Growing Season

The Life of a Migrant Community

September 19 – October 25, 2006

Photographs by Gary Harwood with text by David Hassler

Presented in the Riffe Center lobby, Growing Season includes original photographs accompanied by text panels that give viewers an intimate glimpse into the lives of a tight-knit community and provide a new understanding of the migrant experience.

Gary Harwood and David Hassler combine photography and words to create a stunning portrait of a community rich in social capital and give voice in a new way to a group of people that are largely unseen and misunderstood.

“When I first received permission, in 2001, to photograph the migrant workers on a family farm in Hartville, Ohio, I anticipated that I would be documenting hardship,” said Harwood. “Migrant workers continually face difficult conditions while trying to support themselves and their families. Farm work is physical, hot and dirty. The days in the fields are long and exhausting, and there is no shortage of documented cases of terrible living and working conditions—what I found; however, was a very different story.”

Harwood photographed the Mexican American and Mexican migrant families over the course of several growing seasons. Though his work began with field photos, over time he focused more on family pictures, as he was invited to photograph baptisms, first communions, weddings, birthday parties, and private family events.

In 2004 writer David Hassler began collaborating with Harwood on this documentary project, which has become both an exhibition and a book.

This project was funded by an Ohio Arts Council 2006 Artists and Communities grant.

Gary Harwood is a 2006 OAC Individual Excellence Award recipient, and David Hassler is a 2000 OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award recipient.

For more information on the book (available in September 2006), visit http://upress.kent.edu/.

The Riffe Center lobby is open Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. and during regular gallery hours during the weekend. The lobby and gallery are closed on state holidays.

The Riffe Gallery is supported by Ohio Building Authority. Media sponsors for this exhibition include Alive, CityScene, Ohio Magazine and Time Warner.

View the press release for Growing Season.

Tour some of the work!

These are a sample of images from the exhibition and are for personal/educational use only. These images are protected by a photographic copyright that belongs to the Ohio Arts Council. They, therefore, are not in the public domain.

All photographs are courtesy Gary Harwood and text is courtesy David Hassler.

Image of photograph by Gary Harwood titled Ancient Art shows a cutting crew harvesting at dawn.
Image of photograph by Gary Harwood titled Bishop Court shows Bishop John Manz celebrating mass on a basketball court near migrant housing.

Ancient Art
A cutting crew begins work harvesting an assigned section of the farm at daybreak. The foreman on the far left oversees the harvest while another worker distributes crates to the workers in the rows.

Bishop Court
In an opportunity of a lifetime, Bishop John Manz celebrates mass on a basketball court near migrant housing on the Zellers Farm. Bishop Manz is the liaison to migrant ministries for the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Image of a photography by Gary Harwood titled Princess shows a child in an angel costume taking a chair back into her home. Image of a photograph by Gary Harwood titled Field Bouquet, which shows a migrant worker harvesting radishes during a morning rain.

After a passerby brings a variety of household items to the families in Royer camp, a child breaks from a costume party to take a chair to her home. Occasionally, and often without notice, people will distribute clothes and household items to the migrants and to the Migrant Center.

Field Bouquet
Prepared for inclement weather, Patricia Prieto works with her crew to harvest radishes during a morning rain. Because radishes can withstand cool temperatures, they are an ideal crop for planting throughout the growing season.