Local Artists + 11 Cooper

At 11 Cooper, we believe that art is what connects a community and binds us together with something greater. Camden is rich with culture and hidden talent, and we feel a responsibility to show it off. Instead of hanging generic artwork on our walls and calling it decor, 11 Cooper is taking the opportunity to highlight the artists that make Camden a truly unique place to live. This is the talent that is bringing our community and our city to life..

Last Hit

Photographer: Javier Castro 

Javier Castro is an artist currently studying at Rutgers University-Camden as a business management major. His passions include music production, photography, and graphic design, with the hopes of one day becoming a music video director. He feels most at home when he has the chance to be creative and work on his art. Castro credits his family for shaping him into who he is as a person and an artist

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Miracle of Breath

Poet/Spoken Word: Ayinde Merrill

Ayinde Merrill was raised in the vibrant city of Camden, New Jersey, where he quickly fell in love with artistry. He graduated from Camden County College and from Rutgers University with honors and a degree in Africana Studies. In 2014, he founded Watu Moja, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building relationships and assisting in vital development efforts within the global Afrikan community. Watu Moja traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where they successfully coordinated the construction of the community’s first basketball court and water systems, sponsored microloans for women’s entrepreneurial efforts, and opened the Watu Moja Lee Academia for economically disadvantaged students. Merrill is an active member in the Philadelphia poetry scene and currently works as an organizer and host of black art and performance showcase events.

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Photographer: Jocelyn Cruz

Jocelyn Cruz is the main photographer at Joie Cruz Photography in Camden. Her childhood nickname was Joie – meaning joy – which she feels is an accurate reflection of who she is and what she loves to do. Her goal is to capture organic moments that reveal the joys in life – be it the giggles between parent and child or in the affectionate glances of loved ones. Cruz specializes in a clean organic style that takes place outdoors. Her images are a combination of posed and natural shots, capturing the heart of who her clients are and allowing them to shine through their images.

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My City, My Camden

Poet/Author: Sandra Turner-Barnes

Sandra Turner-Barnes is blessed to be a poet, author, and proud native of historical Lawnside and Camden, New Jersey, with African ancestry dating back to 1787. Sandra is extremely proud of her best-selling poetic and historic children’s book, “Beyond the Back of the Bus,” a tribute to Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement. Her most recent book of poetry, “But, Mostly Love,” was released by BTS Enterprises in 2011 and was nominated for the National Book Award that same year. Sandra currently hosts the literary and poetry series “A Place in Time" at the Camden County Historical Society on the third Thursday of each month.

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Flourish – Camden Daybreak
Artist: William Butler

William Butler is an established, nationally known artist living and working in Camden, New Jersey. He specializes in commissioned, live, and studio artwork that is embedded with luminous themes of inspiration and hope. In his 25 years of experience as an artist and a graphic designer, William was especially honored to have created a painting for former President Barack Obama, who signed the piece in commemoration of his visit to Camden.

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City of Wonders

Poet/Musician: Suzzette Ortiz

Suzzette Ortiz is an accomplished pianist, composer, arranger, recording artist, choral conductor, and music educator. With countless awards and commendations for empowering inner-city students through choral music, her work as a music teacher has been well recognized. Ortiz retired from full-time teaching after 32 years of service and continues to create social change through music as an advocate of music education in her community. She is currently the artistic director at Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos music school in Philadelphia and the choir director for the Jubilee singers a cappella vocal ensemble at St. John Baptist Church in Camden, New Jersey. She has arranged and composed choral music for Hal Leonard, GIA, Oregon Catholic Press, and World Library publications.

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Opera Comes to Camden

Poet/Author: Rocky Wilson

Rocky Wilson is a poet, performance artist, and teacher in Camden. He has a master’s degree in dance education from Temple University and has studied creative writing at both Penn State and Rutgers University. Wilson has written several chapbooks, but his first true book of poetry, “The Last Bus to Camden,” was published on February 13, 2016, the 188th birthday of Camden. In addition to writing poems and a children’s book, for the last 25 years he has hosted Pizza & Poetry at A Slice of New York in Camden. It is one of the longest-running poetry series in New Jersey.

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I Used to Hate Superman

Poet/Spoken Word: Reet Taylor

Poetry is not a literary medium Reet Taylor ever saw himself pursuing, but it is one he's found his way back to time and time again. Despite a fascination with wordplay from a young age and winning Pennsauken's poetry contest in high school, it was a period of soul searching after studying the arts at Rutgers University-Camden that rekindled the flame. Taylor's influences range from childhood favorite Dr. Seuss to idolized lyricists Lupe Fiasco and Substantial. Always striving to bend words in new ways to make powerful statements, his style is self-described as "finding truths sewn behind the rhymes."

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Photographer: Erik James Montgomery

Erik James Montgomery is a self-taught fine art photographer who creates relevant, thought-provoking, and visually unique imagery. He is the owner and instructor at EJM Photography in Southwest New Jersey. EJM Photography creates personalized portraits, inspirational images, and provides photographic coverage for special events and weddings. Erik has showcased his photography at various art galleries, colleges, and community events over the past 25 years.

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