Celeste Bateman started her company, Celeste Bateman & Associates, LLC (www.CelesteBateman.com), in September 1997. The firm specializes in arts and cultural programming, special events planning, public relations and the Nia Network, a roster of artists and speakers of African descent who specialize in and present art forms relative to the African Diaspora.
Current and/or recent clients include the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Crossroads Theatre Company, the African American Heritage Parade, Newark Symphony Hall, the Newark Arts Council, Connection Newark, Newark Downtown District, Newark School of the Arts, United Way of Essex & West Hudson, First Class Championship Development Center, Center for Education Innovation (MS) and numerous other companies and arts organizations nationally and abroad.
Prior to starting her business, Ms. Bateman was cultural affairs supervisor for the City of Newark, New Jersey. For the City, she produced concerts, exhibitions, school programs, lectures series, symposia and other public programs. Ms. Bateman produced several publications for the Cultural Affairs division, oversaw grants to small and emerging arts organizations, organized community arts tours, served as liaison between the arts community and the city administration and represented the Mayor on several boards and committees. After leaving the city, Ms. Bateman served as interim executive director of the Newark Arts Council, a non-profit organization that serves the city’s artists and arts organizations.
In 1995 she was one of 10 arts administrators selected nationwide by Americans for the Arts to participate in an arts study tour in Northern Ireland, courtesy the British Council, where they shared ‘war stories’ with fellow arts administrators in a country that, at the time, was enjoying a six-month cease-fire from a tumultuous civil war. Prior to her service with the City of Newark, she was the program coordinator at The Newark Museum where she presented over 50 events annually.
Over the years, she has worked with or booked for various organizations such luminaries as Dr. Maya Angelou, Amiri & Amina Baraka, Dr. Tony Brown, Dr. Calvin Butts, Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee, Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant, Dr. Bernice King, Yolanda King, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Alvin Poussant, Randall Robinson, former Congressman William Grey; numerous jazz musicians, among them the late jazz violinist Noel Pointer, the late singer Abbey Lincoln, Chico Mendoza; singers Cissy and Whitney Houston, and countless others.
Ms. Bateman is a freelance blogger/writer and in 1999, she wrote and produced the Gospel play, We’ve Got the Victory which was performed in New York City and at various venues in New Jersey. She revived the production with a new cast and in December 2016, presented it a Newark Symphony Hall. One of her short stories, “The Rebirth of William,” was published in PBS talk show host, Tavis Smiley’s book Keeping the Faith which won an NAACP Image Award in 2003. For several years, Ms. Bateman hosted NewarkARTS, a public access show on Cablevision and Arts & Entertainment Review a cable radio show produced in conjunction with the now defunct Newark Entertainment Network where she interviewed many performers of note. She also voiced, for several years, the “Brick City Beat,” an arts and entertainment calendar on, and sat on the Board of Directors of WBGO-Jazz 88.
Ms. Bateman has curated several eclectic exhibitions during the course of her career in arts administration. In the 1990s while working as the arts administrator for the City of Newark (NJ), she curated an exhibition of Martin Luther King, Jr. photographs by Robert Sengstacke called “King: A Poignant Portrayal,” which included 6’ enlargements of Sengstackes extraordinary, iconic photographs as well as several smaller images of the civil rights leader, his family, colleagues and cohorts. Later, she curated an exhibit of art, photographs, artifacts and memorabilia for the City’s “Newarks of the World Reunion” hosted by then Mayor Sharpe James. These items were shipped to the city from the various municipalities and townships – from Newark, California to Newark-on-Trent, England. Also during this tenure, she curated an exhibition of the AIDS Quilt for World AIDS Day, an emotional and thought-provoking display of panels representing Essex County victims of this devastating disease. In 2005, she curated a Black History Month exhibition for Summit Medical Group in Berkley Heights, NJ entitled “The Art of Healing: The Healing Power of the Arts,” which featured the works of extraordinary artists (Ben Jones, Janet Taylor Pickett, Bisa Washington and the late Russell Murray), photographer Akintola Hanif and sculptor Ujima Majid. In 2013 she curated a photography exhibition entitled “Newark: In Search of a Healing,” at the Newark LGBTQ Center which showcased the works of eight renowned photographers: Manuel Acevedo, David Booker, Risasi Dais, Akintola Hanif, Mansa K. Mussa, William “Bill” May, Pamela Owens and Barry Gray.
Ms. Bateman received her B.A. in Theatre Arts and Speech from Rutgers University and holds a Masters in Communication Arts from Montclair State University. She is a licensed booking agent and a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Pioneers Initiative, a program of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (CUEED) at the Rutgers Business School (2012). She sits on the Board of Directors of the Newark Community Economic Corp. and is a Guest Producer for The Newark Public Library.