Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts Awarded NEA Funding for “Portraits of Camden” Exhibition

By Tom McLaughlin

Kimberly Camp, Blind Date, acrylic on canvas, 2018

Camden’s cultural heritage will be celebrated – and viewers will be offered a deeper social understanding of the city – thanks to a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts award to the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts to support “Portraits of Camden.”

The Stedman Gallery exhibition, which focuses on Camden residents’ strength and resilience through portraiture by contemporary artists, is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during a second round of the NEA’s 2021 Grants for Arts funding.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts reengage fully with partners and audiences,” says Ann Eilers, acting chair of the NEA. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”

Donald T. Williams, Mom always Mom, watercolor, 2019

Cyril Reade, director of the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts, lauds the NEA’s ongoing commitment to giving voice to Camden residents, following the isolation that the pandemic forced upon the city.

“These six artists, longtime residents or newly arrived, give value to human interaction that is at the root of portraiture,” says Reade. “From training our sight on the environment through A New View – Camden, we shift our gaze to those of us who embrace the energy and partnership that are part of everyday life in Camden and other American urban centers.”

“Portraits of Camden,” which will run from Sept. 6, 2022 to Oct. 10, 2022, continues the series of exhibitions with a focus on Camden, following “Visions of Camden” (2013), “Sounds of Camden” (2014), and “Picturing Camden” (2017). Program components include an on-site exhibition, speaker series, and museum education program, as well as an artist-in-residence program at a Camden school. A catalog will accompany the exhibition.

“Portraits of Camden” features both existing and new work by artists who were chosen for the quality of their work, authentic connection to Camden, experience with the portrait genre, and diversity of viewpoint.

Rafael J. Miranda Mattei, Mofongú, 2007

  • Kimberly Camp – born and raised in Camden – creates colorful paintings that highlight her subject’s character through their attire and activities, such as going to the barbershop.
  • Beverly Collins-Robert – born and raised in Camden – creates intimate black-and-white contemporary portraits and candid photographs that incorporate Camden’s historical past.
  • Pedro Fuller – born in Nicaragua, and lives and works in Camden – creates surrealist paintings that place an emphasis on the emotional and the subconscious.
  • Rafael Miranda Mattei – born in Puerto Rico and works in Camden – will create a multimedia installation featuring residents’ voices through sound elements and prints.
  • Erik James Montgomery – who has a studio in Camden – creates large-format photographs that incorporate political and personal elements.
  • Donald T. Williams – born and raised in Camden – is on a mission to make 10,000, 10-minute portrait sketches of Camden residents.

The Stedman Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Complex, at 314 Linden Street, on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

Pedro Fuller, Untitled, oil on panel, 2019

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