July 15, 2022
In honor of the NAACP National Convention's return to Atlantic City for the first time since 1968, Stockton University students collaborated with artists on a mural honoring four Black trailblazers in education.
The mural features Juanita High, founding director of the NJ Equal Opportunity Fund and a member of the Stockton University Foundation Board of Directors; Dorothie W. Dorrington, an educator and former Atlantic City Board of Education president; Vera King Farris, former Stockton president, and Hannah Pierce Lowe, former principal of Indiana Avenue Vocational School.
"I've never done anything like this before," Alexandria Montalvo, a Stockton art history and studio art major from Mays Landing, said in a press release. "Typically when I do art, it's for myself and not for something as important as this. So, it's really cool that I can tell people, 'See that; I helped with that.'"
The mural was a collaborative project between the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton University, Create 48 and the Atlantic City Arts Foundation.
It is situated at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue and was completed in time for the 113th NAACP National Convention, which takes place from July 14 through July 20.
"When the convention-goers come and they see these murals it will hopefully inspire them to take it back to the communities around the country and showcase not only people who are national icons, but people who made an impact on our local communities," Noyes Museum Executive Director Michael Cagno said.
Brigantine artists Charles Barbin and Randi Meekins created the mural inside their studio on five 5-foot-by-10-foot sections of parachute cloth. The sections were then glued to the wall in Atlantic City, and Stockton students painted the finishing touches.
"To be able to honor not one, but four women, who paved the way for people that look like me makes me very proud," Meekins, who owns Brigantine's Dune Gallery with Barbin, said. "Two of the educators actually taught my grandparents when they were in school, so I feel really connected to this project in many ways."
The mural is one of two created for the convention. The other mural by New York artist BK Foxx depicts three civil rights leaders – Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and Fannie Lou Hamer – and is based on photographs of them taken in Atlantic City.