The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 9, 2012

Clinton woman pitches walking gallery project

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Clinton resident Jean Black loves her city and is embarking on a project that will encourage others to love it, too.  

“Hats Off to Clinton,” a walking gallery, will ask people who work, play, live, shop, go to school or have some other interaction with Clinton to pose for photographs that Black hopes to display in the windows of Clinton businesses or vacant buildings. In the end, she hopes to have 300 36-inch-by-48-inch black and white photographs to display in January or February.

“I want it to have a huge impact. I think it will be very moving,” Black said. “I want them to be in all the businesses in all the windows through town, that’s my dream.”

The subjects will be the people of Clinton who are age 14 and up.  Photographs will show the subjects as happy and, as the title indicates, wearing a hat if they choose.  

“The thing I think I’m good at in photography is getting the good expression. This, I want to be happy and uplifting,” she said.

Black was inspired by French artist JR, who displays large black and white photographic images in public spaces. She wanted to adapt the idea to Clinton, but at the time, owned a photography studio in downtown and wasn’t able to start the project. When Black closed her studio in July, it gave her the time to focus on creating “Hats Off to Clinton.”

“The thing I love about Clinton is that no one is left out. Everyone is in it together,” she said. “I thought it would be a lift. It would be good for people to work together.”

She is currently soliciting businesses to help fund the project or offer time when she can host a photobooth session to take the photographs. So far, she said she has commitments for $500 out of her $2,500 goal and already has four photobooth sessions scheduled.  Anyone interested in having their photograph taken for the gallery can attend one of the photobooth sessions that will begin in a little more than a week.  

For more information on the project, visit facebook.com/HatsOffToClintonIowa.  Donations can be directed to  gofundme.com/HatsOffToClinton.