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Gladys Barker Grauer

Matriarch of Newark Arts, Mother, Friend

Gladys Barker Grauer departed this life peacefully at home on September 5, 2019. She was born Gladys Frances Barker in Cincinnati, Ohio on August 15, 1923 to Maudie and Charles Barker and raised in Chicago, Illinois, during the Great Depression. She graduated from Englewood High School and attended the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1946, she moved to New York where she met and married Solomon Grauer. In 1951 they moved to Newark’s South Ward.

In 1971, Gladys opened Newark’s first art gallery, the Aard Studio Galley, on Bergen Street. It became an inspirational gathering place for black and brown artists in the Newark area. From 1974, to 1989, Gladys taught commercial art for the Essex County Vocational Schools. Gladys’s artwork has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally, and she is included in numerous art publications.

Gladys is the mother of the mural movement in Newark, having completed  five murals in Newark since 2006. “Being Gladys,” a documentary on her life, won Best Documentary at the 2019 Newark International Film Festival. Gladys leaves to cherish her memory children, Antoinette (Wayne), Edie, Eddie, and Leon (Dorothy); 10 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren and a host of relatives, fellow artists, former students, and friends. Memorial service will take place on Saturday, September 14th at 10 am at the Newark Museum Auditorium, 49 Washington Street, followed by repast at the Newark Library, 5 Washington St.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of NJ (CASA-NJ), www.casaofnj.org, 77 Church St. New Brunswick, NJ 08901  and People for Animals NJ at www.pfaonline.org, 401 Hillside Ave., Hillside, NJ 07206.


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  • Friday, September 6, 2019
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ James E. Churchman, Jr. Funeral Home
  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019
    Our prayers of gratitude for the beauty and inspiration Gladys brought to this world, and for the comfort of her family and friends.
    ~ H.Allen and Donna Wrigley   Newark