CONTACT: Maurice Hayman, Marketing Director

IDEA Center for the Arts

Phone: 267-474-1383

Or 856-577-8337


CAMDEN, NJ –  The IDEA Center for the Arts along with their partners, the Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center (DiSC) and the Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association proudly presents the First Annual Johnson Park Music and Arts Festival. The theme for the festival is: “For the healing of the nation, city and tribes – A day of reflection into our past, as we create a solid foundation of hope for the future!” The festival is the culmination of a project funded by the Independent Public Media Foundation that developed projects documenting, sharing, and preserving people’s experiences and stories, fostering community connections through creative media making, and strengthening community-owned and community-led media.

In June 2020, Camden residents in the Cooper-Grant neighborhood, which includes Johnson Park, contacted Rutgers University-Camden about the frieze on Johnson Library, a mosaic entitled “America Receiving the Gifts of the Nations” that depicts a number of historical figures. Community members asked that the university deal with the fact that the frieze, in the words of one person, has “white supremacist themes.” Soon after, Rutgers covered the mural, but it has not yet revealed specifics about what it plans to do.

In addition to the historical displacement of Indigenous people as figures of the past, this particular representation erases the multiplicity of Native American identity and experience by creating an emblematic “Indianness” divorced from the particular history of the Lenapehoking, the historical lands of the Lenape (Delaware) people.

IDEA and DiSC’s project addresses the imagery on the frieze and aims to create a conversation about the relationship between public art and power. Instead of proposing a single solution to the frieze, it builds connections among community stakeholders by developing multiple, layered, and ongoing media projects in this public space. This Festival is part of these ongoing efforts.

The Festival pays homage to those whose voices and history have been erased, and the Johnson Park Library will serve in the future as a key place to learn about the indigenous cultures who contributed to the development of the Nation, City and Tribes but until now have not been heard.

In addition, the Festival will call attention to the African Slave marker on the property and its history as well as the uplifting of the Native American culture that has not been favorably depicted on the frieze of the Johnson Park Library. IDEA, DiSC, and the Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association are organizing this festival in order to advocate for better depiction of and study of the Native American, African and Latino Contributions to Camden City.

WHEN:  September 11th 2012-  12noon to 6pm

WHERE:  Johnson Park Library

101 Cooper Street

Camden New Jersey, 08103

WHO:  Cynthia Primas, President/CEO IDEA Center for the Arts

Jim Brown, Director, Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center

Jonathan Latko- President/ Cooper Grant Neighborhood Association

WHY:  Celebration and recognition of the first Annual Johnson Park Festival 

Members of press and the general public are invited to find out more about the project by going to .

Sponsors :   Nuance Café, EMR, Ritz Theatre Company, IPMF, Bread and Roses Foundation

About The Author


Ayasha Roberson started Urban SociaLites, LLC in June of 2010, she holds a bachelor degree in Sociology from Richard Stockton College and Masters Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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