Friday, June 1, 2018
Staff | The Neighbor
Fulton County Arts and Culture, in partnership with NEWorks Productions and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, presents an exhibition of student photography celebrating the centennial birthday and legacy of composer Leonard Bernstein. “West Side/South Side: A Photo Exhibition” will open with a reception at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Beauchamp C. Carr Gallery in Midtown June 9 from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by a panel discussion in the Rich Auditorium from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition will run through June 30.
“West Side/South Side: A Photo Exhibition” is a national traveling photo exhibition that explores the challenges and triumphs of diversity in American society. The exhibition draws attention to issues of immigration, social unrest and community integration; issues that are as relevant today as they were when audiences were first introduced to Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” The exhibition features photographs produced by young photographers in three major American cities: Philadelphia, in partnership with University of the Arts; Washington, in partnership with American University and the University of the District of Columbia; and Atlanta, in partnership with Clark Atlanta University and the Art Institute of Atlanta. This collection comes to Atlanta following its opening at the Katherine Reynolds Foundation Gallery, NYU-Washington, May 2 through 30. It will travel to the Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Branch, July 19 through Aug. 30.
“We are excited to enter into a partnership on the national level that furthers insightful conversations about diversity and social injustice using the arts as a means for creative exchange,” Fulton County Arts & Culture Director Lionell Thomas said in a news release. “Through the work of organizations such as NEWorks Productions and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, new generations of artists are continuing the Bernstein legacy of facing social challenges through artistic expression.”
“West Side/South Side: A Photo Exhibition” was conceived and curated by NEWorks founder Nolan Williams Jr. as a component of Brilliantly Bernstein: Beyond the Baton, a six-month festival celebrating the Bernstein centenary, presented by the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and co-curated by NEWorks. Bernstein’s “West Side Story” broke new artistic ground and challenged audiences to wrestle with issues of diversity and community integration and, 60 years later, about 50 students have produced images that grapple with the same topics. In the spirit of Bernstein, these young artists are expressing social discourse through their art.
“Inspired by the legacy of the iconic American composer/conductor, Leonard Bernstein, ‘West Side/South Side’ is an amazing photographic collection that captures the triumphs and challenges of American cultural diversity,” Williams said in a news release. “In my role as Festival Artistic Director at the Mann Center, it has been my honor to curate this national exhibition and to work hand-in-hand with our educational partners to explore this relevant topic in our times. Bernstein was a true champion for human rights. This exhibition honors his legacy by challenging us to celebrate our diversity.”
Thomas will host a panel discussion, Celebrating Diversity, featuring professors from the Art Institute of Atlanta, Clark Atlanta University and Williams. A digital version of the exhibition, featuring a full collection of nearly 300 student photographic images, will be released mid-summer by the Mann Center (www.manncenter.org/bernstein).
Graphic: NEWorks Productions