Colleen Gutwein O’Neal
b.1981 New Jersey

Colleen Gutwein O’Neal is a photographer, curator, and educator from the Northeastern United States. O’Neal’s work explores the human experience through community engagement, using photography as a tool to build lasting relationships with the artists she works with. Her most current body of work, The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project pays tribute to and immortalizes through photographs, ninety-plus artists within the Newark arts community. The project acknowledges the industrial and photographic history of Newark by incorporating the use of Jem Jr. film cameras manufactured in the city in the 1940s, resulting in ethereal portraits of the artists and ever-changing landscape of the city they inhabit. Digital portraits of each artist are publicly accessible on the project’s website.

A natural extension to her photographic work, O’Neal has been curating contemporary art exhibitions inspired by the artists and environments she works with since 2013. Her collaborative curatorial approach with artists promotes collective exploration of socially conscious themes while creating access to, and space for, conceptual and experimental art works. She worked as gallery director and chief curator at Brick + Mortar Gallery in Easton Pennsylvania in 2019 until forced closure due to Covid-19.

Exhibiting her own work regularly since 2004, O’Neal has been included in Hycide and Nowhere magazines, as well as A Dedication to Memory, Volume I, published by Newark Arts 2018. Her book, The Camera I Always Wanted, part of the Plume House of Prayer series, Shine Portrait Studio Press, 2019, is included in the permanent collections of the Thomas J. Watson Library – Metropolitan Museum of Art and Newark Public Library. O’Neal was an adjunct teaching digital and darkroom photography, studio workshop, and seminar in contemporary art at Rutgers University Newark and Brookdale Community College from 2018 – 2022. She has been a volunteer at Newark local nonprofit gallery, Index Art Center, since 2006, a community partner at Shine Portrait Studio part of Express Newark since 2017, and a committee member of EcoArt Salon, an initiative of the Price Institute of Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers Newark, since 2020. She is currently earning a PhD in American Studies at Rutgers University, Newark.


Rutgers University Newark, American Studies, PhD, expected completion 2025
Rutgers University Newark, American Studies, M.A., 2022
Montclair State University, Fine Arts, B.A., 2005

Express Newark, Researcher-in-Residence, 2021 – 2022

Select Solo & Two-Person Exhibitions

2019 #miniretro, Art & Artifacts of Newark, Newark NJ, 2019

2018 Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project: We Are the Ghosts of our Future, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2012 Time and Tide: Selected Works from Cambodia Tyson Gallery, Portland, OR

2012 Time and Tide: Selected Works from Cambodia Ivanhoe Wheelhouse Museum, Paterson, NJ

2011 KUMAGUTZ Index Art Center, two-person exhibition with Hiroshi Kumagai, Newark, NJ

2010 Time and Tide: A Social Documentary of Contemporary Cambodia Paul Vincent Gallery, Hoboken NJ

2018 Gossamer Balance Salon Gallery, Jersey City, NJ

2004 Thesis Exhibition Gallery 3.5, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

Select Group Exhibitions

2021 Welcome Back to the World, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2020 Fifty Years of Inspiration and Impact: The Photographic Legacy of Klaus Schnitzer and His Students, George Segal Gallery, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 

2019 Plume House Series: The Camera I Always Wanted, Shine Portrait Studio, Express Newark, Newark NJ ongoing

2019 INDEX, NYFA Immigrant Artist Showcase, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2017 Intersection 2017, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2017 ArtReach XXV City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ

2017 The 5 Wards, Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ

2017 Women in the World New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ

2016 The 5 Wards, City Without Walls, Newark, NJ

2016 Intersection 2016, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2016 Newark Arts Photo Documentary: Selected Color Prints, Market Street Convergence II, Gallery Aferro & Newark Arts Council, Newark, NJ

2016 Queen of Angels: When a Church Dies, Newark 350 Celebration, Newark NJ

2016 Like Jazz…A Visual Perspective New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ

2015 #SeeingNewark Post Pocket Utopia, Gateway Center, Newark , NJ

2015 Emerging Ideas Newark Arts Council, Newark, NJ

2014 Everything Like This Javier Santiago Studio, Montclair, NJ

2014 New Digs Index Art Center, Newark NJ

2014 ArtReach XXII City Without Walls Gallery, Newark NJ

2014 Women in the Arts Newark Arts Council at the Newark Museum, Newark NJ

2013 Intersection Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2013 Labor of Love  _Gaia Gallery, Jersey City, NJ 

2013 ArtReach XXI City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ

2013 Printed in Newark The Gateway Project, Newark, NJ 

2013 Single Fare 3 RH Gallery, New York City, NY

2012 Nature Illuminated Van Vleck House & Garden, Montclair, NJ

2012 Transformations Index Art Center, Oculus Art Collaborative, and Newark Arts Council, Kislak Building, Newark, NJ 

2012 Index Goes to P-Town Index Art Center in Paterson, NJ 

2010 3 Photographers The Kedar Studio of Art, Newark, NJ

2010 Exposure: Select Photographic Works Paul Vincent Gallery Hoboken, NJ

2009 Uncommon Threads Walsh Gallery, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

2009 Theatre Town New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ

2009 Beautiful Women Paul Vincent Gallery Hoboken, NJ 

2019 100 Artists JaJo Gallery,  Newark, NJ

2008 The Westinghouse Project New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ

2008 Black September Lex Leonard Gallery, Jersey City, NJ

2008 Redsaw Invitational 2008 Red Saw Gallery Newark, NJ

2008 Strange Country City Without Walls at Waldo Lofts, Jersey City, NJ

2007 Metro 25 City Without Walls Newark, NJ 

2007 Transport  Red Saw Gallery, side-gallery,  Newark, NJ 

2007 Redsaw Invitational 2007 Red Saw Gallery Newark, NJ

2007 Look See: Photographs on Reflection Brooklyn Artists Gym Brooklyn, NY

2005 New Artists Week Wise Owl Gallery, Nagano, Japan


Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY 

Newark Public Library, Special Collections, Newark, NJ 

Marcus Samuelsson, Newark NJ

Curatorial (selections)

Perceptual Engineering, Window Gallery, Paul Robeson Galleries – Rutgers Newark, Express Newark, Newark, NJ, 2023

Mapping Apparitions: An Amorphous Art History Pilot, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, 2021/22

People, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA, 2019 

Ideogrammatic, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA, 2019 

Bringing It All Back Home, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, 2019

Vast Expanses, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA, 2019

A Collection of Lines, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA, August, 2019

5-UP, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA, June, 2019

The Ether Acre, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, May, 2018

Landholdings, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, March, 2017

Forum in Form, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, October, 2015

Dichotomy, presented by Index Art Center at Paterson Art Walk Paterson NJ, June, 2014

Chapter 237, Index Art Center, Newark NJ,  December, 2013


Rutgers University | Newark, Adjunct Professor: 2018 – 2022. Courses taught: Introduction to Photography, Seminar in Contemporary Art,  Senior Studio Seminar, Problems in Contemporary Art (co-taught with Express Newark Artist in Residence Willie Cole)

Brookedale Community College: 2022. Courses taught: Introduction to Darkroom Photography

Newark Museum of Art, On Documentary Photography, four-part course, 2020

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), Immigrant Artist Program, Mentor, 2017 – 2019

City Without Walls, ArtReach Mentor Program, Mentor, 2013, 2014, 2017

Yashiro High School, Nagano, Japan, Teaching Assistant and Photography Club, 2006


Dialogue in a Time of Fracture: Creative Practice, Activism, and Dialogue, Panelist, Rutgers University Newark, March 2022

Black Spatial Futures, Black Portraiture[s] VII Conference, Moderator, Express Newark, February 2022

Why American Studies? Why Now? American Studies Symposium, Panelist, Rutgers University Newark, April 2021

Natural Light Photography community workshop, Newark Artist Database, July 2020

Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project lecture and slideshow Index Art Center, Art & Artifacts of Newark, Newark, NJ, 2019

Photographing Your Art, Guest Lecturer, Rutgers University, Newark 2017, 2018, 2019

Landholdings: Curator-led Gallery Tour & Discussion, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, 2017

Women Speak: Art and Jazz at Newark 350, New Jersey Performing Art Center, Newark, NJ 2016

Forum in Form: Panel Discussion, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, 2015

Cyanotype Workshop, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ, Montclair, NJ, 2014

On Documentary Photography, City Without Walls at Arts High School, Newark, NJ, 2014

Cyanotype Workshop, Newark Print Shop, Newark, NJ, Newark, NJ, 2013

On Documentary Photography, St.Peter’s Preparatory School, Jersey City, NJ, 2009

Community Engagement

Our Green New Deal: A Virtual Series of Community-University Working Sessions, Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, Rutgers University Newark, Scribe and Student Organizer, Sessions 1 & 2, 2021

EcoArt Salon,Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, Rutgers University, Newark, Committee Member, 2020 – 2021

Shine Portrait Studio at Express Newark, Community Partner / Artist in Residence, 2017 – 2023

Index Art Center, Newark, Gallery Assistant, Volunteer, 2006 – current

The Asheville Darkroom, Asheville, NC: Volunteer, April – August, 2016

Grants / Awards

Outstanding Graduate Student Award, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) College of Science and Liberal Arts, 2022

Four Corners Public Art, Phase II “Community Building Through Public Art,” Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project Mural Commission, 2020-2021

Artist Accelerator Grant, Project for Empty Space, 2021

Newark Arts, Special Project Photography Grant, Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project, 2018

Puffin Foundation Photography Grant, Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project, 2013

Alternate Ending Studios Productions International Photography Grant, Time and Tide, 2008

Photographer’s Forum, Annual College Photography Contest, finalist, 2005  


Plume House Series: The Camera I Always Wanted, SHINE Portrait Studio, 2019

Celebrating Frederick Douglass and Newark’s Abolitionist History, Noelle Lorraine Williams, Rutgers Today, April 2019  image only 

In Flux Issue Hycide Magazine, October, 2018

About Gladys Grauer, Gallery Aferro, 2018 – image only     

Newark Arts Photo Documentary, LinkNWK, city-wide public access kiosks, Newark NJ 2018

Marcus Samuelsson Marcus B&P Featured Artists, 2017 – current

Professional Development Blended Learning Blog Creative Capital, May, 2016

we are the ghosts of our future bluetan, May, 2016

The New People Hycide Magazine, October, 2014

Somewhere in Cambodia Nowhere Travel Magazine, July, 2014


Willie Cole’s Ecological Interventions Turn Trash Into Art, Laura van Straaten, The New York Times, February 23, 2023

The Shape of Things That Have Come, Jeanne Brasile, AS | Mag,  January 2020

Culture Shock: Season 2020, “People” + “After People” Megan Frank, PBS39 January, 2020 with Chaz Hampton:

Culture Shock: Season 2019, “Ideogrammatic” Megan Frank, PBS39 October, 2019  with José Camacho:

The Shortest Distance Between A Local Artist and an Easton Gallery is a Straight Line, Connor Lagore, Lehigh Valley Live, August 2019 

A Dedication to Memory: Voices on Newark Arts, Newark Arts October, 2018 

Newark Women: From Suffragettes to the Statehouse Barbara Kukla, 2018

The Artist Recreates the World, Gary Campbell, YouTube, June 2016

Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project Creates a Window into the Scope of the City’s Art Scene, Brick City Live April, 2016

Open Doors 2015: Forum in Form Features Five Women Sculptors at Index Art Center Brick City Live, October, 2015

Up Close and Personal: Portraits of Newark, Newark Bound, July, 2015

Photo Project: Newark, Newark Happening, May, 2015

Interview: The Life of a Curator, Silk City Love Magazine, July 1, 2014

A Gallery is Revived, The Star-Ledger, January 19, 2014