Gulf Coast Community Foundation presents ‘A Place in the Sun’ at Art Center Sarasota

Exhibit’s goal is ‘to tell affordable housing super crisis in a different way,’ with portion of proceeds to be donated to Harvest House

Rhiannan Resting is one of the exhibit photos taken by Susan Sidebottom. Image courtesy of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation is partnering with award-winning portrait photographer Susan Sidebottom to bring to Sarasota “an exhibit that aims to tell the affordable housing super crisis in a different way,” the Foundation has announced.

“The exhibit will feature 25 photographs of real people in the region who lack affordable housing and other basic needs,” a news release explains. “Sidebottom’s intention is to offer a deeper understanding of the connection between people and their circumstances,” the release adds. More information on the exhibit may be found here.

Titled A Place In The Sun, Sidebottom’s photography exhibit will be presented at Art Center Sarasota from March 17 through April 30, the release notes. “A portion of the proceeds,” donated from Sidebottom and Art Center Sarasota, will benefit Harvest House for its partnership and “broad reach as a nonprofit supportive housing provider for those most at risk in the community,” the release says.

Other contributing organizations will be All Faiths Food Bank, Safe Children Coalition, St. Vincent de Paul CARES, and Unidos Now, the release adds.

Hailing from rural North Carolina, Sidebottom has talked of the fact that members of her extended family have “dealt with addiction, prison, and other challenges,” the release points out. Her family also was “filled with love, generosity, openness, and forgiveness,” the release says. “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, the release adds, including Mumbai, India; and Sydney, Australia, “but her work always brings her back to her roots.”

After researching the Sarasota region, the release continues, Sidebottom reached out to organizations, including the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, in regard to 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,” the release points out.

“Susan’s ability to get to know her subjects, and then share their truth, is inspiring,” said Gulf Coast Director of Community Leadership Jennifer Johnston in the release. “These images bring an untold story about Sarasota to life.”

“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,” the release explains. “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 release points out. “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,” the release adds.

“With her collaborative and non-judgmental approach, Sidebottom gets to deeply understand her photography subjects,” the release notes. “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 in the release.

Art Center Sarasota is located at 707 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Image from its website

“Some of the most courageous people I know have walked through the doors of Harvest House,” said Erin Minor, CEO of Harvest House, in the release. “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,” Minor added in the release.

“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,” the release continues. “More so, that it’s actually necessary they be a part of the solution.”

Gulf Coast’s leaders encourage residents of the region to visit the 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,” the release says.