On Saturday, November 16, 2013 at Grace Church on Broad Street in Newark faculty, students and alumni came together to perform in memory of Co-Founder Saunders Davis and to continue The Saunders Davis Scholarship Endowment. Many came and enjoyed the various musical talents of the arts community that Saunders Davis helped create.
Overall, the concert was a great success, the audience was very receptive, and loved all of the performers. The concert was indicative of the dream that Stella Lass and Saunders Davis had for the school. Current students, Alumni and Faculty participated. The program was coordinated by Dr. Grace Hackett and Inez McClendon from the Voice and Drama departments. They both knew Mr. Davis very well and welcomed the opportunity to continue a scholarship in Saunders Davis name. The Board of Trustees was represented by Bass Baritone, Kevin Maynor and the executive director Mr. Larry Tamburri addressed the audience.
Saunders Albert Davis was born November 3, 1932 in Montclair. He was employed by the Newark Board of Education for 35 years, first as a music teacher and later as a guidance counselor at Weequahic High School.
Having worked with and witnessed the poverty, dreams and talent of inner-city children, who had no direction or venue to develop their talents, he along with co-worker Stella Lass would create a community center that offered high-quality, affordable arts education.
Together with friends and hard work, they co-founded The Newark Community Center of the Arts, now known as the Newark School of the Arts.
Classes began with 75 students and six months of free rent at Northern Baptist Ministers' Convention House on High Street in Newark. On July 15, 1968 with funding from the Englehardt and the Turrell Fund they purchased a building at 186 Clinton Avenue. Student Enrollment grew to 287 participants (197 instrumental and 90 dance students).
Today, the School provides music, dance, drama, visual arts lessons for nearly 600 on-site and 100 off-site students each week. It is headquartered in a turn-of-the-century building at 89 Lincoln Park.
With humble beginnings came forth a school that the community can turn to high-quality, affordable arts education. For this, Saunders Davis, we thank you.