CAMDEN, NJ — Camden’s latest effort to tackle the issue of illegal dumping can be best exemplified by Tom Marchetty’s casual Sunday.

“It was a few days ago that I was driving around Camden and suddenly, I found an old beam that someone had just thrown on the side of the road. I took a long look at it and thought, ‘I could use that for one of my benches,” Marchetty, one of eight artists selected for the city’s “A New View” project, told TAPinto Camden.

Camden in partnership with Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, and the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts, announced Wednesday the eight artists — chosen from 131 applicants — that will be part of the citywide initiative to tackle a problem with a long history in the city.

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City officials, organizers and artists gathered at the Rutgers-Camden Nursing and Science Building Atrium to announce the winners.

Marchetty’s “pod parks,” fully functional freestanding lounge spaces, will be located at all the sites — available for visitors to enjoy the outdoors and some truly-transfixing artwork in the process. 

“This is going to be a real plus for the community,” said Rutgers-Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon prior to the winners being announced. “It will make people truly appreciate the value of having a healthy environment.”

From a giant environmentally-conscious robot to a 36-foot long black panther made from “the relics of carbon addiction,” the pieces makes use of a variety of recycled materials and span many art forms. 

Camden’s project was the fifth winning project in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge. The city was awarded $1 million last year to complete the various sites.

Other cities selected include Anchorage, Alaska, Coral Springs, Florida, Jackson, Mississippi, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“The public art program stems from our strong belief in the power of public art to transform cities and to spark long-lasting positive change,” said Anita Contini, Program Lead for Arts and Culture at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “As Mike Bloomberg often says, great public art strengthens cities by making them more exciting and attractive places to live and work.”

And the winners are…

Of the eight artists, two are from New Jersey: Marchetty, a Collingswood-native, and Erik James Montgomery of East Orange. 

The others, all of which were selected by curators Judith Tannenbaum and Kimberly Camp, were Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture, Athena Steen and Josh Sarantitis, Tyler FuQua Creations, DKLA Design, and the Terreform ONE team: Mitchell Joachim, Vivian Kuan, Zack Saunders, Theo Dimitrasopoulos, and Nicholas Gervasi.

Also, on that list were Massachusetts-natives Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, known as The Myth Makers. Their piece — two 22-foot tall sculptures made out of bamboo and colorful recycled objects — is entitled, “The Phoenix Festival.”

“We considered different ways we could help amplify what Camden’s doing,” said Dodson.

Moerlein, who said The Myth Makers will also display art in Atlanta soon, said, “the idea of a phoenix rising from the ashes felt very appropriate.”

A “Turntable” by SLO Architecture, will take thousands of two-liter soda bottles and pay homage to RCA Victor’s place among 20th century classical and jazz history. 

Montgomery’s artwork will take a different direction - by making 75 portraits of Camden locals that will be displayed throughout the city with the moniker “Camden Is…” and however that individual decides to fill in the blank.

Curators said the sites of the physical artwork have been properly remediated and determined to be safe for installations. 

The work, which will be temporarily displayed between May and October of this year, will open to the public simultaneously. 

The artwork will be at the following locations:

  • DKLA’s black panther, titled “Invincible Cat” (Whitman Avenue and West Pershing Street)

  • Terreform One’s “Bio-Informatic Digester: Waste As Fuel for Biodiversity” (Chestnut and Orchard Streets)

  • SLO Architect’s “Turntable” (Cooper’s Poynt Waterfront Park)

  • Athena Steen and Josh Sarantitis’ “Touching the Earth” (5th and Erie Streets)

  • Tyler FuQua Creations’ “Mechan 11: The Collector” (State Street Pedestrian Bridge)

  • The Myth Makers’ “The Phoenix Festival” (1401 Federal Street)

  • Erik James Montgomery’s “Camden Is” (billboards around the city)

  • The Factory Workers’ “Pod Parks” (all the sites)

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