Camden receives $1M grant to transform illegal dump sites into art spaces

Mike Dougherty
January 24, 2019 - 3:44 pm
Graffiti covers the walls of crumbling buildings at the Camden Labs site, Aug. 15, 2018. The former toxic and illegal dumping site will be cleaned and cleared to make way for recreational open space.

Joe Lamberti/Courier Post

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Sites plagued by illegal dumping in Camden will soon be transformed into dynamic art spaces, thanks to a $1 million grant. 

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced its grant for its Public Art Challenge, which will feature artworks over eyesores along the PATCO line, River Line, and Camden's GreenWay trail network.

City of Camden

Cooper's Ferry Partnership Vice President Meshka Mitchell said this will be a source of pride for the community.

"What we found is that once you turn a park or any vacant space into a place where people can congregate and make it beautiful, the community around it tends to rally around and adopt those and help to keep it clean," he noted.

County Freeholder Jeff Nash said tens of thousands of people pass these sites every day, which shapes their opinions of Camden.

"When you change a site like that to become an art center, and to create something beautiful in place of an illegal dumping site, people's perceptions change," he said, "not only of that site, but of the city."

City officials also want to hear from artists who have ideas on how to reshape those areas.