Working America contains 40 brilliant full-color portraits of Americans on the job by award-winning photographer Sam Comen. A variety of themes are explored in the portraits and accompanying interviews, including the dignity of work, inequity among immigrant nationalities, the political relevance of labor migrants, the intergenerational legacies of inherited skills, and the learning of new skills to adapt to the new land of opportunity; and the relationship between a nation’s identity and the identities of the individuals who comprise that nation. Working America is a meditation on American belonging and American becoming; it poetically acknowledges the lives and contributions of working men and women make as a part of our country and our collective experience.
As a native Californian, Sam Comen has used his home state as a muse throughout his career and often looks to the places that define us for inspiration. He has long focused on themes of American identity, community-building, immigration, democracy, and social justice in his photographic work. His photographs are collected by the Library of Congress, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and private collectors, and he is regularly commissioned by brands and publications internationally. As Comen states, he is interested in “re-engaging with the historical portrait approach that masters of photography Eugène Atget, August Sander, and Irving Penn used to study national identity, work, and class in their own times.”
This activity is funded in part by grants from the Lake Region Arts Council and Minnesota State Arts Board through a Minnesota appropriation, the F-M Area Foundation, the Alex Stern Family Foundation, and The Arts Partnership with the Cities of Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo.
Regular admission is $12 adults, $11 seniors, $9 college students, $8 youth 5-17, free to 4 and under, active military, and HCSCC members. Free for all Tuesday nights 5-8pm
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Tania Blanich is the Arts Partnership’s Director of Operations