'Faces of Reading' creators seek help to showcase exhibit

READING, Pa. - An ambitious project started out as something to do during summer vacation, but over the last 12 years, it has grown to be the embodiment of a community.

Now, the creators of "Faces of Reading" are asking for the community's help in showcasing the exhibit.

"It was a chance to look at change in Reading," said creator John Pankratz. "To look at how the face of the community is changing."

They are the faces of your neighbors, taken in a span of 10 years, first in 2005 and then again in 2015. The exhibit, "Faces of Reading,"  is a collection of 1,026 portraits.

Pankratz said it has become an ongoing civic photography project.

"I's enabled me to meet a lot of people I would not have otherwise met, because we opened up a very wide reception to folks, and it's been a tool for establishing relationships," said Pankratz.

The swath of humanity features politicians, business people, children, construction workers, and even the homeless.

"It's that fluidity and the diversity that I think are true facts of our community," said Pankratz.

Collaborator Angela Cremer had the task of tracking down the original faces from 2005 and helping to select some new ones, each one a thread in the tapestry of the community.

"Really inspiring stories and heartfelt, but I learned from everyone," said Cremer.

Cremer said one story that sticks out is that of Susan, the wife of a local tattoo artist.

"Susan is holding a photograph of her husband. She is holding that because he passed away. He was an original sitter in 2005 and she witnessed him get hit by a car when they were both riding their motorcycles," said Cremer.

Cremer and Pankratz have set up an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to pay for an exhibit at the Freedman Gallery at Albright College in Reading this August. They said the exhibit will be a chance for the community to get a good glimpse of itself.

The Indiegogo campaign is called "Faces of Reading: Photo Exhibition." The exhibit will run August 20 through October 13.

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