Sadly, as with most in-person events, the 2020Encore Awards were canceled this year. That doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate the Cultural Champions selected for the 2020 event!


Lillian Levy Standing Ovation Award:  Kimberly Camp


Kimberly Camp

Each year, for twenty-five years, the Lillian Levy Standing Ovation Award, SJCA’s highest honor, is presented to an individual or organization that has significantly contributed to the promotion of the arts, history, and culture in the region.  Lillian Levy, the first Standing Ovation Award winner in 1996, was first an artist and musician who used her advocacy skills to Chair the NJ State Council on the Arts.  Past Standing Ovation award winners, all nominated by SJCA Board members, included past governors, legislators, funders, State Arts Council Chairs and senior staff, and college presidents.

Kimberly Camp, a native of Camden, has pursued a dual career as an artist and administrator who puts her ideas about the role art plays in democracy, social equity, and diversity into practice.  Through her distinguished career that has spanned almost 40 years, she has given generously to her hometown of Camden and the entire region.  She has been a leader and changemaker all along the way.

As an artist, she has had over 100 solo shows and group exhibitions throughout the U.S.  Her paintings and dolls have been shown at institutions such as American Craft Museum, Smithsonian Institution, International Sculpture Center.   She has also served internationally as a panelist and a speaker including the National Black Arts Festival, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Acheson Wallace Reader’s Digest Foundation, and the state arts councils of Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and New Jersey.  Her paintings and dolls are in the collections of Anne Wollman, Faith Ringgold, Judith Jamison, the Reader’s Digest Foundation, Manchester Craftsman’s Guild, and the J.B.l Speed Art Museum.  Additionally, Ms. Camp was featured in Essence, Nouvel Objet, the New York Times, FiberArts, National Geographic World, the Village Voice, and Smithsonian.  She has received numerous awards for her works.

On the administrative side, Ms. Camp worked as a museum administrator at the Smithsonian, the Charles Wright Museum of African History, and was the first President and CEO of the Barnes Foundation.  Currently, she is Chair of the Board of SJCA Member, Camden Fireworks; owns a gallery in Collingswood – Galerie Marie; and is curating the A New View, a public art project funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies for the city of Camden.

Ms. Camp graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Studio Arts and Art History.  She received her Master of Science degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University.


Two new awards, the Artist Activist Award and Cultural Innovation Award, were also planned for 2020 highlighting both the activism and innovation of South Jersey’s Cultural Champions.


Artist Activist Award:  J. Kenneth Leap


Kenneth Leap, “Ken’s Brain”

SJCA has promoted the public value of the arts in education, tourism, economic and community development, and health and wellness for over 25 years.  We believe artists transform the communities where they live and/or work by offering creative solutions to community challenges.  This new award honors the hard work, creativity, and community engagement that artists contribute naturally to their communities.

Artists can provide us with new perspectives and inspire us to think in new ways to envision our world. Art can stimulate a feeling, move us emotionally, or alter or shift our perception.  An artist-activist can use the process of planning and creating art to engage diverse representatives from the community, where all voices are heard, to accomplish a common goal.   An artist-activist uses art as a tool for community economic or community development.

One such artist is J. Kenneth J. Leap.  J. Kenneth Leap is primarily recognized for his achievements in the field of architectural stained glass. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, his career was launched when he received a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and shortly thereafter created a stained glass skylight illustrating the history of New Jersey for the Annex of the State House in Trenton. Working in a tradition that dates to the cathedrals of medieval Europe, Leap creates his panels by hand-painting colored pieces of glass with vitreous pigments. These pigments are fused to the glass by firing in a kiln before being assembled into stained glass panels using strips of lead.  Leap has created public artwork in 16 out of NJ’s 21 counties, much of it with the NJ Transit Authority.  He created a stained-glass dome depicting the history of Atlantic City in Boardwalk Hall.  He has been an artist in residence for over 25 years at Wheaton Arts in Millville.  He is also an instructor in Stained Glass and Design, the only program in the country, at Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania. Articles about his work have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, Architecture of New Jersey, Professional Stained Glass Magazine, and Stained Glass Quarterly.

In 2018, Mr. Leap signed up for SJCA’s Artist as Entrepreneur Program which inspired him to connect more deeply with the town where his family had strong roots, Runnemede.  He purchased a building on Main Street for his studio and opened it to the public.  He created Re-imagine Runnemede to revitalize the business section of town.  He joined the municipal planning board and engaged local leaders and creatives in Reimagine Runnemede.  He convinced the mayor, who admitted, “the arts don’t do anything for me,” to, “the arts are a catalyst for change!”

The newly engaged group prepared a proposal for SJCA’s ArtsTank to compete for the $5,000 prize.  They walked away from the competition with a $1,000 grant they used to create the first community mural they hope to be one of many.  At the competition, Mr. Leap created a painting in three minutes and lit the canvas on fire to communicate to the sharks of ArtsTank that he wanted to ignite the revitalization of Runnemede.  Mr. Leap as also recently become a Commissioner at the Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission.  Mr. Leap changes every community he’s involved in for the better as a change agent.  We are proud to honor an artist of this caliber who gives so generously of his time.



Historic Cold Spring Village Brewery

Cultural Innovation Award:  Historic Coldspring Village Brewery

The Cultural Innovation Award ……


Historic Cold Spring Village (HCSV) was selected for this award for the success of its innovative brewery.  Faced with the loss of county funding, HCSV board decided to deal with this challenge with an extraordinary idea – a historic brewery with period-correct brews on tap. Brilliant! Innovative solutions to the challenges of cultural leaders should be celebrated, especially ones that will, “stabilize the museum for future generations to enjoy.”