NEW BERN – Craven Community College (Craven CC) recently collaborated with the African American Heritage & Culture (AAHC) Center and the Craven Arts Council & Gallery (CACG) to display a unique piece of artwork. The painting, “Chesapeake Bay Shad Fishers and Catch,” was installed in the college’s Godwin Memorial Library on April 7.
Artist Edna Stewart crafted the painting in 2020. The historically significant image depicts the everyday lives of coastal fishermen with a focus on the women who were integral to this industry. The setting represents coastal fisheries and the people who lived in towns along the shore, including Eastern North Carolina.
While it was on display at the Bank of the Arts, AAHC Executive Director Carrie Gallagher and CACG Board of Directors member Chris McCrudden were first captured and inspired by the painting. Chris and Judy McCrudden purchased the piece and donated it to AAHC with the agreement that it would be on display and available for public viewing until AAHC has a permanent home.
“AAHC is delighted to have received a donation of a piece of original art,” said AAHC Board President Carol Becton. “Our donors wish that the piece have a temporary public exhibit as AAHC searches for its permanent home. AAHC’s ongoing relationship with Craven Community College supported the exhibition of this remarkable piece of art at the college with opportunity for public access.”
AAHC was previously located at the New Bern Arts & Wellness Center on Broad Street, where they exhibited art, conducted seminars and hosted presentations. They have transformed into a virtual organization while utilizing partner locations throughout the community. The CACG generously held the painting and kept it safe until its installation at the college.
Prior to the painting’s trip to the college library on April 7, CACG Board President Linda MacDonald and Director Jonathan Burger met with the artist Edna Stewart, AAHC board members and the McCruddens at the Bank of the Arts. Guests present at the installation in the Godwin Memorial Library included Craven CC President Dr. Ray Staats, Gallagher, Stewart, the McCruddens, Becton and other AAHC board members.
“On behalf of the college, we are honored to have this beautiful work of art displayed on our campus,” said Staats. “I have no doubt the students and community visitors who frequent our library will be inspired by the history, culture and artistic style it reflects.”
The ongoing agreement between Craven CC and AAHC will allow the painting to be on display and available to the public during the Godwin Memorial Library business hours: Monday-Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The library is located on the second floor of Barker Hall on the college’s New Bern campus.