Fine Art Museum exhibits photos of migrant workers

Photo from "Faces of Change: Migrant Workers in Western North Carolina – A Photo Journal" exhibit courtesy of Vecinos Inc.

Photo from “Faces of Change: Migrant Workers in Western North Carolina – A Photo Journal” exhibit courtesy of Vecinos Inc.

An exhibit of photography chronicling the life of migrant workers will open Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University and continue through Saturday, Dec. 1.

“Faces of Change: Migrant Workers in Western North Carolina – A Photo Journal” contains candid photographs of adults and children who serve the agriculture and construction industries of the mountain region. The photographs, such as the image pictured at right courtesy of Vecinos, Inc., were taken by medical staff of Vecinos Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides mobile health care and business assistance to farm workers and their families in Jackson, Macon, Swain and Transylvania counties.

A panel discussion will be held in Room 130 of the Fine and Performing Arts Center Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. on the topic “Who are Migrant Farm Workers?” Panelists will include Mark Heffington, medical director of Mountain Area Family Medicine, and Mark Couture, associate professor of modern foreign languages at Western and board member of Vecinos. A reception will follow in the museum lobby.

“The museum serves as a forum for dialogue and exchange of ideas for greater understanding of our complex contemporary culture, especially as it impacts our own local and regional communities,” said Martin DeWitt, director of the museum. “I am personally quite taken by these images. From a photojournalism perspective, they are what they are – direct and intimate – and offer a powerful visual statement.”

Museum hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays and university holidays. For more information, contact DeWitt at (828) 227-2553.