celebrate culture, community and creative expression at NJPAC’s annual Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace!

On Saturday, December 17, NJPAC’s annual Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace celebrates culture, community and creative expression.

This Newark tradition — now in person — honors the seven principles of Kwanzaa with free and joyous programs. The Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace opens at NJPAC on Saturday, December 17, from 10AM to 10PM; RSVP for the Free Kwanzaa Family Festival online today or register in-person on December 17 at 9AM. The day’s festivities begin at 10am with a variety of activities, including dance classes, arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting, and a Kwanzaa candle lighting ceremony, leading into a special Show and Share from 1 – 2PM for your loved ones to perform what they learned at the Festival.  After the show, enjoy free live performances in the lobby every hour as you shop at the Kwanzaa Marketplace, 12PM to10PM. The festival is a collaboration between the Newark Museum of Art, Newark Arts, City of Newark, Newark Symphony Hall and Newark Public Library. Whole Foods will provide water, cornbread, and fruits and vegetables as our vibunzi.

in partnership with



UMOJA (Unity): Chase Room & community room

Umoja’s is centered around achieving and maintaining unity in the family, community, nation and race. The activities associated with this principle celebrate coming together and moving in unity to the uplifting rhythms of drum beats and dance forms influenced by deep-rooted African culture and traditions.. These 45-minute dance sessions conclude with a one-hour performance for participants to share their newly learned moves and skills from the day’s activities.

Chase Room

10:00 AM 10:45 AM Soul Steps Maxine Lyle
11:00 AM 11:45 AM Jersey Club Anthony “Solo” Harris
12:00 PM 12:45 PM West African Karen Love
1:00 PM 2:00 PM Show and Share Umoja Dance Company
Jersey Club Performers
Brooklyn United Marching Band
Our Girls of Hope Step Team

Community room

10:00 AM 10:45 AM Capoeira Contramestra Amazonas
11:00 AM 11:45 AM Salsa Smiling David’s Dance School
12:00 PM 12:45 PM Afrobeats Adeola Fashina

KUJICHAGULIA (Self Determination): East Shadowbox

The principle of Kujichagulia centers on defining, naming, creating and speaking for ourselves. Express your self-determination through creativity and Kwanzaa-related arts and crafts projects with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, North Jersey Alumnae Chapter.

10:00 AM 12:45 PM Arts & Crafts Delta Sigma Theta, North Jersey Alumnae

Ujamaa (cooperative economics): Prudential Lobby & tier 1 faux boxes

Ujamaa is about collectively benefitting from businesses by building and maintaining our own stores and shops. Support local Black-owned merchants with an expanded Artisan Marketplace. Dozens of vendors cover two floors of NJPAC selling one-of-a-kind handcrafts, jewelry, soaps, lotions, clothes, art and much more for your gift-giving needs. At the same time, support local musicians, dancers, and artists who will share live performances in the Prudential Lobby.

Prudential Lobby

10:00 AM 6:30 PM Performances Smiling David’s Dance School – Salsa
Columbia High School Step Team
New Jersey Kids Fashion Week
Brooklyn United Marching Band
Najah Riker, Newark Symphony Hall – Line Dance
DEW Ministries – Liturgical Dance
Dr. Akil Khalfani – Storytelling about Kwanzaa
West Orange High School Step Team


Prudential Lobby & tier 1 faux boxes 

12:00 PM 10:00 PM Artisan Marketplace Over 20 Vendors

KUUMBA (Creativity): vic lobby

Kuumba encourages us to always do what we can to improve and leave our community more beautiful than we inherited it. With this principle in mind, participate in activities that beautify the body and benefit the soul. There’s creative face painting, storytelling with Newark Public Library and stories coming to life with an enactment by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis, as well as a hands on art-making activity connected to the story. 

9:30 AM 12:45 PM Face Painting Bert Pinnock, Debbie Kirkland, and other artists
9:30 AM 10:45 AM Kwanzaa Story & Creative Activity Alpha Kappa Alpha, Beta Alpha Omega Chapter
11:00 AM 12:45 PM Storytelling Newark Public Library

IMANI (Faith): West Shadowbox

Imani asks us to believe, with all of our hearts, in our people, parents, teachers and leaders and in the righteousness and victory of our struggle. By faith, we will work together to create mosaic art with Glassroots and Adinkra stamps with Newark Museum of Arts.

10:00 AM 10:45 AM Mosaic Arts Project Glassroots
11:00 AM 12:45 PM Adinkra Stamping Newark Museum of Arts

UJIMA (Collective Work & Responsibility): tier 2 faux boxes & tier 2 hallway

Ujima is centered on actively building and maintaining our community. Individual problems become our collective responsibility and we work together to overcome them. Break through your creative challenges with help from our engaged partners who will facilitate art projects and nurture your creative expression.

10:00 AM 12:45 PM Arts & Crafts Kassandra Pantoja
Eyes Like Mine
Cassandra George
City of Newark
New Jersey Kids Fashion Week
Rutgers University – Newark
La Casa de Don Pedro
Clinton Hill Community Action
Weequahic RecreationTurtle Back Zoo
+ more

NIA (Purpose): Parsonnet Room

Nia is about making our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore African people to their traditional greatness. With that principle in mind, join Shanell Dunns, founder and CEO of Roots and Bridges, for empowering conversations on education, politics and health, and how these are impacted by various socioeconomic factors. 

10:15 AM 10:45 AM Family Panel Discussion:
Neighborhood vs. Community
Shanell Dunns, Roots and Bridges
11:00 AM 12:00 PM Drumming Workshop Stephan Litzey, Umoja Dance Company
12:15 AM 12:45 PM Family Panel Discussion:
Neighborhood vs. Community
Shanell Dunns, Roots and Bridges

 Artisan Marketplace 

Ujamaa (cooperative economics)
prudential lobby + tier 1 faux boxes & corridor
Friday, December 16, 7PM – 11PM
Saturday, December 17, 12PM – 10PM
Sunday, December 18, 2PM – 6PM

NJPAC’s most popular community marketplace returns with one-stop shopping from local crafters and artisans. The marketplace features a variety of one-of-a-kind treasures such as custom and cultural clothing, handcrafted jewelry, unique hats, bath and body products, candles, books, art and more.

Sponsored By:

NJPAC’s Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace are made possible through the generosity of Leon and Toby Cooperman.