Selfies exhibit fosters sense of community

By Tanya Chilton tchilton@civitasmedia.com

April 25, 2014

The Foothills Arts Council Selfies exhibit that opened on April 11 continues to be a success after members of the community joined in to make the ongoing exhibit a success.

The Foothills Art Council Committee first discussed the possibility of turning “selfies” into a more traditional exhibit and as an expansion of the art form that could be enjoyed at the gallery.

Executive Director Leighanne Wright said the idea was to pull in a lot of people, both young and old.

It worked, while fostering a sense of community in the process, said Wright.

Wright said the community selfie portraits began to come in particularly after she put out an email call for them.

“We were pleased,” said Wright.

Some of the categories included “other places,” “smiling faces,” “we are family,” “alter egos,” “working for a living,” “four-legged friends,” and an interesting entitled “askewed view.” Wright said the “askewed view” was interesting as a category in that it reflected “odd, little different views of people.”

Within the categories, some of the photos were picked in areas such as “best in expression,” “best in oldest,” just to name a couple.

Local resident Ellie Hooper while on a mission trip in Manila received recognition as a “selfie” contributed from farthest away. The askewed view was interesting as a category in that it reflected “odd, little different views of people.”

The Foothills Arts Council Gallery Committee, composed of Wright, Rosy Beverley and Anne Gulley, was responsible for getting the exhibit together.

It was Gulley’s idea to use the clothes lines to display the selfies, which resulted in a practical and colorful exhibit.

In various places throughout the exhibit, there were printouts explaining the evolution of “selfies.” One printout described how Robert Cornelius, in 1839, took a self-portrait that became well-known in 1839 with a portable Kodak camera, and debuts of self-portraits increased in the 1900s.

Today, selfies have evolved into convenient, modern form of artistic expression.

One of the bright blue markers hanging in between the “selfies” stated, “A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held cell phone and uploaded to a social media website.”

Wright did add that a camera is still acceptable to use to make a “selfie” portrait.

Wright said ultimately, “What we try to do is bring to a different realm, showing creativity and self-expression in a unique, creative way.”

A member, who serves on the board of the Foothills Art Council, Allison Leeds, said she was impressed with the amount of conversation the exhibit drew.

The combining of the traditional and creative methods of art display that occurred using modern technology and social media resulted in a sense of community both displayed and felt with the “selfies” showing.

The Foothills Art Council Board also contributed selfies for the expo. In the process, Wright confirmed their art emphasized “a literal giving of selves.” Wright said, it is many of the board members who are often behind the scenes doing the grunt work, such as cleaning up, that help make the exhibits of the Foothills Art Council possible.

Wright said the exhibit will remain open until mid-May and said it is possible that “selfies” could become a tradition for the Foothills Art Council.

Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.