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July 19, 2018

Camden could win $1 million to turn vacant lots into art displays

Development Art
Carroll - Aerial of Camden NJ Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

An ariel view of Camden, New Jersey.

Camden is in the running to get a hefty allowance for a makeover.

The South Jersey city across the river from Philadelphia is among 14 finalists selected to potentially receive a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge.

If Camden wins, city officials say the money will go to transforming vacant lots used for illegal dumping into "multi-purpose community forums hosting art installations."

“We have a real opportunity to invest in major public art, which would elevate awareness of critical issues facing our city while enhancing our cultural scene at the same time. It’s yet another development that could make Camden a more attractive place to live, work and play," Camden Mayor Frank Moran said in a press release Wednesday.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will pick at least three winners from the 14 finalists. The other cities: Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Coral Springs, Florida; El Paso, Texas; Holyoke, Massachusetts ; Honolulu, Hawaii; Jackson, Mississippi; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Santa Rosa, California; Seattle, Washington; St. Louis, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma.

More than 200 cities applied for the grant. The winners will be selected this fall.

Camden's proposal was put together in collaboration with the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts.

“As we’re now seeing, public art can be a leadership tool and open unexpected avenues of collaboration,” said Phoebe Haddon, Chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden.