Colleen GutweinResearcher-in-Residence, Express NewarkArtist In Residence, Shine Portrait Studio
Colleen Gutwein O’Neal is a photographer, curator, and educator from the Northeastern United States. O’Neal’s work explores the human experience through personal engagement, using photography to build lasting relationships within her community. Her seminal work, The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project, pays tribute to and immortalizes through photographs, ninety-plus artists within the Newark arts community from 2013 – 2018. The project acknowledges the industrial and photographic history of Newark by incorporating the use of Jem Jr. film cameras manufactured in the city in the 1940s, resulting in ethereal portraits of the artists and ever-changing landscape of the city they inhabit. The project has been supported through grants from the Puffin Foundation, 2013, Newark Arts, 2018, crowdfunding, and a mural commission by Four Corners Public Art in the phase two initiative “Community Building Through Public Art.” Naturally extending from her photographic work, O’Neal curates contemporary art exhibitions inspired by the artists she has worked with. Her collaborative curatorial approach promotes a collective exploration of socially conscious themes and creates access to, and space for, conceptual and experimental art works. Exhibiting her own work regularly since 2004, O’Neal has been included in Hycide and Nowhere magazines, as well as the permanent collection in the Newark Public Library. Her book, The Camera I Always Wanted, part of the Plume House of Prayer series published by Shine Portrait Studio Press in 2019, is included in the permanent collection at the Thomas J. Watson Library – Metropolitan Museum of Art. O’Neal is currently an adjunct professor of photography, studio art, and contemporary art in the Arts, Culture, and Media department at Rutgers University Newark. She has been a volunteer at Index Art Center, a nonprofit gallery in downtown Newark, since 2006, a community partner at Shine Portrait Studio in Express Newark since 2017, and a committee member of EcoArt Salon, an initiative of the Price Institute of Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers Newark, since 2020. She is currently earning her master’s degree in American Studies, Public Humanities track, at Rutgers University, Newark. O’Neal is seeking to continue to the PhD program in American Studies at Rutgers and is currently in the ideation and planning phases of her prospective project, The Newark Ghost Map, chronicling arts culture, and mapping artists’ spaces that are no longer visible or physically accessible, but still discoverable through adaptive archiving and mapping strategies.