Overexposure presents social engagement photography at CO Exhibitions

Holland neighborhood
Holland neighborhood
Dusty Hoskovec

This Saturday at CO Exhibitions, Overexposure will present "What's New?," a show featuring the culmination of a five-year project where 15 photographers went out and documented the demographic and social changes in all 102 Twin Cities neighborhoods. 

Standish neighborhood
Standish neighborhood
Xavier Tavera

According to Susan Boecher, the organization's founder, Overexposure is a nonprofit media group, formed in 2005, whose primary mission is to create photography projects used to engage community. 

In first year of the project, Overexposure's board did research about demographic changes in the in neighborhoods, which included people moving from the suburbs to the cities, an influx of immigrant communities, and the rise of foreclosures. This discussion led to creating a photography project addressing these issues through social engagement. 

The application process included a call for proposal for artists, announced on various art service organizations. A panel then selected from the applicants by examining the quality of their artwork, and their past track record with community and socially engaged projects. 
Rice Street Beauty Queens (Seward) 
Rice Street Beauty Queens (Seward) 
Sarah Stacke
Once photographers were selected, they chose the neighborhoods they wanted to work in, and did a series of 10 images each. To engage with the neighborhoods, the photographers would connect with a neighborhood organization or service organization, attend neighborhood meetings, or just spend time in the neighborhood getting to know people. 

The end of each year of the project featured a public art exhibition and community project. The event this weekend is a culmination of the entire project, which includes 1,000 images, with and $62,000 in grant money allotted. The exhibit this weekend features 100 flat images and digital projections on the wall of all 1,020 photos in the project.
East Calhoun
East Calhoun
Dick Ott

In addition to the physical exhibition, there will also be an online exhibition that goes live this weekend. 

Boecher says that one of the most interesting things that came out of the project is that "despite how things have changed, things remain the same." While the effort initially began as a way to document changes in neighborhoods, what the photographers found is that "essentially people function to do the same things. They converge at picnics. They meet in public spaces. Culturally, people are connected through socio-economic groups and living environment. Despite huge demographic and cultural changes, people are essentially the same," Boecher says. 

After the CO exhibition, Overexposure seeks to show all of the works at a larger institution, and to raise money for new grants. They are also undertaking a youth project this summer. 


"Overexposure: What's New?"
The one-night event takes place 7-10 p.m. Saturday, March 16
CO Exhibitions
1101 Stinson Blvd. NE, Minneapolis

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