VENICE, FL (March 4, 2022) – Gulf Coast Community Foundation is excited to partner with award-winning, portrait photographer Susan Sidebottom to bring an exhibit that aims to tell the affordable housing super crisis in a different way. The exhibit will feature 25 photographs of real people in the region who lack affordable housing and other basic needs. Sidebottom’s intention is to offer a deeper understanding of the connection between people and their circumstances. More information on the exhibit can be found here: https://www.artsarasota.org/onview/#upcoming.
Sidebottom’s photography exhibit is titled “A Place In The Sun” and will be at Art Center Sarasota from March 17 through April 30. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibit, donated from Sidebottom and Art Center Sarasota, will benefit Harvest House for their partnership and broad reach as a nonprofit supportive housing provider for those most at risk in the community. Other contributing organizations include All Faiths Food Bank, Harvest House, Safe Children Coalition, St. Vincent de Paul CARES, and Unidos Now.
Hailing from rural North Carolina, Sidebottom’s extended family dealt with addiction, prison, and other challenges. Her family was also filled with love, generosity, openness, and forgiveness. One of the reasons Sidebottom understands her photography subjects so well is because she has experienced the feelings of both pain and love growing up. Sidebottom has lived in six cities including Mumbai, India, and Sydney, Australia, but her work always brings her back to her roots.
Sidebottom researched the Sarasota region and reached out to organizations including Gulf Coast Community Foundation on the potential of this project. Knowing that affordable housing is the number one issue in our region, Gulf Coast led the way, connecting Sidebottom to local nonprofits and subjects, securing exhibit space at Art Center Sarasota, and underwriting the printing and framing of the photographs.
“Susan’s ability to get to know her subjects, and then share their truth, is inspiring. These images bring an untold story about Sarasota to life,” said Gulf Coast’s Director of Community Leadership Jennifer Johnston.
Sidebottom titled the exhibit ‘A Place In The Sun’ because Sarasota represents a group of people who have found their place in the sun in different ways. Everyone is here for the sunshine, the beautiful beaches, and the arts and culture mecca that is Sarasota. However, not everyone gets to experience it that way. The exhibit showcases photographs of real people in the region who are struggling with affordable housing, but are performing jobs that are making other people’s lives more comfortable. In their quest to achieve their own dreams here, these individuals end up serving those who have already found an idyllic lifestyle. With her collaborative and non-judgmental approach, Sidebottom gets to deeply understand her photography subjects. “I am genuinely interested in people and their stories. It is a real gift to the community that these participants shared their lives with me so that we can begin to understand their struggles,” said Sidebottom.
“Some of the most courageous people I know have walked through the doors of Harvest House,” said Chief Executive Officer Erin Minor of Harvest House. “In our work, I’m repeatedly inspired by the strength and resilience of the human spirit. I’m grateful for Susan’s gift of capturing complex stories that are both delicate and powerful with dignity and love for humanity.”
Sidebottom’s photographs evoke emotion, the place where it all starts. Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Sidebottom hope these emotions from viewing the photographs will drive people to action and to learn how they can be a part of the solution. More so, that it’s actually necessary they be a part of the solution. Gulf Coast encourages the region to visit this exhibit at Art Center Sarasota, and foster the dialogue and action that needs to happen so we can all find our place in the sun.
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About Gulf Coast Community Foundation
For more than 25 years, together with our donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, we have become the philanthropic home of over 950 families, individuals, businesses, and organizations that have established charitable funds here. Together, we have invested over $430 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at GulfCoastCF.org.