Press Room – Face of Petaluma: Portraits of Our Town



Face of Petaluma & Portraits of Petaluma Pioneers FULL PRESS RELEASE

First-Time Exhibition Collaboration Between The Petaluma Museum Association and the Petaluma Arts Center

Petaluma, CA – The Petaluma Museum Association and the Petaluma Arts Center announce the first collaboration between the institutions with the June 10 openings of Portraits of Petaluma Pioneers: Personal Images & Public Stories of a California Rivertown at the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum and The Face of Petaluma: Portraits of our Town at the Petaluma Arts Center. These exhibitions will resonate with Petaluma residents as they are equally proud of their history and the unique, diverse city that it has become.

The Petaluma Museum Association’s exhibition is drawn from the PHL&M’s early portrait collection. According to the curator of the exhibition, Paula Freund, the availability and popularity of camera portraiture grew simultaneously with the booming frontier town of Petaluma in the 1850’s and 60’s. The portraits offer the opportunity to observe the pioneers’ faces and demeanor in rich, intimate detail and connect them to the stories of their accomplishments and to the history of Petaluma.

Freund’s research for the exhibition revealed that Petaluma was a favorite location for entrepreneurial photographers. During the second half of the 19th century, the small, booming, frontier, river town was home to over 20 photography studios. Petaluma’s pioneers took full advantage of the services offered. Many mini-masterpieces appear, particularly among the work of two exceptionally skilled portraitists: Bryan R. Johnson and George Ross.

Also on display are: a collection of early celluloid photo albums; a 19th century photo studio; educational videos courtesy of the George Eastman Museum; and a reading table where visitors will have access to documents written by Petaluma pioneers including overland journals, and diaries of everyday life.

The Petaluma Arts Center exhibition is a contemporary photographic portrayal of current Petaluma residents. Five photographers – Michael Garlington, Paige Green, Jude Mooney, Ramin Rahimian, and Michael Woolsey – have been making portraits and collecting stories from an array of local personalities, whose diverse and relevant stories will be displayed. A selection of interviews will also be included.

One gallery will be reserved for an evolving display as community members have their portraits taken on June 3, 10, 17 and 24.  All photographs taken over the four weekends will appear, incrementally, until the adjunct gallery is complete.

The exhibition is co-curated by Jude Mooney and Stefan Kirkeby, owner of the San Anselmo-based gallery, Smith Andersen North, and partner in the Casemore Kirkeby gallery in San Francisco.

Combined Opening Reception:  June 10, 5-8pm

PAC Exhibition Dates:  June 10 – August 5, 2017

PAC  Admission:  $5 General.   $4 Students, Veterans & Senior (62+).
PAC members, FREE.

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