Tuesday, June 02, 2009

'Shifting cultural identity' of rural America in photographic exhibit at South Bend

The creative economy of South Bend, Ind., is getting a boost from a new exhibit at the Snite Museum of Art, Artdaily.org reports. "Fourteen Places to Eat: a Narrative: Photographing Rural Culture in the Midwest," opened May 31 and the photographer, Kay Westhues, thinks her work revels in the unique culture of rural. "These photos mirror my personal history, but I am also capturing a people's history grounded in a sense of place. My intention is to celebrate rural life, without idealizing it," she told Artdaily. (Photo: Parked trailer in Ligonier, Ind.)

Promoting rurality and agriculture as a celebration could help towns and businesses whose local economies are suffering. Westhues says her vision of the exhibit confronts the contemporary challenges of rural American head-on. "The overall theme since the project's inception is the effect of the demise of local economies that have historically sustained rural communities. Many of my images contain the remains of an earlier time, when locally owned stores and family farms were the norm. Today chain stores and agribusiness are prevalent in rural communities. These communities are struggling to thrive in the global economy, and my images reflect that reality." (Read more)

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