Craven Community College has collaborated with the African American Heritage & Culture Center and the Craven Arts Council & Gallery to display an original piece of artwork, a painting called “Chesapeake Bay Shad Fishers and Catch” that 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 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.
Craven Community College recently collaborated with the African American Heritage & Culture Center and the Craven Arts Council & Gallery to display a painting, “Chesapeake Bay Shad Fishers and Catch,” which was installed in the college’s Godwin Memorial Library on April 7. Pictured left to right are: AAHC and Craven CC Foundation board member Brenda George, AAHC Board President and Craven CC Foundation Board Member Carol Becton, Craven CC Foundation Board Emeritus and CACG Board President Linda MacDonald, AAHC Board of Advisors Member Bernard George, Craven CC President Dr. Ray Staats, CACG Board Member Chris McCrudden, Judy McCrudden, Artist Edna Stewart, Mike Stewart, Craven CC Director of Library Services Wendy White, and AAHC Executive Director Carrie Gallagher. (Photo credit: Norman J. McCullough)
Artist Edna Stewart has exhibited her artwork at the Bank of the Arts in New Bern, the SCHWA Nationally Juried Exhibition in Greenville, the African American Heritage Show in Jacksonville and in a New Bern exhibition, “Safe from the Storm: Memories of Florence.” She is located in Hubert, NC at Hey Girl Productions & Storyboard Creations.
African American Heritage & Culture Center
In early 2018, a small group of community leaders gathered to begin conversations about African American heritage and culture in our region. They were a cross-section of educators, nonprofit organization leaders, community residents, elected officials, religious leaders, long-time New Bern residents and individuals relatively new to the region. Their passion and resolve led to the formation of this 501C3 nonprofit organization. The AAHC mission is “to actively present the historic impact and progression of African American heritage and culture in our region.”
Craven Arts Council & Gallery
Craven Arts Council & Gallery is the designated county partner of the North Carolina Arts Council and is a registered 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote the arts and cultural experience in Craven County. Find out more at www.cravenarts.org.
Craven Community College
Founded in 1965, Craven Community College (Craven CC) is part of the North Carolina Community College System. With campuses in New Bern and Havelock-Cherry Point, Craven CC serves about 3,200 curriculum students and more than 10,000 continuing education students each year. The college offers a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, as well as college transfer courses, career and occupational offerings, partnerships with four-year universities, specialized workforce training options, developmental studies and basic skills classes. The Lifetime Learning Center and Adult Enrichment Program offer lifelong learning opportunities. Craven Early College High School programs are available on both campuses. Craven CC is also home to Public Radio East, one of the few community colleges nationally with this distinction. For more information about the college, visit www.cravencc.edu.