ATLANTIC CITY — Ralph E. Hunter Sr. spends his hectic days dealing with people and making sure the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey locations here and in Newtonville keep operating.

In Hunter’s spare time, he likes to hang out in his “happy place,” his living room, with its walls covered in art and photographs.

“I love art. Art has been a part of my life since I was a child. Having the opportunity to have my art around me when I come home after a long day’s work at the museum, it’s really, really peaceful,” said Hunter, the museum’s founder and president.

Photos of Hunter’s parents and grandparents hang on his walls along with art created by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Hunter’s walls contain works ranging from artists based in the resort and in the Villas to Richmond Garrick, an award-winning professional artist born in Sierra Leone on the continent of Africa.

A statue of the Godfather of Soul, the late James Brown, sits on a table. It can dance, but it needs new batteries in order to move.

Artistic renderings of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ramona Africa, the only adult survivor of the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia, can be seen on Hunter’s walls.

One abstract piece has the outline of 23 different bodies buried within it that has to viewed from different angles for all of them to be seen.

“I have the opportunity to sit and look at things and try to figure them out,” said Hunter, 81, who added he mostly has prints and a couple of original pieces of art hanging on his living room walls. “Here is just a collection of things I found personal for me, that I could identify with.”

Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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