Camden artist uses portraits of residents to change people's perception of the city

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A Camden artist behind the "Bright, Not Blight" project is trying to change the public's perception of the city, one art installation at a time.

"Unless you've been in Camden and talked to people living in the city. You're getting a small version of the bigger picture," said Erik Montgomery.

To show the full picture of Camden, Montgomery enlisted the help of Camden residents. He's spotlighting familiar faces of all ages, from all backgrounds with their portraits and they must answer what "Camden is..." to them.

The art installations also cover vacant and dilapidated properties throughout the city to highlight the ongoing issue of illegal dumping in Camden.

"I know that the arts have the ability to change people's mindsets, people's heart sand people's spirit. So, for me to have this opportunity to use my God given gifts to help beautify the city and I'm honored," he said.

Montgomery hopes to change the narrative about Camden, as the city's crime rate has reached a 50 year low as of 2020. He's also funding the entire project.

The portraits will stay on the vacant buildings as as weather permits, or if someone purchases the home.

This project is part of "A New View - Camden" which started late last year and is still going.
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