What’s Good? — Build It And They Will Come

By: Isaiah Showell, Follow South Jersey Multimedia Journalist/’What’s Good’ Host

Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen cuts the ribbon on the new mural along with local officials. Photo credit: Isaiah Showell.

CAMDEN, N.J. — Saint Joseph’s Carpenter’s Society and The Hispanic Family Center collaborated to create a mural in East Camden on North 27th Street and Westfield Avenue, and the people of Camden had the opportunity to contribute their ideas and talents towards creating the mural.

“We had several meetings on the east Camden Advisory Board and got people’s opinions on what should be represented, people want to see the generations of East Camden and how families want to stay here,” said Director of Community Impact for Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society Soley Berrios.

A new mural in Camden is What’s Good in South Jersey this week!

“We have big staples in the mural like the Woodrow Wilson High School Columns, housing stock, Saint Joseph’s Church which has been in the community for years and the federal street bridge which is very historic to East Camden,” she added.

Camden Pride is at the center of the mural, and head artist of the mural Cesar Viveros made Camden Pride bleed into his work.

“It reflects the real life of the people here and we wanted to tell the rest of the world who we are,” said Viveros. “This is the way to tell people this is our neighborhood and we tried to reflect what the people are about in the particular section of Camden.”

Mayor Victor Carstarphen stopped by to cut the ribbon on the mural and show off his Camden Pride.

“This is so positive and it’s something the people in traffic will be able to see. Cesar did an incredible job,” Carstarphen said.

Carlos Cartagena, CEO of The Hispanic Family Center, loves the symbolism within the mural even though he’s not originally from Camden.

“Regardless of where you’re from with the silhouette’s you can’t tell who is who or what culture you’re from,” said Cartagena. “You can be anybody and still be from East Camden.”

The community members embraced the mural with people from all walks of life stopping to get a look at the new attraction in the neighborhood.

“It’s beautiful, I really like the colors,” said community members Marlin Madina and Brisa. “I grew up here in Camden and just to see this amount of color on 27th street is amazing.”

“Walking out my door every morning in Camden New Jersey and looking at this; this is awesome,” said community member Fredrick Handy. “We need more of this around the city of Camden.”

Camden resident Elvia Rodriguez feels murals like this are important for future generations.

“Once I’m in Philly I see a lot of murals and they make me feel good so I’m for this mural and my sons can see it,” Rodriguez said. “I’m happy to see this in Camden the colors catch your eyes and I don’t see a lot of murals here.”

Home Enterprises, M&T Bank, Campbell’s Soup, and TD Bank funded the murals creation for the city of Camden. The Hispanic Family Center operation hours are Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to news@followsouthjersey.com with “NEWS” in the subject line.