Friday, February 10, 2012

Using arts to bridge the rural-urban divide in California

This NPR story about the recently opened "Real Rural" exhibition in San Francisco goes behind the scenes with Lisa Hamilton, the author and photographer who created the exhibit.  The following excerpts reflect on Hamilton's motivation:
Hamilton's fear:  Urban Californians have become too far estranged from rural life.  Her solution:  show them what the rest of the state looks like.   
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Rural life is a topic of deep concern for Hamilton.  She's been writing about food and agriculture for years, including her 2009 book, Deeply Rooted:  Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness.   
"I started thinking about food," a popular topic in San Francisco, she explains, "and more about rural communities.  I realized that with all the attention California gets, no one was talking about the communities that support people."  
* * * 
"Having a human involved in agriculture means that human is bringing these elements that only a human can--things like caring about history and caring about the future and being able to quantify value beyond dollars and bottom line." 
* * *  
Hamilton's notion is that if San Franciscans won't travel to the countryside, she can bring the countryside to San Francisco.
Photos from the project are on display throughout the San Francisco public transport system and will later be displayed at the California Historical Museum.  Hamilton's work was funded in part by the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University.

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