in the news

Rhinold Ponder work joins Princeton University art campus collection in an exhibition designed to provide a “enlivening and very fresh” artistic experience reflective of the increasingly diverse community.

Princeton Alumni Weekly Article


Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artistson view at the Arts Council of Princeton Oct. 14 – Dec. 3, is celebrating the intertwined lives and stories of James Wilson Edwards, Rex Goreleigh, Hughie Lee-SmithSelma Hortense Burke, and Wendell T. Brooks. The exhibition kicks off with a panel discussion, “Art Collecting as an Act of Love,” Oct. 14 from 4-5 p.m., featuring the lenders to the exhibition and moderated by curators Judith K. Brodsky and Rhinold Ponder.

Nothing fuels life like considerations of mortality. A grown man, I laid curled up next to my ailing mother in her small bed. From her cramped bedroom, once maid quarters, I could see the stove, several feet away, where mom had once again repeated her words and lost her sense of time and place. By the time she died of cancer in 2002, I had realized I needed to return to my childhood passion, one that she supported and encouraged unwaveringly—art.

Art Matters by Rhinold Lamar Ponder, Class of 1981 Founder, Art Against Racism

New Jersey Stage

In his 62 years, there’s not much Rhinold Ponder hasn’t accomplished.

He’s been an attorney, a writer, an activist and curator; he’s started nonprofits (Art Against Racism) and rescued others (New Brunswick’s Crossroads Theatre, where he served as board president for 10 years). He has a plethora of degrees — after studying political science at Princeton University, he went on to get two master’s, one in journalism and the other in African-American history, before completing his juris law degree. Married to one-time Princeton Township Mayor Michele Tuck-Ponder, Rhinold has co-parented two young adults, one of whom recently became on-air journalist for CBS Chicago, and one is still in high school.

When Monica D. Brown, ARK writer, introduced Rhinold Ponder — Chicago born attorney, advocate and fine artist — to leading Tanzanian sculptor, Mwandale ‘Big Mama’ Mwyanyekwa, the result was a unique African American encounter in Kigamboni, Tanzania.

In an interview with ARK founder, Asteria Malinzi, along with Rhinold Ponder and Mwandale Mwyanyekwa, we explored this African American artistic collaboration.

by Monica D. Brown

I have a dream – certainly no comparison to the enormity of a Martin Luther King, Jr., dream, but nevertheless a dream related to Dr. King’s mission and the passion of a Princeton artist, lawyer, and social justice activist Rhinold Ponder.

My dream is to utilize the now sadly underutilized space of Dohm Alley, the alleyway between Starbucks and Landau’s on Nassau Street, to promote the just launched Art Against Racism: Memorial. Monument. Movement project, a virtual interactive video exhibition. Organized by a New Jersey-based coalition of artists, educators, writers, curators, attorneys, journalists, and activists of diverse race backgrounds, the project will document and exhibit the outpouring of artwork protesting Black lives . . . .

The late Princeton artist James Wilson Edwards (1925–1991) is the key subject of the current exhibition at the Arts Council of Princeton that draws attention to the artist and a circle of accomplished Black artists working in the Greater Princeton region.

In addition to Edwards, the circle included Rex Goreleigh, artist and founder of the influential Studio-on-the-Canal; Hughie Lee-Smith, a nationally known painter; Selma Hortense Burke, a nationally known sculptor; and Wendell T. Brooks, a noted painter and The College of New Jersey professor.

Off the Presses Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards

Hartford Courant

Rhinold Ponder, an African-American artist, has hated “the n-word” his whole life. So it may seem strange that his recent series of artworks – on exhibit at Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven, with an opening reception Feb. 21 – are filled with repeated usages of that hateful word: painted, collaged, prettified into multicolored logos.

Ponder uses the word to drive home a point about racism and semantics.

Artist Rhinold Ponder’s exhibit, “The Rise and Fail of the N Word,” begins with a cracked mirror, because it’s up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions about racism after viewing the powerful 33-piece display in which the full word is prominent.

New Haven Register N-Word Article

Princeton Health Accreditation Board

The Municipality of Princeton found a fun way to get out information about the COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic by utilizing the power of art. In partnership with Arts Council of Princeton, the Municipality of Princeton launched The Vaccine Public Arts Campaign, a creative initiative that commissioned four local artists to create visuals accompanied by taglines stating facts and information about the vaccine. The visuals featured local residents and public figures and aimed to represent the diverse communities of Princeton.

The artists selected were Veronica Foreman, Claudia Orostizaga, Art Studio by MB, and Rhinold Ponder. Around 35 artists submitted work.

Art has the power to impact society via sculpture, painting, music, spoken word and other art forms.

Can art change the way we see race, observe ourselves in a society that struggles with color, ethnicity, religion and gender concerns?

The inaugural “Art Against Racism” event, planned for Sept. 20-30 aims to engage myriad topics hoping that discussion can cultivate healthy attitudes regarding diversity.

The multi-faceted program will offer diverse and innovative ways to spark conversation (#sparktheconvo)including juried art exhibits & artists’ talks, faith community conversations, theatrical and literary performances, and a drag show.

‘Art Against Racism’ offers safe platform for open-discussion about myriad issues (L.A. PARKER COLUMN)

Princeton UMC Blog

Princeton UMC gave strong support to the first Art Against Racism project, founded by Rhinold Ponder and aided by the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice and Not in Our Town Princeton. Princeton UMC members hosted the intercongregational breakfast on Sunday, staged the reparations talk by Not in Our Town Princeton’s spokesperson Caroline Clarke, and opened the doors to the exhibit for 11 days. A member of PUMC bought one of the paintings, “Girl in Prayer,” and donated it to the church.

The opening paragraph of Randall Kennedy’s New York Times op-ed Thursday sparked a memory for me. Kennedy focuses on a 27-year-old death sentence that has been tainted by overt racism. I oppose capital punishment and am willing to endorse any efforts to prevent executions. The death penalty is immoral, an acceptance of state violence that only further contributes to the growing violence of our society. It codifies revenge, rather than justice, and is racist in its application.

The Persistence of Racial Hierarchy and Why It Matters