Home Organization Organizers hope the Newark Organization for the Creative Arts will serve as a hub for artists

Organizers hope the Newark Organization for the Creative Arts will serve as a hub for artists

0


Newark Mayor Jeff Hall and Newark Creative Arts Organization Director Angela Smith prepare to ceremoniously cut a ribbon marking the opening of NOCA in downtown Newark on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 Licking County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer McDonald (left) and NOCA Board members Kirk Homrighouse (center right) and Tom Atha (right) watch.

Organizers hope a nonprofit arts education organization will serve as a home for artists in central Ohio and Licking County.

On Wednesday, the Newark Organization for the Creative Arts officially opened with a dedication ceremony at 33 W. Church St. in downtown Newark.

A project in the works for two years, the location offers a retail location for items such as vinyl records and art supplies, space for private music lessons, a ticket office for live events and, at the future, an IDEALab (Interactive digital education and arts laboratory).

NOCA Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner of neighboring Thirty One West, Tom Atha, said the heart of the nonprofit organization‘s inspiration came from its own path. About 15 years ago, Atha said he opened a recording studio and found out during his journey to openness and his first 10 years that he didn’t have the contacts he needed or the resources that might have been useful.

“For me, it’s a way to create an arts community that can thrive in Newark. To put all of this in parallel with what’s going on in the industry, more and more artists are making a living independently and could live anywhere …, “Atha said. “So (this) will better prepare the next generation of creatives with the skills they need, not only as artists but also as entrepreneurs.”

The Newark Organization for the Creative Arts opened with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

The Newark Organization for the Creative Arts opened with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Growing up in Newark, NOCA director Angela Smith wondered why as an artist she couldn’t be successful at home, why artists had to move to places like New York or Nashville.

“I think it’s important to have a hub here so that the creatives in this city don’t feel like they have to leave,” she said. “I want them to have a home … so no one has to think that the only way to be successful is to leave.”

The opening of NOCA was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but Atha said it ended up being an opportunity for their group to better plan their goals for the space.

NOCA board member Kirk Homrighouse agreed, saying after two years of planning and thoughtful decision-making, the project was one of the biggest things he’s been involved in and gave him the opportunity to repay the city that brought him and did so much for him.

Having recently retired from Highlights magazine, Homrighouse said he turned his attention to ways to make a difference. Noting the importance of arts education, he said that NOCA would give people skills not only to play music, but also to operate lights and sound for concerts, how to record and conduct a concert. one, and more.

According to Atha, some music teachers from Martin Music, which closed in 2019 after more than 70 years in Newark, moved to NOCA to teach music. Atha noted that the store was on the same block in the 1950s, so he thought it was a cool throwback to the store’s legacy. In addition to music lessons, Atha said her retail store is also open.

Following: Martin Music closes shop after playing all the right notes for 71 years

“Access to real, tangible music has gone down with streaming and all of that stuff,” Atha said. “Saying that music is important enough to have a showcase is an important short-term goal for us.”

The Newark Organization for the Creative Arts opened with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

The Newark Organization for the Creative Arts opened with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

A long-term goal for NOCA, Atha explained, will be to initiate programming for their computer lab. He added that they would make the classroom available during the day for those who want access to production and authoring software.

“Longer term, this project is really about creating and becoming a hub for the creative arts and making Newark a great place to live for artists,” Atha said.

At Wednesday’s dedication ceremony, Newark Mayor Jeff Hall said that when downtown Newark was being reinvented, officials reflected on the arts in the area. He said the first block of West Church Street is now very different than it was many years ago and that they are excited about the addition of NOCA to the community.

For more information about NOCA and its services, visit their website at NOCApresents.org or their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram at @NOCAPresents.

This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Organizers hope nonprofit Newark will serve as a hub for artists