Updated: Apr 10
Edna Stewart's "Chesapeake Bay Shad Fishers & Catch" Installed at Godwin Library/Craven Community College
The African American Heritage & Culture (AAHC) Center, Craven Arts Council & Gallery (CACG) and Craven Community College collaborated to display a unique piece of artwork. The painting, "Chesapeake Bay Shad Fishers and Catch" by artist Edna Stewart 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. Then enslaved men and women labored in this industry along the coastline and their impact was noted in contemporary news, wills and estate records, ledgers, and court documents. 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, CACG Board Member Chris McCrudden was first captured and inspired by the painting. Chris and Judy McCrudden purchased the piece and donated it to AAHC with the agreement that a place for its temporary display for public viewing would be found until AAHC has a permanent home.
"AAHC is delighted to have received a donation of this 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 Godwin Library on the college's New Bern campus 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. AAHC 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.
On April 7, ACG President Linda MacDonald and Director Jon Burger hosted the artist Edna Stewart, Mike Stewart, AAHC leaders Carol Bonner Becton, Mike Williams, Brenda Carter George, Bernard George and Executive Director Carrie Gallagher with donors Chris and Judy McCrudden. The artwork and guests then traveled to Craven Community College for the installation.
Guests present at the installation in the Godwin Memorial Library included Craven CC President Dr. Ray Staats, AAHC Leadership, Chris and Judy McCrudden, artist Edna Stewart and Mike Stewart. "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.