Black History Month Feature: Richmond Garrick

Richmond Garrick has seen the worst of people, but he believes the best of them.

Born in Sierra Leone, he was witness to the incredible violence of that nation’s Civil War.

“I’ve seen poverty and I’ve seen war,” he said. Richmond immigrated to the United States in 1991 and feels blessed.

“The opportunities we have here, we don’t have there,” he said. He graduated with high honors from Middlesex County College, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Montclair State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

He is a working artist and a teacher. He also lectures to various student and other groups, explaining the conditions in his homeland of Sierra Leone and the civil unrest that took place and how painting was a means to represent his dismay on canvas. His artwork is inspirational and he hopes to use it to bring awareness of his homeland to a wider audience.

He now teaches graphic design at the Williamstown High School in Monroe Township.

“You have to work hard,” he tells his students. “You should not always try to meet expectations – you should try to surpass them. You should never quit in life.” Role models who have inspired him include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The 2011 MCC Alumnus of the Year, Richmond also has won Lajos Markos Art Foundation Scholarship for representational art, the Dean John I. Bettenbender Memorial Performance Award, which honors artists for outstanding graduate artistic achievement, and the Montclair State University School of the Arts Advisory Board Talent Award.

Last year, the embassy of his native country presented him with the Sierra Leone@50 Cultural Award, an honor that marked the 50th year of independence of that nation.

Richmond has presented numerous art exhibits in the New York-New Jersey area and in the United Kingdom and has appeared in various publications including the Star Ledger, the Philadelphia Tribune, and the alumni magazines of Middlesex County College and Rutgers University.


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