Chandri Barat is co-founder of the Barat Foundation, a Newark based non-profit dedicated to bringing arts education and a global perspective to underserved youth. The Foundation came to Newark in 2000, seeing a critical need to expand its summer study program in France to include inner-city youth. Chandri’s direction lead to the growth of year-round arts education initiatives including the Creation Nation Art and Peace Parade featuring the foundation’s signature “Animodule”™ sculpures, a city-wide public art muraling project, and a youth entrepreneurship program focusing on the arts.
Prior to establishing the Barat Foundation, Chandri was a pioneer in the natural foods industry, co-founding Legume, Inc., the first natural foods company to go public, creating healthy tofu-based entrees.
After doctoral studies in political philosophy and French, Chandri spent a year in India studying and practicing Siddha Yoga with Swami Muktananda, who bestowed her spiritual name, Chandri.
Chandri is the proud wife and life partner of Gary Barat, entrepreneur and fine-arts photographer, and mother of two daughters and contemporary artists, Athena and Ariana.
Overview of the Barat Foundation: The Barat Foundation is a Newark based arts education organization founded in 2000, dedicated to the power of the arts to transform lives and communities, and level the playing field for highly motivated, under-served youth. The Foundation is dedicated to inspiring Newark’s youth to become productive members of their schools, communities, and society by engaging them in arts education initiatives designed to support NJ core curriculum standards for the arts; public arts programs designed to include Newark youth in the renaissance of their city, and entrepreneurship training in the arts. Major public arts programs have enriched the experience of thousands of Newark youth.
What makes the Barat Foundation unique and necessary? “Barat Foundation arts education programs create safe spaces to engage youth, encourage and develop creative expression, improve academic performance, improve self-esteem, and promote a positive and emotionally healthy life-style. Students develop invaluable tools for everyday living including imagination, observation, and critical problem solving skills while working to improve the quality of life in the city.
We serve an estimated 2,500 Newark children and youth annually, the majority of whom live below the national poverty line, 18% of whom live in a family where neither parent nor guardian has a job, and 50% of whom do not graduate high school. 80% test below grade level in either language or math skills or both; over 50% exist at or below the Federal Poverty line. For these children, Barat Foundation arts education programs offer new solutions to engage and inspire, creating pathways for personal growth, academic accomplishment, and community engagement.”
Services provided by the Barat Foundation 1. In school and after-school artist in residence programs at Newark schools and community organizations, which relate to and are in direct support of support of age and grade appropriate NJ core curriculum content standards for the arts. 2. Large-scale community created public artworks and art installations –Animodules™, currently on view at Newark Liberty International Airport, Turtle Back Zoo, Rutgers University, and NPS. Now seen by over 500,000 travelers to our region per year, these public art installations created by the children of the city create ownership, encourage community engagement and civic responsibility. 3. The Creation Nation Art and Peace Parade and Creator’s Clubs: the largest collaborative art event in Newark, having celebrated its eighth year as the kick-off to Celebration 350 – a citywide celebration of Newark’s 350th Anniversary. The parade brings together thousands of Newark youth, the Newark Public Schools, the Newark Arts Council, NJPAC, the Municipal Council and numerous community, civic, and business organizations, to celebrate creativity and the power of art to transform lives and communities. The parade is preceded by 2 months of free and open art making workshops “Creator’s Clubs”. 4. Youth Entrepreneurship Through the Arts: Entrepreneurship education affording Newark youth experiential learning opportunities to identify and develop artistic creative ideas to produce viable business opportunities. 5. Summer Study Abroad