At the Cherry Hill Public Library, we have various artworks on display for everyone to observe and appreciate.
The Library’s art collection, permanent and rotating, has become a popular feature and sets the Cherry Hill Public Library apart from other public buildings. The CHPL Art Gallery (located on the lower level) showcases artists from the amateur to those whose work is known worldwide. The gallery exhibit rotates monthly. In addition to the gallery, other art is displayed throughout the building and many pieces on long-term or permanent loan. If you are interested in featuring your art in the Library, please contact Valerie Carita at (856) 903-1205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Seward Johnson
The sculpture on the Library’s front lawn draws a lot of attention and double-takes because of its life-like qualities. “Sunday Morning” was created by artist, J. Seward Johnson in 1985. There have been two castings. “Sunday Morning I” was sold in 1989 to a private owner in Miami Beach, Florida and “Sunday Morning II” is part of the Cherry Hill Public Library’s permanent art collection.
“Sunday Morning” is entirely bronze. The realism of the textures and details is the hallmark of Seward Johnson’s art, and this detailing is achieved with hours of intense labor. Delicate textures, such as the skin, can be made more real with fabrics pressed into the clay at this stage. Sometimes articles of clothing are stiffened with a resin and used in the mold process, but there is no clothing on top of, or under the bronze, in the sculpture. It takes up to one year to create one sculpture.
Just before the new library opened in December 2004, the sculpture was installed on the front lawn. It was initially on temporary loan to the Library. However, we felt that the sculpture represented what the Cherry Hill Public Library is all about – people gathering to read, learn and relax and we knew that would be a beautiful addition to the Library’s state-of-the art facility.
In April 2006, the Friends of the Library launched a “Save the Sculpture” campaign with 18 months to raise the $57,500 needed to purchase the piece. The Friends made an initial donation of $10,000 and hosted several other fundraisers, but most of the money was donated by library patrons. By the end of January 2007, the Friends had raised enough money to purchase the piece. A dedication ceremony was held on April 15, 2007.
You can see more pictures of Sunday Morning in our Flickr album.
by David Ascalon
“Totem,” is an eight-foot tall, fabricated bronze sculpture on display in front of the Library. Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Library, “Totem” was purchased in the fall of 2009 and is now part of the Library’s permanent art collection.
David Ascalon is a contemporary sculptor and stained glass artist, and co-founder of Ascalon Studios, located in West Berlin, N.J.
You can see more pictures of Totem in our Flickr album.
by Karol Greene Baker
This brightly-colored, highly-detailed mural measures approximately 37-feet wide and 9-feet high and features classic Mother Goose characters, including favorites such as Humpty Dumpty, the Three Blind Mice and the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon. This year-long project, completed in 2008, started as a sketch and resulted in a one-of-a-kind treasure for generations of children and Library visitors to enjoy. Come view the mural in the Children’s Craft Room on the upper level of the library.
Artist Karol Greene Baker is a Cherry Hill native who specializes in oil painted caricatures and murals. Her dreamy, stylized illustrations, painted in rich, lush colors, bear a devotion to her craft and display a mischievous sense of humor. Baker donated her time and talent to create this treasured mural.
You can see more detailed pictures of the mural on our Flickr account.
Inspired by Valerie Porter
by David Ascalon
A sculpture in memory of a girl who loved to read has been removed from storage, reconfigured, and installed in front of the Cherry Hill Public Library. Sculptor David Ascalon’s handsome reinterpretation of the original piece commands a grassy spot overlooking Kings Highway. Inspired by a preliminary design by the late Stamatis “Nick” Burpulis, a member of Callaghan’s group, Ascalon took a piece that had consisted of a single 14-foot pillar and created a lighter, less imposing trio of poles. The original piece memorialized Valerie Porter, 13, who collapsed while dancing with a friend in the kitchen of her home in the Kingston section Feb. 11, 1966, and died from a neurological condition. Read this Philadelphia Inquirer article about the sculpture’s installation in 2016.