Monday, September 6, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: The Hale Street Gang: Portraits in Writing at Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury

The Hale Street Gang: Portraits in Writing
A Photographic Exhibit with Sound
September 10 –December 18, 2010
Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, VT

Gala Writers’ Reception
Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010 from 2 to 4 pm

The Vermont Folklife Center and the Randolph Senior Center have teamed up to create “The Hale Street Gang: Portraits in Writing, A Photographic Exhibit with Sound,” which opens at the Folklife Center’s Vision & Voice Documentary Workspace on Friday, September 10.

Featuring the images of Braintree photographer, Jack Rowell, “The Hale Street Gang” uses photographs, written text, and recorded voice to foreground the work of a dozen Randolph-area seniors who have been writing their life stories in a memoir project directed by writer and Randolph native Sara Tucker.

This project began in October 2008, when the Senior Center offered a six-week memoir writing class. Almost two years later, the twelve members of the Hale Street Gang are still gathering in the Senior Center “craft room” to read aloud what they have written during the week. Most of the writers are in their eighties.

The group writes about everything: learning to fish, skate, drive, and kiss. Falling in love. Getting old. They write about their lives as teachers, nurses, farmers, soldiers, and social workers. They write about their memories of World Wars I and II, the “Roaring Twenties,” the Depression. The towns they grew up in, the games they played as children, the regrets they still live with after many decades. They wonder, on paper, how they are supposed to conduct their lives at the age of ninety-something. They are scouting the territory for the next generation.

Jack Rowell’s larger-than-life black-and-white portraits beautifully capture the spirit and energy of this group. Their faces and voices, along with their written words, reflect the richness of their lives.

The “Vision & Voice Workspace” at the Vermont Folklife Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sundays 11 AM to 4 PM. For information about the “The Hale Street Gang” exhibit and program series, visit the Vermont Folklife Center’s Web site or call (802) 388-4964.