Camden Mayor Frank Moran, the City of Camden, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, and the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts on Jan. 31 announced the eight artists who will participate in “A New View,” a winning project selected for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge that has been awarded $1 million.
The project will raise awareness of Camden’s illegal dumping issue by transforming six sites with vibrant temporary art installations and programming, inspiring residents and visitors to take “a new view” of the city.
131 applications for “A New View” were submitted from across the country, with the eight winners – chosen by curators Judith Tannenbaum and Camden native Kimberly Camp – representing a cross-section of medium, experience, and background.
The winning artists are tasked with drawing attention to Camden’s illegal dumping problem, which costs taxpayers $4 million annually, as well as helping to shape the public’s perception of the city. Residents, community leaders, and visitors attended the announcement, where they viewed mock-ups from the winning artists and heard from project partners.
Winning designs from six of the artists range from traditional to functional art, including a monumental panther made from repurposed car hoods, a machine in the garden that utilizes mealworms to eat styrofoam packaging from e-waste, a wind-powered sculpture using recycled plastic, clay/earth installations housing a bread oven and horticultural elements, a 15-foot steel sculpture of a robot picking up giant pieces of litter, and 22-foot tall sculptures of birds out of bamboo.
“It wasn’t an easy decision with so much great talent to choose from, but with the community’s help, we finally selected eight amazing artists to help us create ‘A New View’ of Camden,” Moran said. “These artists truly redefine what ‘art’ is and what art can do for our communities, and I’m so excited to see the transformation of our neighborhoods. We can’t thank Bloomberg Philanthropies enough for making this possible.”
The winners are, Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi, SLO Architecture; Athena Steen and Josh Sarantitis; Tyler FuQua Creations; The Myth Makers, Donna Dodson & Andy Moerlein; Erik James Montgomery; Tom Marchetty, The Factory Workers; DKLA Design and Terreform ONE: Mitchell Joachim, Vivian Kuan, Zack Saunders, Theo Dimitrasopoulos, and Nicholas Gervasi.
The artists will use a variety of media to create a new narrative for Camden, revealing a journey from a literal and figurative dumping ground to a place full of energy, artistic potential, and strength.
“The winning artists exhibit the exceptional level of creativity and talent that Camden deserves in order to transform these public spaces,” said Phoebe A. Haddon, Chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden. “The Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts looks forward to working with them over the next few months, and to inviting the collaboration of local artists who might be interested in learning more about making public art.”
The works of two local artists will be featured as part of the project: Erik James Montgomery will create 75 photographic portraits of Camden residents to highlight in the “A New View Camden” marketing campaign and Tom Marchetty’s hand-crafted seating areas made from industrial waste he has collected over the years from Camden factories will be placed at various sites.
Public Art Challenge is a nationwide event in which Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects that address important civic issues and demonstrate an ability to generate public-private collaborations, celebrate creativity and urban identity, and strengthen local economies. More than 200 cities applied for the 2018 Public Art Challenge. Five cities in all were selected: Camden; Anchorage, Alaska; Coral Springs in partnership with Parkland, Fla.; Jackson, Miss.; and Tulsa, Okla.
Bios and portfolios from the artists can be found on the project website, http://www.anewviewcamden.com/, as well as information on how to collaborate with the winning artists.