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Rutgers Community Art Contest

Rutgers – Our Beloved Community

We invited community artists to share with us how they have been inspired by our Beloved Rutgers community in the past year. Below are stories and reflections submitted, with the community selected favorites on top.


Top 3 Community Chosen Favorites


rutgers community art


#1 - We R The People

Artist: Lynell James

No matter who we are, no matter where we stand, we are all interconnected and we all bleed scarlet.





rutgers community art


#2 - A Place For Everyone

Artist: Malembe Dumont Copero

We should seek social justice to create a beloved community, putting diversity, belonging, and inclusion at the center. While there is still work to do, Rutgers has demonstrated to be a community where everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, place of origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, etc. has a place. The painting represents a person from our beloved community.



rutgers community art


#3 - Watershed Moment

Artist: Jose A. Ebanks

In August of 2019, I was in a bad car accident which occurred 3 months after spine surgery from a previous accident in which I was a pedestrian. I was 6 months from completing my Doctor of Ministry from NBTS. I was in a dark place and very depressed. I had additional spine surgery which left me disabled. My wife and some encouraged me to return to painting again. A friend of mine Judy Soto told me about this contest. It has been a watershed moment these couple of years.


Additional Inspirational Entries


rutgers community art


Essential Puzzle Pieces

Artist: Emily Ijalana

RU pulling together the puzzle pieces of recovery, with support of essential workers.



rutgers community art



Artist: Earnest Wiggins

I was inspired to paint this piece because of the support that I felt from the entire Rutgers University community over the past year. In my painting, each of the campus mascots surround the Rutgers University R. There are three campuses, but in the end we “R UKNIGHITED.”



rutgers community art


Rutgers For The World

Artist: Craigwood Phillips

My piece has the image of an indigenous person with headdress imposed on the Rutgers “R”. Some would think that this person would have little to offer academically, and their efforts would be met with failure. However, this University, founded in 1766 has been a diverse place of learning since the beginning. From Kusakabe Taro to James Dickson Carr and the founding of New Jersey College for Women, Rutgers has invited all who wish to learn and achieve. So my indigenous person represents the world and with the “R” of Rutgers they become part of an institution and stand out.



rutgers community art


Slam Dunk

Artist: Kathy Dowden

I was never a basketball fan, but one game at the RAC in 2019 changed all that. I was hooked and now never miss a game. I was so proud of this year’s team breaking the 31 NCAA tournament drought. I can’t wait to once again sit in the Trapezoid of Terror for the 2021-22 season.




rutgers community art


What Did Fred See

Artist: Geralyn Colvil

With his roots firmly planted in Lenape soil, standing across from Will’s Way, providing shelter and shade for countless generations, what did Fred see?



We thank all the artists for sharing their stories and artwork, and the Rutgers community for voting for their favorite.

Each piece is now on display in our lobby. We encourage you to stop in to view each piece personally.