GlassBook Project: Brick by Brick, The Ironbound Oral History Collection was created by Artists-in-Residence paulA neves and Adrienne Wheeler in collaboration with Dr. Tim Raphael and students in the Honors Living and Learning Community course “Ironbound GlassBook Project.” This urban research and studio-based art course immersed students in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark and the Oral History of the Ironbound Project archive a collection of over 250 interviews with Lusophone migrants that was founded in 2002 by Dr. Kimberly DaCosta Holton. The interviews served as inspiration for books produced by the student artists with Newark-based GlassRoots. The books are abstract portraits of the individuals and their stories from the archive’s oral recordings. They are on display as a catalyst for public dialogue about the Ironbound and the role of immigrants in shaping Newark and its history.
The GlassBook Project, ongoing since 2009, is a socially engaged artwork by Nick Kline that attempts to bear truthful witness to lived experience, particularly of those who have undergone struggles and psychological trauma. Together with students in a Rutgers Book Arts class and visiting artists-in-residence, Kline facilitates the collaboration creation of unique artists’ books that are literally made out of glass. The GBP is not focused on depicting a trauma event itself, nor a clinical definition of trauma, nor is it art therapy. Rather, GBP’s main concept is to step into the shoes of another and from this experience, create compelling abstract portraits.
Brick By Brick was created in partnership with Newest Americans and the Center for Migration and the Global City, at Rutgers University-Newark. The project received support from the Honors Living Learning Community, the Office of the FASN Dean and the Office of the Chancellor at Rutgers University-Newark. Students received training in glass book production at GlassRoots, Newark, NJ. Brick by Brick is the 11th collection of the GlassBook Project. A special thanks to Ironbound project consultant Dr. Kimberly DaCosta Holton, playwright/screenwriter Richard Wesley and poet/essayist Hugo Dos Santos who generously shared their knowledge of the Ironbound with the student artists.