Liz Del Tufo
In her long history of civic activism Liz has served Newark in many different capacities: as activist, educator, preservationist, historian and hostess. In 1974 Elizabeth and a small group of people who believed, founded the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee (NPLC). Their goal, to preserve and protect what they saw as one of Newark’s greatest assets, its architecture. Since that time the committee has placed over seventy buildings and five historic districts on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, thereby ensuring that Newark’s past serves its future.
In 1976, working with the Newark Museum, she started a hugely successful “Newark Tours” program to show those outside of Newark that the city was worth saving. Those tours are still an integral part of the Newark Museum travel program to this day. Liz has formed ‘newarktours.com‘ through which she has expanded “Newark Tours” to lead hundreds of people a year throughout the city.
Liz was appointed the first Essex County Director of Cultural Affairs in 1980. Under her leadership, the parks concert program was expanded from a handful to over 200 a year featuring New Jersey artists who performed in Newark parks. Her most lasting contribution was the conversion of a Nike Missile Base in Livingston into thriving Riker Hill Art Park.
In 1986 she was appointed the first Executive Director of the Newark Boys Chorus School. Within a short time the enrollment doubled, Hispanic participation increased to better represent the city’s population and the entire music program was revitalized. Upon her retirement, the chorus had traveled to six foreign nations establishing its role as “Newark’s Finest Ambassadors.”
Elizabeth convinced the city’s administration in 1990 to create the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission which would by state and municipal ordinance protect all Newark sites on the Historic Registers. Liz served as commission chair for 16 years.
More recently she has produced a DVD, “Newark Through the Ages,” which she uses when lecturing at adult schools, colleges and historical organizations.