In Nepal, a child bride wails as she rides away from her family home to meet the groom. In Mongolia, a pilgrim kneels before fire in a quest for eternal life. Through the power of art we witness life-altering moments in a distant place.
Art inspires and teaches. These are two of the many reasons PNC supports exhibitions such as the Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment. The groundbreaking exhibition showcases 99 photographs taken by 11 award-winning female photojournalists, all gifted storytellers and fearless explorers.
Launched in 2013 in Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of people have seen the images that expose the impact of war, document the lives of isolated populations, celebrate cultures and reveal nature’s grace.
The exhibition is at the Orlando Museum of Art from Jan. 22 through April 24. It will be at the Field Museum in Chicago from May 18 to Sept. 11 before ending its four-year run at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh in 2017.
“Women of Vision features the work of a new generation of female photojournalists who are behind the lens of some of the most powerful stories National Geographic has ever told,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of National Geographic Exhibitions. “The exhibit has captivated audiences across the country with these photographers' passion and vision, reaffirming the National Geographic Society’s position as a leader in the field of photography.”
There’s photojournalist Beverly Joubert, who lives in Botswana and documents the plight of African wildlife with courage and empathy. Some photographs capture heartbreaking moments and hard truths, such as Stephanie Sinclair’s decade-long project on child marriage and Lynsey Addario’s unflinching examination of war. Others take on more ethereal subjects, as Erika Larsen did with her look at the Sami reindeer herders of Scandinavia.
Women of Vision opened at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., in October 2013, the first all-female photo exhibition by the iconic group. It debuted as part of National Geographic’s 125th anniversary celebration. All the exhibit photos have appeared in the magazine since 2000. Other PNC tour stops included Charlotte, Detroit, Palm Beach, Fla., and Atlanta.
“I would have to say this is the most beautiful exhibition of photographs I’ve ever seen,” photographer Maggie Steber said at the Washington opening. Her photographs tell the story of the science of memory through her mother’s dementia. “There’s something about it that’s very intimate.”
For PNC Bank’s Joseph Meterchick, having the “Women of Vision” exhibition in Orlando has multiple benefits for the region.
“Most of us may never travel to Nepal or Mongolia, but art can take us there,” said Meterchick, regional president, Florida West. “We’ll continue to work closely with the arts community and encourage companies large and small to do the same. Together, art gives us all a chance to learn more about each other and the world we share.”
He also noted the economic benefits of the arts, including job creation, tourism and the related boosts for businesses. In Florida, arts and culture generate $49.7 billion in annual revenues.
Nationally, the industry generates $166 billion in economic activity every year—$63 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103 billion in event-related spending by their audiences, according to the Americans for the Arts.
“By investing in the arts, we can help make our communities strong and economically sound,” Meterchick added. “Art not only enriches lives, it packs an economic punch.”
Gender “is just one factor out of so many — culture, age, economics — that affects how you perceive the world and how it perceives you,” said National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Elizabeth Krist, who curated the Women of Vision exhibition. “All those things come to play in a very complex calculus of how people connect.”
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