To extend our community outreach, the library partners with the many municipal, non-profit, and business organizations that make Princeton such an extraordinary town. This month, we spoke with Mary Waltham and Mik Bökelmann of the Princeton Artist Directory (PAD).
Janie Hermann, manager of adult programming at the library, recounts that in the early days of the pandemic the library had just completed the installation of an exhibit called “Wetland to Woodland” featuring the works of Mary Waltham and Susan Hoenig. The opening of the exhibit was delayed and the planned in-person art talk was delivered instead via video, but it was through this exhibit that a new library partnership with the Princeton Artist Directory took root and started to grow.
How long has the Princeton Artist Directory (PAD) been in Princeton?
PAD was founded in early 2020 by three Princeton-based artists and long-term residents, Mic Diño Boekelmann, Karen Stolper and Mary Waltham.
PAD is a free online directory of visual artists, musicians, writers and performance artists living in Princeton.
What is your primary area of focus?
The Princeton Artist Directory was established to strengthen our community by providing the opportunity for all Princeton artists living in zip codes 08540 and 08542 to connect, to raise awareness and to encourage collaborations within the group, and between PAD artists and the Princeton community. The online artist directory now lists over 60 professionally active artists – that is, visual artists, musicians, writers and performance artists all based in Princeton. Joining and membership in PAD are free.
How does your mission align with the library’s?
PAD is all about community and collaboration and that is a sturdy and firm alignment to PPL.
The pandemic limited our ability to meet other PAD members in person, but in May, 2021, the library hosted our first-of-a-kind “Art on the Plaza” event on Hinds Plaza. The event reflected the synergy that exists between PPL and PAD who each work to benefit the Princeton community. It was most successful on many fronts and we hope to repeat it when conditions permit.
With whom do you work most in the community?
We work with the community. At present we are working as small groups of members on various projects including a much-followed lively Instagram account (@princetonartistdirectory) that features PAD artists’ work, exhibitions, performances and recitals, and relevant calls for art. All of our activities are organized by our PAD members; we believe in giving artists agency.
In January, our next initiative, Flight Path Community Project will be exhibited on the First Floor of PPL. The work is a collaborative piece that addresses concerns over falling numbers of pollinators in our fields and gardens, using visual media and written word. Flight Path from PAD Princeton is an international initiative between PAD members, and the Xerces society for invertebrate conservation. It is inspired by Louisa Crispin, an artist based in England. All the PAD work exhibited at PPL will be sent to England for further exhibition after the installation at the library.
As we are able to develop more events, we are striving to connect to local businesses and venues.
What is something that you do that people might not know about?
We are registered as a New Jersey non-profit corporation. That may sound dull but expresses our intention to expand and develop the dynamic opportunity we have found exists here in Princeton.
Is there any project or event that you are particularly excited about at the moment?
Our artists have already been showing their work at the library and we hope to continue to strengthen that connection between the library and many more of our artists in the future. One of our members, Karen Stolper, will be exhibiting at the library in 2022.
Written in collaboration with the library Adult Programming Manager, Janie Hermann.
Photo Credit: Janie Hermann
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