Dear World to allow faculty, staff, students to express themselves

Dear World, an interactive, award-winning portrait project that unites people through pictures with their distinctive message-on-skin style, makes it way to Western Carolina University’s campus on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 25-26.

Dear World, which is sponsored by the Arts and Cultural Events series, explores the subtle and powerful connections between students, faculty and staff. The project, which began in New Orleans in 2009, asks each portrait subject to share a message to someone or something they care about regardless of religion, race or language.

The messages are typically written on their arms or hands with a black marker, and then they are photographed. Dear World has photographed more than 50,000 people from around the world.

There will be a VIP photo shoot, which is by invitation only, on Sept. 25, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the A.K. Hinds University Center’s Grandroom. On Sept. 26, there will be an open shoot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the UC’s second floor. A storytelling event will be held at 7 p.m. in the Grandroom.

The open shoot and storytelling events are open and free to all WCU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact Brandon Lokey at