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A reception in Aljira's main gallery.
About Aljira

Our Mission

Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, fosters excellence in the visual arts through exhibitions and educational programs that serve as catalysts for inclusiveness and diversity, promote cross-cultural dialog, and enable us to better understand the time in which we live. Public understanding and support of the visual arts are strengthened through collaboration and community-based educational programming. Aljira seeks out the work of emerging and under-represented artists and brings the work of more established artists to our community. Through the visual arts Aljira bridges racial, cultural and ethnic divides and enriches the lives of individuals.

Emerge Program

Visitors participate in a Culture Creators installation.
Aljira Programming


At Aljira's core is the exhibition of the work of emerging and under-represented artists. This includes the promotion of art perceived as problematic by mainstream institutions. The current exhibition space at 591 Broad Street has revitalized our ability to exhibit such work.

Professional Development

We launched Emerge, a professional development program designed to provide practical career development training for emerging artists, in 1999. Learn more about Emerge.


Culture Creators
Culture Creators is an innovative, semester long program that provides an opportunity for teens to build literacy, analytical and interpersonal skills while gaining a firsthand perspective on what it means to have a career as an artist or curator. The program connects teenagers in the Newark Public School system with arts professionals in their workplaces, and provides an opportunity for students to create art and present an exhibition.

Aljira Design

In 1991, Aljira founded Aljira Design, a graphic design studio that generates revenue to support programming and growth of the Center. Learn more about Aljira Design.

Aljira's History

Twenty years ago, artist Victor L. Davson and Carl E. Hazlewood envisioned Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art as a place, which would embody the essence of its etymological roots. By selecting the name Aljira, the Australian Aboriginal word for dreamtime, the founders defined the heart of Aljira’s mission, a mission that embraces the concepts of timelessness and open possibilities—ideas inherent in the creative process.

Aljira continues to be open to possibilities and plays an integral role in the professional life of many artists. Our work began on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator, no air conditioning, and no direct access to the street. We have made progress, and our move to 591 Broad Street has positioned us to open our doors and take our campaign for contemporary art to the street.

Excellence and Acclaim

  • In 2006 and 2007, Aljira was again designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
  • In 2006, Aljira’s Young Curators was renamed Culture Creators and expanded to serve four Newark Public Schools.
  • In 2005, as a result of its pilot program with Creative Capital, Aljira redesigned the Aljira Emerge program to offer a strategic planning seminars for artists.
  • In 2003, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts designated Aljira a Major Arts Institution.
  • Aljira was one of ten New Jersey cultural institutions selected to receive the Governor’s Award in 2002.
  • Aljira was one of only eight organizations nationwide selected to participate in the 2001 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Capital Initiative.
  • In 2001, Aljira received a major gift in the amount of $500,000 from the Prudential Foundation to seed its capital campaign.
  • The New Jersey State Council designated Aljira as a Distinguished Arts Organization in 1997.
  • The Community Arts Program initiated by Aljira in 1996 brought the first public artwork to downtown Orange since World War II.
  • In 1993 the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions selected Aljira to organize the U.S. representation at the IV Bienal Internacional de Pintura in Cuenca, Ecuador. The project was so successful that it traveled to 10 additional countries.

  •     © Aljira, Inc 2011.