MORRISTOWN, NJ - In less than three weeks, the 'Spirit' of Peace Corps Exhibit at 70 South Gallery will begin touring different galleries around the country. Since July, the gallery has displayed photographs from Peace Corps volunteers from 1962 to present day. The featured artists show images from Gambia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Jamaica, Zambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Chile. The exhibit represents the "true spirit of the villages the volunteers served in as well as the spirit that developed between the volunteers and the people that shared their everyday life." The goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness of the Peace Corps and to share the stories of those who volunteered.
"The photos are so important", said Gallery Owner Ted Baldanzi. "People around the world are the same, with the same emotions. We forget about that. We lose sight about that".
Baldanzi pointed out a picture by Kay Muldoon-Ibrahim. The photo shows a classroom with boys on one side and girls on the other. "The photos are also a history lesson", he said. "It's a lesson about life."
And that lesson is what Baldanzi was hoping for when the idea of an exhibit honoring the Peace Corps struck him. After receiving a calendar of the Peace Corps in the mail, Baldanzi had an idea. Honor the men and women who have volunteered while providing a visual of what the Peace Corps experience was like. In addition to the public, students in high school and middle school, scouts, and other youth organizations are invited to tour the exhibit. In addition to history, students learn about composition, shade and colors within the photos.
"All of the photos tell a story", said Baldazi. "I was around when the Peace Corps started. The Peace Corps is important to me. My roommate in college went into the Corps. So sharing their stories is a way to say thank you to all those who served."
And what an amazing tribute it is.
The walls of the gallery are lined with 170 beautiful mesmerizing photos. Each one telling a story. The exhibit features 15 artists, showcasing five or more photographs as well as 45 individual submissions. The collections have a summary of the particular volunteer mission. Each photo is for sale with 80% of the sale of the photo going back a Peace Corps program that the artist chooses.
"I hope the photos have an impact on those that visit," said Baldanzi. "I love the feeling of being around the photos. They're magical. And if it helps in a little way, then I'm happy."
Don't miss the opportunity to see the 'Spirit' Exhibit for yourself. There is no cost to visit the exhibit which will be in Morristown through November 11, 2016. For more information; visit www.70southgallery.com