MCCC to Enrich Arts Scene with Opening of Gallery at Trenton Campus; Works by Alumnus CJ Harker Featured in Inaugural Show February 9 to March 9
Sasha by CJ Harker
The Blacksmith Shop of Trenton, a closeup by CJ Harker
Tool of the Trade by CJ Harker.
Trenton, N.J. – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) begins a new chapter in the arts at its Trenton campus. The college announces the opening of The Gallery at the James Kerney Campus (JKC), located in the Trenton Hall Annex at 137 North Broad Street across from the James Kerney Building.
The inaugural show is “Trenton Blacksmiths” by photographer CJ Harker, opening Thursday, Feb. 9 and running through Thursday, March 9. An Artists Talk and Gallery Reception will take place on Wednesday, March 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours for the show are Monday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon, and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.
In “Trenton Blacksmiths,” Harker focuses his lens on the nearly 200-year-old Trenton Blacksmith shop. “Many souls have called that building home in one sense or another. Countless stories can be traced through the many corners of the shop or found caught up in the dust and cobwebs,” Harker said.
The shop's current master blacksmith is Alex "Sasha" Parubchenko, the last full-time blacksmith in New Jersey. Harker calls him a remarkable individual with an abundance of character. “Sasha has kept an amazing piece of history living and breathing year after year since 1971. He is always ready with a warm greeting and a willingness to tell his own tales fueled by a full life. He eagerly passes his many years of knowledge and experience along to his students,” Harker said, adding that his pupils are a diverse group of area residents of all ages, including a Trenton school teacher/bladesmith and a neighborhood youth who has been a journeyman blacksmith under Sasha since the age of 10.
According to Gallery Director Michael Chovan-Dalton, who coordinates the Photography and Digital Imaging programs at MCCC, this new exhibit space will be dedicated primarily to photography and lens-based art. “It will feature artists and shows that explore the breadth of what is happening in the photography art world today,” he said.
Harker is an award winning and internationally published photographer from Trenton, NJ, who currently resides in Philadelphia. He studied photography and digital imaging at MCCC before transferring to The University of The Arts (UArts), where he earned his BFA in photography. He is currently a teaching assistant and resident artist at UArts.
Harker works with a combination of digital and analog methods. While his editorial work is generally made using contemporary digital tools, the majority of his personal work features an overlap with historic and alternative photographic methods including traditional film processing, scanning and darkroom practices. He traces his early photographic inspiration to skateboarding. “Skateboarding not only reinforced an ‘anything-goes,’ DIY mentality, but also nurtured my ingenuity and creative output,” he said.
Gallery at James Kerney Campus
Directions to the James Kerney Campus
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