The exhibition SMALL TOWN, BIG TALK is aimed at creating and strengthening relationships among the residents of the second-smallest town in the Nutmeg state. This civic art project will feature portrait photography by Rebecca Bloomfield, paired with insightful quotes from interviews conducted by Adam Sher. Supported by a grant from Bridging Divides, Healing Communities--a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the exhibition is free and open to the public during library operating hours and online at huntlibrary.org/art-wall.
With the advent of ever-present social media, actual real-world civic engagement among neighbors has diminished in every community and made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. Falls Village residents Rebecca Bloomfield, Adam Sher, and Meg Sher were eager to re-engage their fellow townsfolk and forge new friendships and understanding across social, racial, and class divides. To move beyond small talk, a series of “big talk” questions was developed to engage subjects’ world views and personal philosophies. A public call for subjects was made and respondents were scheduled for socially distanced outdoor photo and interview sessions.
Rebecca Bloomfield, the project’s photographer, found that she was thinking a lot about vulnerability while the interviews were being conducted. “It’s so rare that we get past small talk with our neighbors, and I think it’s rare because it’s vulnerable to ask the questions in the first place, let alone open up and answer them.”
Interviewer Adam Sher, an educator and community organizer, says, "There is a lot of talk about unity these days, but even in small towns unity is elusive, and perhaps impossible without experiencing our diversity of thought and feeling.”