Years ago, artist Jerry Gant asked me to promise that if he passed away before me, I wouldn’t let his art be “thrown into dumpsters” or “carried out in trash bags”. It gives me immense pride (and relief) to share that six months after his passing on November 11, 2018, through the engagement of great partners and supporters, Pink Dragon Artist Syndicate was able to deliver on that promise!
A longtime resident of the historic 31 Central Avenue artist building in Newark, New Jersey, Jerry’s artwork, artifacts and personal belongings occupied 3 floors and 20+ rooms on the site that has been designated for demolition and redevelopment. After months of exploration, excavation and administration, we reached our first major milestone on behalf of the Jerry J Gant Estate - secure the collection! In the process there were curator studio visits; pop-up events; Gant family day; and generous donations made to Urban League Thrift Works, the Rutgers University Newark Police clothing drive, Arts Unbound, EJM Foundation and several Newark-area artists and fashion designers.
A huge debt of gratitude goes out to JRAL LLC, the art handlers and movers that were contracted for this project. Under the direction of partners Josh Knoblick and Raleigh Ceaser, the 4 man/1 woman team orchestrated a 9-day move process that included tagging nearly 4,000 pieces of art and artifacts; loading 30+ commercial bins plus boxes, bins and racks filled with books, shoes and clothing; delivering 6 truckloads to the storage site and leaving the space “broom swept” clean! The JRAL team did an outstanding job! They handled Jerry's work and personal belongings with the utmost respect and professionalism in completing a task that nearly doubled the original estimation! The assurances I received from Josh and Raleigh helped me sleep each night through this arduous and emotional process.
Thank you as well to Prudential Corp. for their patience, sensitivity and support; Rutgers University Robeson Galleries/Express Newark for contributing to offset these expenses and L&M Development Partners for accommodating us with a ‘soft place to land’ for the time being.
Jerry Gant left an indelible mark on the city he loved. His contributions to the Newark Arts community for more than 20 years cannot be overstated. Jerry made it his business to lend
his support to numerous organizations and artists of every generation. He was truly the heartbeat of the Newark arts scene. And in the midst of it all, he did the work!
On behalf of the Jerry J Gant Estate, the long term goal is to catalog and preserve his art; present exhibition and acquisition opportunities to heighten awareness of his brilliance to a global audience; and most importantly, establish a footprint in Newark that ensures Jerry Gant’s presence and influence continue to resonate.
The Jerry Gant Legacy era begins! If you are interested in amplifying or donating to these efforts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda N. Street