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Empowering Youth Through Art: A Recap of the "I Am Art" Youth Expo Hosted by Complex Vision Newark

Updated: Mar 30

We are thrilled to have sponsored and attended the remarkable "I Am Art" event curated by Complex Vision Newark founded by Chris Williams and Rashon Vines, an esteemed youth mentoring organization dedicated to igniting creativity and healing through the power of art. Held at the prestigious Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, NJ, on March 23, 2024, this event was a beacon of inspiration, bringing together resources, food, giveaways, and electrifying performances by celebrity artists Honey Bxby whom recently performed at Soul Train Awards 2023. Also, she is managed by Newark's own legendary 3x Grammy Winner music veteran Karriem "K-Mack" Mack. Newark's own TheArti$t came home to show love whom performed with Tank at the 2023 Grammys.

From the moment we entered the Crystal Room of the Robert Treat Hotel, we were enveloped in an atmosphere pulsating with creativity and positive energy. The space was adorned with vibrant artwork and bustling with local organizations ready to uplift the community alongside over 400 guests in attendence. Roger Leone Superintendent for Newark Public School and Southward Councilman Patrick Council was among those in attendance to enjoy the event. Eager young minds filled the room, ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery through various forms of artistic expression.

Throughout the day, attendees were treated to a rich tapestry of engaging activities and enlightening discussions. The event commenced with a Chat and Chew session, providing a platform for networking and delicious food provided by sponsor Papa John's in Newark. This was followed by captivating guest speakers, raffles, and breakout stations offering activities such as poetry, painting, sketching, yoga, videography, photography, STEAM projects, and discussions on mental health and literature.

Complex Vision Newark partnered with sponsors such as Shadee Dukes and Khalil Tutt of New Direction, Sami Armstrong of Changing Path Mentoring, Khalimah Poole of Evolve Mental Health, Nate Cook of Propel America Medical Program, and others ensured that attendees had access to invaluable resources and support throughout the event.

As the day progressed, the energy remained palpable, fueled by the enthusiasm of participants and organizers alike. The event reached its crescendo with a dinner provided by Newark native and Celebrity Chef Jazzos, founder of Good Eats Experience, followed by exhilarating live performances by Asbury Park's Honey Bxby and Newark's own TheArti$t. Their electrifying presence served as a fitting conclusion to an unforgettable day filled with inspiration and creativity.

A poignant moment of the event was the acknowledgment of four outstanding individuals with Lifetime Achievement Awards. HOT97's Dj Wallah, Clicquot Celebrity Music Engineer, Chad B, and Rambro Bexgawd Artist were honored for their remarkable contributions to the arts and their dedication to empowering youth in the community. Chris Williams, of Complex Vision Newark, emphasized the importance of recognizing and celebrating individuals who make a positive impact in the community while they can still appreciate it.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Complex Vision Newark, founded by Chris Williams and Rashon Vines, as well as all the sponsors and volunteers who played a pivotal role in making this event possible. "I Am Art" was more than just an event; it was a celebration of resilience, creativity, and the boundless potential of our youth and community. We eagerly anticipate future collaborations and opportunities to continue supporting Complex Vision Newark's mission of empowering the next generation through art.

Special thanks to the sponsors:

  • New Direction

  • Complex Vision Newark

  • Changing Path Mentoring

  • Evolve Mental Health

  • Propel America Medical Program

  • United Community Corporation

  • Gloves Up Guns Down

  • "Talkin Trauma with EZ" Podcast

  • The Hubb Trauma Center

  • Dynamic Marching Band

We are proud to acknowledge that Complex Vision Newark and New Direction are esteemed members of Mayor Ras J Baraka's Brick City Peace Collective, alongside Director Jessiah Paul, Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery Director Kyleesha Wingfield Hill, and Deputy Mayor Keesha Eure. Additionally, Complex Vision Newark's impactful initiatives, such as the 7-week basketball summer league Kaboobie's Roundball Classic, giveaways, and community outreach efforts, have further cemented their commitment to uplifting neighborhoods and schools in Newark.

Complex Vision Newark and New Direction look forward to opening the first all youth art gallery in Newark, the "I Am Art" Gallery in Spring 2023 in collaboration with Newark Workforce Development Board.


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