Public Art Initiative “Portals” Connects Newark, N.J., to the World for Criminal Justice Conversations

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(NEWARK, N.J., April 15, 2016) – The Rutgers School of Criminal Justice (RSCJ) at Rutgers University–Newark, the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, the Project For Empty Space [at] Gateway Project Spaces, and the Partnership for Military Park are pleased to partner with Shared_Studios to bring the global public art initiative – “Portals” – to Newark. “Portals” will launch on April 18, 2016, with the first U.S. portal pairing connecting Newark, New Jersey and Milwaukee, Wisconsin in dialogues on criminal justice. 

About Portals

Portals are gold shipping containers equipped with immersive audio-visual technology and placed in public sites around the world. When individuals enter a portal, they come face to face with a stranger in a distant, identical portal and can converse live as if in the same room.

Since its launch in December 2014, portals have connected more than 12,000 people in conversation in the United States, Afghanistan, Cuba, Honduras, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, and Rwanda. Prior participants include U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, journalists Fareed Zakaria and Chris Wallace, film directors Doug Liman and Morgan Spurlock, artists Mary Ellen Carroll and Titus Kaphar; and many more. Global media has covered “Portals,” including the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, FOX, PBS, and NPR.

Dialogues on Criminal Justice

One of the key connection locations for the Newark portal is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which has the highest incarceration rate in America. The Rutgers School of Criminal Justice and the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School are using this portal pair to prompt discussions of criminal justice for analysis. The Newark portal will also connect to the global “Portals” network. Dr. Rod Brunson is one of the principal investigators for the "Portals" project. Brunson is a current RSCJ professor and will serve as dean of RSCJ beginning July 1, 2016. 


Opening Event
The opening event is from 4-6 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 18. All are welcome. 
Rutgers School of Criminal Justice Associate Dean Kenya Tyson, J.D., will give remarks. 

Press Inquiries: For press inquiries, please email Jade McClain at

Other Inquiries: For general inquiries, please email


This two-month portals installation is made possible with support from the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, the ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality at Yale University, the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

About  Shared_Studios: Shared_Studios is a multidisciplinary art, design, and technology collective focused on fostering close connections across the world. More at

About the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School: The Justice Collaboratory brings together scholars and researchers of diverse theoretical and methodological orientations at Yale University and elsewhere to work on issues related to institutional reform and policy innovation and advancement.

About Project For Empty Space [at] Gateway Project Spaces: Project For Empty Space is a not-for-profit organization that creates socially engaging, multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourage social dialogue, education, and systemic change for cultural tolerance.

About the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice: The Rutgers School of Criminal Justice was established at Rutgers University in 1972 by the New Jersey State Legislature. The legislature recognized the need for a formal program of study dedicated to preparing students to be leaders in research, teaching and public policy to better address criminal justice issues. More than three decades later, the impact and influence of the school continue to grow.

About Military Park Newark: As the most significant historic park in downtown Newark, the six-acre Military Park serves as the primary gathering space for surrounding residents, businesses, and visitors.

About the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS): The Institution for Social and Policy Studies advances interdisciplinary research in the social sciences that aims to shape public policy and inform democratic deliberation.