The Art and Education Legacy of Gladys Barker Grauer

Oct 23, 2019

Gladys Barker Grauer as part of The Newark Artist Photo Documentary
Credit Colleen Gutwein

Gladys Barker Grauer passed away on September 5, 2019, but she is still being remembered through film festivals, documentaries and artist workshops. 

Gladys Barker Grauer’s life ranges from her birth in Chicago, attending the Chicago Art Institute to the Newark socialist left, from opening Newark’s first art gallery, Aard Studio, in 1971. 

WBGO's Brit Harley had the chance to sit down with Glady's daughter and also found never heard audio of Gladys in her own words.

Gladys Barker Grauer’s legacy is immortalized through her art and the immense imprint left on the city of Newark and beyond. 

From opening Newark’s first art gallery in the Weequahic Section on Bergen street….to sparking a mural movement that begin in 2006, Gladys Barker Grauer will be remembered as someone who was a trailblazer; consistently creating lanes for Black and Brown artists to thrive.

Artist Spencer Frohwirth
Credit LinkedIn

It was back in 2015 local artist and producer Spencer Frowirth sat with Gladys Barker to hear about her earnest beginnings in Newark. Eventually that space became much more.

Antoinette Baskerville Richardson, is the oldest daughter of Gladys, remembers growing up in a home always full of art and supplies.

Looking back at her mother’s legacy Baskerville-Richardson, who is now the Chief Education Officer for the City of Newark realizes her mom taught her and others so much about education.

A documentary film of Gladys’ life debuted earlier this year, won ‘Being Gladys’ won best doc in NIFF and came out several months before she passed. Filmmakers Zelda and Ralph Patterson created ‘Being Gladys’, Zelda was amazed by Gladys Barker Grauer and how influential she was in the arts community .

The filmmakers were not aware of her work until looking at her background.

Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson is the daughter of Gladys Barker Grauer
Credit HYCIDE. Akintola Hanif

Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson says her mom was able to express herself through her artwork and spoke through her creations about issues that were important her. She had the ability to express herself or see the world in a way most people don’t.

Gladys Barker Grauer’s art is an act of resistance. Those who experienced this visionary and was touched by her art will cherish her monumental impact on art and the community forever.

Click above to hear Brit Harley's extended feature.