Artist Jennifer Vanderpool explores urban decay and the issues facing Rust Belt cities as part of her new exhibit “Untold Stories: The Forgotten Underclass in Rust Belt Urban Renewal,” which opens Monday, March 11, at the University of Akron’s Emily Davis Gallery, in the Myers School of Art, Folk Hall, 150 E. Exchange St.
The exhibit features imagery of blighted cities, evoking questions about neighborhood decay and gentrification, segregation, generations of unemployment and economic redevelopment.
Vanderpool, a Mahoning Valley native currently based out of Los Angeles, created the series by incorporating abstracted elements from historic tourism posters, souvenir postcards, print advertisements, TV commercials, company training films, corporate photographs and other media into her design.
The show also highlights digital prints, archival material provided by the University of Akron Archives, and a documentary film. The film features interviews with Akron area community members and professionals, like University of Akron professors Dr. Ramona Ortega-Liston, David Giffels, Dr. Bill Lyons and several retired rubber workers, including Don Heffner, and Al Fitch, among others.
As an artist, Vanderpool works across mediums to reveal relationships between physical landscapes and the unseen forces that shape them, knitting together narratives about forgotten institutions, people and communities. She has lectured and exhibited her work around the world, including Europe and South America.
A meet-the-artist reception will take place Thursday, Mar. 14, 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery. Free parking is available for the reception, and visitor parking at metered spaces is available during gallery hours. There also will be a panel discussion Thursday, April 11 at 6 p.m.
“Untold Stories” is part of a multi-venue exhibition that also takes place at the Tyler History Center in Youngstown and continues through Sunday, April 7. The twin exhibit and related programming are funded in part by both the University of Akron and Youngstown State University, along with an ArtSTART grant from The Ohio Arts Council.
The exhibit on University of Akron’s campus is organized by the Emily Davis Gallery and sponsored by the Myers School of Art Gallery Committee, with support from the University of Akron Archival Services. Additional funding is provided by an ArtSTART grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.