Art, audio and hunger make for poignant exhibit

SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – A national art exhibit of photographs and audio stories is now on display in Sharon.

Photographer Michael Nye brings About Hunger and Resilience to Pennsylvania for the first time. The James Winner Arts and Culture Center in downtown Sharon is full of 50 portraits from all corners of the country.

“This exhibit doesn’t focus on suffering, but it really focuses on reflection and understanding,” said Nye. “The stories are about hunger, but they are also about ones larger life experience, where they came from, what they believe, what they did, what happened to them.”

And visitors can hear these people tell those stories in their own words. Each photograph has a set of headphones attached to it. Some said putting on the headphones made you cry. Others said the audio adds depth to the exhibit.

Nye also used an 8×10 view camera similar to ones used during the Civil War era where the photographer goes under a sheet and snaps the photo onto a film plate. He said he spent two to four days with each subject to get to the heart of their stories.

“To say that a photograph speaks 1,000 words – it is just amplified in this exhibit,” said Catie Gallagher, campaign member for Community Food Warehouse. “It is shouting at you.”

The exhibit also helps break down the stereotype that hunger is solely a result of being poor or lazy.

“The new face of hunger is the working poor,” said Mimi Prada, public relations coordinator for Community Food Warehouse. “What we want people to know is that hunger exists in your own backyard. It could be your neighbor. It could be a family member.”

Nye said anyone can find themselves in a situation like the subjects of his art. Job loss, injuries, natural disasters, any number of reasons could lead a person to go hungry.

The exhibit is presented by The Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County and sponsored by The Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

The show runs through May 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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