Craven Arts Council & Gallery presents Our Town by Swiss photographer Michael von Graffenried in the Main Gallery at Bank of the Arts during the months of October and November 2023. Our Town features von Graffenried’s unique examination of the people and communities of New Bern over the past almost two decades.
Our Town will feature the work of photographer Michael von Graffenried’s images of the people of New Bern over the last 17 years, starting in 2006 to the present. These photographs examine the current culture of the city, including racial and economic disparities, local celebrations and traditions, and ongoing life in our community. The exhibition focuses on and highlights the people of New Bern, and their daily lives, struggles, and successes. Our hope is to create a dialogue between various city wards, communities, and groups, about life in Our Town including our shared past history and hopes as move towards the future. This exhibition will be a follow up to Michael’s original Our Town exhibition in 2006 for the 300-year anniversary of the city’s founding, which received a great deal of international press coverage and started many conversations.
The project will feature two concurrent exhibitions, one in the Main Gallery of Bank of the Arts (317 Middle St), and an outdoor display in the Five Points area (1004 Queen St). Bank of the Arts was the site of Michael’s original exhibition of Our Town in 2006, and is a restored neoclassical bank building from turn of the 20th century. The outdoor display will feature large format prints on free standing displays. This area is a historically black community, and the artwork will feature photos of the residents of this area and the rest of the city, providing representation and creating and dialogue.
Craven Arts Council & Gallery will host several events in conjunction with this exhibition, including ArtWalk receptions on October 13th and November 10th from 5pm to 8pm. There will be a community reception for the outdoor display on October 7th at 11am. Michael will also give an educational lecture on the Our Town exhibition and his other work as part of Craven Arts Council’s Little Talk lecture series on October 19th at 6pm. Tickets are available at www.cravenarts.org.
Michael von Graffenried (born 1957) is a Swiss photographer living and working between Paris, Brooklyn, NY, and Switzerland. He started working as a photojournalist in 1978, travelling the world for numerous publications. Today he works on long-term projects using different kinds of media to showcase his artwork, such as open-air campaigns on public billboards and films. His work has appeared in numerous international magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Life, Paris Match, Le Monde, GEO, Stern and El Pais. With his films, videos, photos, and also as a guest, he has contributed to many television programs in Europe. He has exhibited widely in Switzerland and France, as well as in New York, Algiers, Varanasi, Hong Kong and Beirut. His is the author of thirty-six books, including his latest, Our Town (Steidl). Michael von Graffenried was given the title of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres of the French Légion d’Honneur in 2006 and the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize of the German Society of Photography 2010. He is the third Swiss to obtain this award after René Burri and Robert Frank.
Craven Arts Council and Gallery is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to “create an environment where the arts thrive, bring joy, and enrich the cultural experience of our community.” Craven Arts Council’s primary facility is Bank of the Arts, open 10am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday, and admission to all galleries is free and open to the public.
This project is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (www.NCArts.org). This project is also supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
Bank of the Arts
317 Middle Street
P.O. Box 596
New Bern, NC 28563