Works from the ARTS By The People Founder and an Exploration of State History

Paul Rabinowitz PhotoThe Art & Design Gallery at County College of Morris (CCM) currently is hosting two exhibitions: “Retrospective with Reading Glasses” featuring the work of Paul Rabinowitz, founder of ARTS By The People, and the “Ties that Bind” a display detailing the history of race relations in Morris County and New Jersey.

“Retrospective with Reading Glasses” is a mixed media exhibition that uses a combination of photographs, videos and short poems by Rabinowitz to tell the story of an evolving artist. The exhibition is divided into multiple rooms, each one its own chapter of the artist’s progression, starting with more classical black and white photos and moving through to color photos. The pictures become grittier and more saturated as the artist finds his voice. The poetry that accompanies the photos tell a similar story, the speaker often addressing a familiar “you,” which can be interpreted by readers as themselves, the artist, the model in the photograph or even a loved one.

Reading glasses are an instrument that make clear what is already on the page; this carefully curated exhibit does the same, showing the story of growth, evolution and bravery apparent in Rabinowitz’s raw materials.

Rabinowitz is an author, photographer and founder of ARTS By The People, a non-profit arts organization based in Morristown. His photography, short fiction and poetry have appeared in many magazines and journals including New World Writing, Pif Magazine, Courtship of Winds, Burningword, Evening Street Press, The Montreal Review, The Metaworker, Adirondack Review, Bangalore Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Oddville Press and others.

Rabinowitz was a featured artist in Nailed Magazine in 2020, nominated for Best of the Net in 2021 for his Limited Light photo series, and also nominated for the Maria Mazziotti Gillan Literary Service Award. He is the author of “Limited Light,” a book of prose and portrait photography, and a novella, “The Clay Urn.”

”The Ties That Bind” exhibition, a joint project of Bethel Church in Morristown and CCM, details how New Jersey’s history includes enslavement of African Americans and the existence of free black communities. Black and white residents either helped each other or stood in the way of equality and equity for all. At times, the fate of the black and white communities was “tied” to each other. Visitors can explore how these ties existed and changed over time in Morris County and New Jersey and consider how those ties manifest now.

Both exhibitions run through November 18. The CCM gallery is located in the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center on CCM’s Randolph campus, 214 Center Grove Road. Gallery hours are Mondays and Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m., Friday’s noon to 4 p.m., and the first Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo by Paul Rabinowitz