American and Asian; mostly straight, several gay.
About two years ago, painter William
Butler gifted us with that most coveted
signpost of fledgling urban renewal: He
opened a studio and gallery in an antique
firehouse. He also launched a robust Third
Thursday art crawl that brings in subur-
banites who, like Bittner’s visitors, invari-
ably exclaim, “Wow, this is Camden?”
Yes, this is Camden, or at least a tiny
pocket of it.
True, poverty and gun violence plague
most of Camden (population: 77,344). It
remains, per capita, the country’s poorest
and most crime-ridden city. But inside our
Bittner, a manager for a financial counseling nonprofit,
moved from Philadelphia and
now admires its skyline during
daily walks along the river.
“Some of my favorite moments are
when I have family and friends
over for the first time.”