SHU to Present Reimagined Rural Health Care Photo Exhibit

Yvonne Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Here, she waits for treatment at Chemo Center. She had to travel to Little Rock for her surgery, a two and a half hour ride each way for the family. Photo by Richard C. Falco for Vision Project

News Story: February 19, 2015

Sacred Heart University will present a new multimedia show titled “Crossroads: Rural Health Care in America” at its Art & Design Gallery in February. The show, created by SHU’s Art & Design Department, will feature an exhibition of photographs and editorial work by SHU Professor Richard Falco and the screening of a related documentary film, directed by Falco with Joe Alicastro, coordinator of news & broadcasting for SHU’s master’s in communication (MACOMM) program. The exhibit will also feature large-scale text graphics designed by SHU Professor Jonathan Walker that will surround the photography and act almost as a “second voice” to guide viewers. The exhibit will open on Wednesday, February 25, with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m.

Walker, associate professor and chair of SHU’s Art & Design Department, says he was excited to have the Art & Design Gallery host the show and collaborate in an equally creative role with Falco and Vision Project. “The graphic design elements we will feature explore how environmental graphics in a gallery can be an equal partner to the work that is contained within the gallery space,” he says.

The exhibition follows the doctors, nurses, community organizers and patients who are part of an innovative and well-planned health-care network in the Mississippi Delta. As to the documentary, it shows in vivid detail that there are communities in this country that refuse to give up. Instead of focusing on the hopelessness of their situation, those communities have chosen to focus on a solution.

“Health care is one of the paramount concerns of our times,” says Falco, who is coordinator of multimedia journalism and MACOMM at SHU, as well as the president of Vision Project, which produces documentary material and educational programs that encourage understanding and awareness about a broad range of social issues. “Providing all Americans with access to quality health care is one of the most complicated social policy issues faced by our nation. At its best, modern medicine can extend and substantially improve quality of life. The unfortunate truth is not all Americans have access to basic care. In the United States, the divide is not just between rich and poor or the insured and uninsured. It is also about where you live – in an urban or rural area.”

Walker and Falco, along with the College of Health Professions, plan to offer associated programs that align with the exhibition, including public forums that invite health-care professionals, community leaders and organizers, students, policy makers, educators and the general public to participate and discuss the issues. Additional screenings and forums are also in the works. Speaking for the Art & Design Gallery, Walker sees the ongoing collaborations with Falco and Vision Project to be an extremely valuable component of the mission of the Gallery to be a source for the creation of original and important visual communication with the community.

The Crossroads exhibition first opened in Little Rock, Ark., at the Butler Center Institute, with a film screening and forum at former President Clinton’s School for Public Service and Library.