On Friday, September 13th the exhibition Stories of Our Stuff: Hurricane Michael, One Year Later had its closing reception in the William Johnston Building Gallery. The show centered on the ways in which the meanings of everyday objects shift in the face of a natural disaster. The exhibition featured the meaningful objects of community members affected by Hurricane Michael, as well as photographs of these objects captured by Dr. Ansley Simmons, a visual artist and alumna of FSU’s Art Education Department.
The exhibition included several interactive opportunities, including a light box and phone tripod for visitors to create high-quality photos of their own personal objects. Additionally, notepads were provided for individuals to respond to prompts including, “What belonging do you treasure?”, “What belonging do you relate to in the exhibition?”, and “What belonging would you take during an evacuation?”. There was a wall of the gallery open for visitors to display their answers.
Dr. Irvin Clark, Associate Dean of Faculty Development & Administrative Affairs of the FSU Panama City Campus, spoke at the closing reception. Dr. Clark’s chainsaw was one of the objects featured in the exhibition. During the closing reception, he discussed the role it played in helping his family and community members during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael. He discussed how the chainsaw, once a tool used only for yardwork, became an object that built community and brought people together, remarking, “It wasn’t just about clearing out your driveway, it was about helping your neighbor.”