chicago and San Francisco -- will match up urban youth with suburban support, all while using the performing arts as a vehicle for self-improvement. All Stars partners include the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Rutgers Graduate School of Education and Public Affairs and Montclair State University.
“Our young people have learned that if they can perform on stage they can perform in life,” said New Jersey All Stars Director Gloria Strickland.
“I think this center is about what ordinary people can do when we get together to create something new,” said Gabrielle Kurlander, CEO of the All Stars Project.
“If we’re going to eliminate poverty and all its effects, this is how you do it,” she added.
The center will “change the life trajectory of thousands of young people over the coming year,” said Newark Deputy Mayor Adam Zipkin.
The center is located in the heart of the downtown arts district, lodged between the Newark Museum and the Newark Public Library and a short walk from the Rutgers campus. The bright, airy space has windows facing the Newark Museum’s Victorian-era Ballantine House.