It has been a struggle to start writing about artist Charles Gaines. "What else can I say about this living giant who continues to speak truth to power?" There already have been countless writings about him, his artwork, and his tireless efforts to question our society and our relationship within it. 

The lasting impression he left on the students at NJCU, where he received his BA in 1966 when he visited last year, gave us a new sense of urgency and hope to continue creating art that makes a difference.

As we continue to look for inspiration as activists and artists, we can not stop thinking about Gaines' use of art to understand our world. As the financial stress pushes the school to ponder over the sale of its Visual Art building built to house its art department among other things, it begs the question of value. What is the value of art and the people who make them? What is their purpose? Why do we need them?

Why do we choose or not choose art when faced with difficulties? 

Photo of Charles Gaines in the 1966 yearbook

His active time at NJCU described on p271:

Who's Who Among Students in American Universities 4; Jazz Band 1,2,3,4; Vice-Pres. 1,2; Student Council 1,2,3,4; Orchestra 1,2,3,4; Band 3,4; Art Association 3,4; Pres. 3; Finance Committee 3,4; FREE 1,2,3,4; Tower Players 4; Performing Arts 3; Tower 4




Charles Gaines, Sonia Mak, Rebeca Vega, Midori Yoshimoto, & Duquann Sweeney