She said the Public Art Commission “saw photography and portraiture, in particular, as a powerful tool for helping people really recognize one another and connect with one another.”
Originally, the project was to roll out in spring 2019, but Towns said the community engagement was so robust that the opening was pushed back to spring 2020. But COVID-19 hit, delaying the opening until April 11, 2021.
Chang said she and Bari did a lot of research about Winston-Salem before their first visit to the city. Then they drove around the city to meet and interview people before they presented their proposal to the Public Art Commission.
Collectively, there were about 150 people in the project, including a host committee made up of members who represented each ward in the city, participants who were in workshops and featured in the project, and student media makers — local college students who documented the behind the scenes process.
Magalie Yacinthe, the owner of YES, Yacinthe Event Services, and interim executive director of HUSTLE, is the local organizer for the portrait project.
Aaron Gibbons, a fabricator and custom furniture maker in Winston-Salem with a woodworking and metalworking shop in King, is the project’s fabricator.
“He really worked with us to take our vision and our design of the artwork,” Chang said of Gibbons. “He worked with us to figure out how to bring them to life.”