May 17, 2019
at the Larry Wilson Gallery,
Phoenix Center for the Arts
Phoenix Center for the Arts is proud to present MY BLACK l: Home – Levings and the Art of Protest, an exhibition by artist Alvin Galloway. The show will be open to the public on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, in the Larry Wilson Gallery, located within the Performing Arts Building at Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 N Third Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004.
My hometown was at time the second largest city in Illinois, a great manufacturing town. It had several monikers, The Forest City – because of its large number of trees that fill its landscape; The Fastener Capitol of the World – because of the many screw and bolt manufacturing companies. Its size has shrunk and now it is probably third, but in comparison to Chicago, which is just 90 miles away, it is still small.
Early in its history it was a furniture making hub. All that changed in the 70’s when like many cities in the Rust Belt, manufacturing companies began to close and or move out of the country during the recession of that period.
During that time the school district went bankrupt and couldn’t the citizens to approve a few cents tax increase, which resulted in the school district cutting out all extra-curricular activities during my senior year in high school. This was devastating to many seniors including myself.
A fortunate few were able to move to different cities in Wisconsin or go to private school and continue as regular seniors, but for a majority of students, including me, this was not an option.
Rockford since has struggled to regain its footing since that time. Crime is high, jobs are low, hope depends on which side of town you live, but the fight remains and is strong.
But Home is still home and I still love going home when I can. One of my favorite places is Levings Lake in my hometown of Rockford Illinois. Levings was and is my spiritual haven. With it only being a mile or so from my home as a child, I spent many hours in the park, riding my bike with my friends, rolling down the hills, fishing, snow sledding, barbecuing, you name it.
Now as a seasoned man I still find solace and happiness when I go home and visit the park. Every trip home I must visit Levings. Regardless of the season, its natural beauty is overwhelming to me. I’ve been in love with photography childhood, looking through Life, Look, Ebony, Jet magazines, books on nature anything with a photograph, and especially when my Uncle Frank would let me take pictures with his Polaroid camera. That was pure magic, the first time I went into a darkroom and developed my first film and photograph, that was heaven. Photography adds so much to a story, to life and our being. The phrase a picture is worth a thousand words is so true. A picture can mean so many different things to different people, depending on their experiences and mood when looking a photo.
The Art of Protest is also an artistic form. There is beauty, mystery, messaging in protests. As a photojournalist photographing a protest conveys all that, telling a story, placing historical significance to the event, the moment the cause, the interaction of humanity.
A history buff, I love old photos and the untold stories they relay to and about humanity. Every object that is photographed whether human, a building, nature or an animal reveals an energy or spirit that radiates something for us to interpret.
May 17, 2019