The all-star lineup of presenters includes Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Wendell Pritchett; Kaveeta Oda, 2013 Poetry Out Loud State Champion and a national finalist; Tyler Hoffman, chair of the Department of English at Rutgers–Camden; Mike Haeflinger, a part-time lecturer of creative writing at Rutgers–Camden, accompanied by a celloist, Rutgers–Camden student Tiara DeGuzman; John Pietrowski, artistic director for Playwrights Theater; and Kyle Jakubowski, a Rutgers–Camden alumnus and the RCCA storyteller-in-residence.Emceeing “Poe Out Loud,” in addition to performing several Poe poems, will be none other than Poe himself – or herself – as played by local actor Helen McKenna-Uff, a Rutgers–Camden alumna who has flown all over the country to perform as Poe for The Big Read events. McKenna-Uff is also a park ranger at the Poe House in Philadelphia.
Later that week, Fractured Mirror Productions will perform Shades of Poe on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 5:30 p.m., in the Black Box Theater in the Fine Arts Building, as part of Camden’s 3rd Thursday Art Crawl.
From October through mid-December, the RCCA is reveling in Poe’s haunting stories and poems as part of The Big Read celebration. The festivities include a full calendar of free events, including a lecture series, performances, exhibitions, and storytelling workshops.
The Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts (RCCA) will continue The Big Read celebration, with two concurrent, free exhibitions are running from Nov. 11 to Dec. 20 in the Stedman Gallery: “Dark Eye Glances: Romantic Impulse in Landscape” and “Poe in Popular Culture: Selections from The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe, Richmond, Va.” The gallery is closed Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Dark Eye Glances” features contemporary forms of landscape, with elements of romanticism, mystery, and imagination. The exhibition explores a strain of work that is nearly constant in American art since the emergence of the Hudson River School in the early 19th century. These contemporary artists draw their inspiration from both the land and the history of landscape art, both at home and abroad. The artists also bring a wide range of attitudes toward the ever-changing 21st-century landscape, expressed in unique conceptions and formal strategies.
Featured artists include painters Jake Berthot, Mark Green, Eric Holzman, John Lees, Brian Rutenberg, Rebecca Saylor Sack, Tom Uttech, and John Walker; photographers Donna Czapiga, and Norinne Betjmann; illustrator Christopher Hartshorne; and mixed-media artist Colleen McCubbin Stepanic.
The guest curators are Noreen Scott Garrity, who serves as associate director of education for the RCCA, and Bruce Garrity, who is a painter and independent curator, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts at Rutgers–Camden.
The curators will discuss the exhibit in a talk on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 12:15 p.m. in the gallery.
“Poe in Popular Culture” features a variety of fascinating artifacts from Poe’s life and works, including a portrait once owned by Elmira Royster Shelton, Poe’s longtime love interest who was engaged to him at the time of his death. Other items include illustrations, movie posters, etchings, publicity stills, and comic strips.
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest. The program is designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Camden is one of 77 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read from September 2013 through June 2014, and the only site in New Jersey this year. For more information about The Big Read, please visit NEABigRead.org.
The Stedman Gallery and the Walter K. Gordon Theater are located in the Fine Arts Complex, on Third Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden campus. For directions to Rutgers–Camden, visit camden.rutgers.edu/resources/getting-to-campus.
The gallery is closed Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
For more information on The Big Read events at Rutgers–Camden, or to have your own Edgar Allan Poe book group, call Noreen Scott Garrity at 856-225-6306. For a full listing of campus events, visit rcca.camden.rutgers.edu.