Bloomberg Philanthropies

Camden a Finalist for $1 Million in Funding for Public Art

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Wednesday morning the finalists of the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a program that “aims to foster creative collaboration, address civic issues, and support local economies through public art.”

Camden, along with 13 other cities from across the nation, have been invited to submit a full proposal.

The proposed project is a collaborative effort between the City of Camden, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts to turn vacant lots along the northern side of PATCO transit line — often used for illegal dumping — into community gathering sites centered around public art.

CFP President and CEO Kris Kolluri said that depending on if the project is funded and the amount that is awarded, five to seven lots of different shapes and sizes could be transformed from blighted, empty lots into community gathering spaces.

“We’re thinking much more broadly than just installing the art,” said Kolluri.

Historically, Kolluri said, people from outside the city have used vacant lots in Camden to illegally dump their unwanted trash. This project would highlight the “negative effects and harmful nature” of illegal dumping by converting them into “beautiful and community-centric places that can be a source of pride for the community.”

“Art by itself is an important aspect in the community,” said Kolluri. “But art, combined with other amenities where it becomes a central point of gathering for the residents, is an even better answer.”

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