Eric James Montgomery’s ‘King and Queens’ mural in Camden, New Jersey hopes to inspire kids who can do anything – CBS Philly
Camden, NJ (CBS) – This assertion may not be fair, and may not be accurate. But as a lifelong resident of South Jersey, and his family even lived in Camden for a few months, the prevailing ideas when mentioning the New Jersey city bordering the Delaware River, are poverty, crime, and a lack of opportunity.
But an artist in town makes sure that the kids who grow up there don’t allow those outside perceptions to become their reality.
If you find yourself driving along Federal Street in East Camden, just across from Woodrow Wilson High School, you’ll notice something a little different in Dudley Grange Park. It is a mural with adorable pictures of smiling children studying at two local elementary schools in front of the flags of every country on earth.
“They are called king and queens because I believe every child has the potential to be a king or queen,” said Eric James Montgomery. “I want them to know how royal they are.”
Montgomery’s motivation for the project was simple.
“Raise the awareness level of these young people in the community to know that they are valuable and valuable,” Montgomery said. “And that in their quest for education they can do anything.”
Phaedra Chandler, Camden Community Partnership Project Manager worked on this project with Montgomery and sees that when looking at the work done.
“There is so much more to this city and our youth and our people than I think people have a chance to know, and pictures like this help us tell our true story,” Chandler said.
Eyewitness News also heard from one of the show’s early young stars, fourth grade Acai Hornsby, what you see when you look at the mural.
“I see all the beautiful little children,” Aki said.
We see those beautiful faces with bright eyes and smiling as well. Montgomery says his art is his legacy, and hopes that a hundred or two hundred years from now, he will be remembered through his work as a man who cared enough for Camden to properly document them.
Eyewitness reporter Siafa Lewis reported this story.