Sally Wiener Grotta Turns an Exhibit of her Award-Winning American Hands Photographs into a Treasure Hunt for Attendees

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Exhibits of American Hands have been seen by over 350,000 individuals, with each installation different. For the current one, Sally Wiener Grotta has challenged attendees to interactively explore the photographs of traditional tradespeople.

John Choi, glassblower, by Sally Wiener Grotta (American Hands)

John Choi, glassblower, (c) by Sally Wiener Grotta (American Hands)

“A delightful gem! Sally's photographs are exquisitely warm and inviting.... She presents an accessible and compelling reminder of our rich heritage of skilled craftsmen and artisans." ~ Kathryn Burke, Director of the Martin Art Gallery

When Sally Wiener Grotta installed the current exhibit of her acclaimed American Hands photo project at the Carbondale Public Library (5 North Main Street, Carbondale, PA 18407), she was unable to place the narrative signs beside every picture. So she set up all the signs near the entrance. This created a treasure hunt for attendees, giving them in-depth information about each tradesperson depicted, then sending them around the library to find the related picture.

On Saturday, March 21st at 2PM, Sally Wiener Grotta will guide young people at the library in finding and learning about each of the trades described, while sharing stories of the artisans she has photographed, and answering questions about the project and about photography in general. The general public is welcome to attend the discussion and gallery tour. Please call the library for reservations for the presentation (570-252-4281).

The exhibit will be on display through March 31st. Then, it will move to Palmerton, PA.

  • "[Sally is]...a global treasure" ~ Pat Schroeder, former U.S. Congresswoman
  • About American Hands

American Hands is Sally Wiener Grotta's award-winning visual celebration of those individuals who keep alive the traditional crafts that built our dynamically diverse culture and established the underpinnings of our present-day society. In this ongoing project, she is creating narrative portraits of people who use their hands in traditional ways, making functional objects that are, today, typically done by machines. Along the way, Sally spends time in a wide variety of artisans' workshops -- including a spinner, weaver, blacksmith, glassblower, bookbinder, rug-maker and many others -- returning over the months and years, to follow the various stages of their creations.

American Hands has been (and continues to be) exhibited in both large and small venues. An earlier version of the American Hands exhibit (called Pennsylania Hands) was installed in the East Wing Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, a couple of years ago. To date over 350,000 individuals have attended an American Hands exhibit. Other installations of American Hands are scheduled through 2016. Sally will also be giving lectures associated with the exhibits, visiting schools, senior citizen centers, community organizations and so forth. Eventually, it will be a book. In the meantime, there are two publications: the American Hands Newsletter and the first in a series of American Hands Journals.

The recipient of over three dozen grants, "American Hands" has been adopted by the New York Foundation for the Arts (one of the nation's most respected arts organization) under their fiscal sponsorship. This exhibit of "American Hands" is supported by a Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Grant from the Pocono Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Sally welcomes invitations for exhibits and lectures, as well as suggestions of additional craftspeople. Please remember that her focus is on those artisans who practice the functional, concrete skills, that were required by their community, rather than those that were done primarily for artistic purposes. To contact Sally, please use the contact page on her Website, or through the project's Facebook fanpage. To learn more about the project, please also check out the videos on YouTube.

*About Sally Wiener Grotta

Photographer, digital artist, author, columnist and lecturer, all describe what Sally Wiener Grotta does. But to truly understand who she is, one must also apply the title Storyteller to her list of accomplishments and achievements. Whether it's a picture or an article, a workshop or a book, Sally's primary purpose, above and beyond communicating concepts, ideas and information, is to tell a good story that will entertain, amuse and enlighten.

Recognized by xRite as "one of the world's top professional photographers," Sally has traveled on assignment all over the world, to every continent (including Antarctica several times), plus many exotic islands (such as Papua New Guinea). Her pictures have appeared in numerous exhibits, scores of national glossy magazines, many books and various ads. She has published eight non-fiction books (on photography and travel). Her fiction includes the critically acclaimed novels "Jo Joe" and "The Winter Boy."

In addition to various "American Hands" exhibits, other collective and one-woman exhibits of Sally's work are scheduled through 2016.

  • "Every once in awhile great artists are able to transcend.... Sally's vision is grand... [and]... reflected in the warmth she portrays, in the people she photographs and the world she captures..." ~ Steven Rosenbaum, President of SIR Communications and former Editor of Modern Photography

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