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Radford University is holding an art exhibit in Covington Hall featuring the “Looking at Appalachia: A Fresh Approach.” This project is an attempt to explore the diversity of Appalachia and establish a visual counterpoint. The drawings and photographs are meant to see the diverse population of the region. What makes this exhibit more unique than most is that the people in the photographs are average citizens of the different regions of Appalachia.
The photographers range from professionals to someone with an iPhone to take photos of what they are experiencing in their everyday life. Different people of various areas of the Appalachia have different perspectives of how they see the culture of their town and what they love most about it. When you see a city or location from the viewpoint of someone who live there, you receive a better understanding of the people and the site.
Some students, faculty, staff, and people from the surrounding area came to see the exhibit. “The Looking at Appalachia” started around three years ago and had blossomed into an outstanding project. Roger May is the project director of Appalachia, and I was able to ask him a few questions about the project.
He said he never expected the project to get this big and go so far. May started the project to work on stopping the stereotypes of the way that people view the Appalachia region. He wanted to show that they are worth more than what people think they are, and they have a lot to offer to the culture and America as a whole. He is also from West Virginia, so Appalachia is close to his heart. He wanted the culture to be spread in a positive way.
A majority of the students that went to the art exhibit for a class project ended up finding it fascinating and worth attending. I asked a few students what they enjoyed the most about the art exhibit.
Sean Moseley, freshman, said, “I like how they are candid pictures, it helps me learn more about what the pictures are representing and how the culture is in Appalachia.”
The majority of the students that were interviewed did learn a lot from the culture. Most did not realize that coal mining was still in existence. They were also surprised to know that people from the Appalachia are very satisfactory and talented in art and local businesses. “A Fresh Approach” is a unique way of art exhibits; the art is also not covered in glass because May wanted the display to feel and look as if you were in the region. “Looking at Appalachia: A Fresh Approach” will be at Radford until May 4, so if you can spare some time out of your day, it is absolutely something worth being absorbed.