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Pandemic Portrait Project: Community Impact in Asheville, NC

WNC Native & Award Winning, Professional Wedding & Family Portrait Photographer, based in Asheville, NC documents the living history of the families in her community as well as the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the locally owned, small businesses & non-profits rooted in this popular tourism destination, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When I asked her why she was camping out at her gallery, her answer surprised and floored me….

She said: “I could be at home planting a garden or reading a book but these artists, who I represent, some of them can’t read or write and quite a few of them aren’t represented by any other gallery and these artists need my head in the game now more than ever.”

I was completely moved and inspired by her words.

Betsey landed in Asheville in the late 70’s — so she’s seen this little mountain town grow and change quite a bit over the years. She speaks about the “innovative, brilliant minds that came together and saved this city once before” as if she isn’t one of them. She believes we can do it again and I would agree with her 1000%. #AshevilleStrong

Here are a few words from Betsy, owner of American Folk Art & Framing in downtown Asheville:

“American Folk Art & Framing debuted on May 1, 2001, and has come through a lot: 9/11, the great recession, and now Covid-19.
Deciding to lock-up on March 22 was both stabbingly difficult, yet a freeing acknowledgement of the brand new reality.
I decided to pack up some essentials and de-camp to the gallery. This decision was the best option for keeping my head in the game and supporting the 40 different artists American Folk represents.
Several of my artists do not have other galleries to represent them, and with shows cancelled, teaching opportunities shut down, more than ever our ideas about how to generate interest and sales for all of our artists is vital.
The new reality is not a total pivot, American Folk Art’s website has been an important follow-up tool beginning in 2004. Now, WWW.AMERIFOLK.COM serves as our lifeline.
The website features a page with a biography of each of our artists, and a photograph of every piece of art currently available in the gallery, along with materials, sizes and price. While the website does not have a cart, when folks call or email, we stand with the piece and share our insights, like comparing 2 paintings, or any number of ideas that might come into play that we see being here with the artwork. It’s a candid and thoughtful conversation because confidence in a purchase is important. And an important reason why being here in the gallery every day is the right decision…the website is current, and calls answered in a timely manner.
We can take credit cards over the phone, can ship or hold artwork…whatever feels right, another great reason to call.

Our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/folkartasheville/ is a bit chattier than our website, with more info on things happening today, more pictures, and announcements, stories.

American Folk Art & Framing is located at 64 Biltmore Avenue…next door to City Bakery…and every few days we change out our wonderful front windows to display any new pieces that have arrived, or some fun theme. Right now, when you are picking up your breakfast take-outs, don’t be surprised to see Betsey-Rose in her PJ’s drinking coffee and dreaming up new ideas for keeping Asheville Strong, and her artists supported.”


American Folk Art & Framing
64 Biltmore Ave
Asheville NC 28801
828-281-2134
www.amerifolk.com
folkart@amerifolk.com

American Folk Art & Framing

ABOUT THE PROJECT:

The Pandemic Porch Portrait Project began with friends & neighbors and rapidly expanded to include photojournalistic portraits of families within the Asheville community, paying special tribute to the HEROS (including but certainly not limited to: nurses, doctors, surgeons, paramedics, fire fighters, police officers, social workers, lab techs, pharmacists, engineers, etc) and again expanded to also include a profile of small business owners with photographs in front of their shops downtown and non-profits providing vital resources to our community during this crisis.

WHY?

I wanted to do what (I) can, using my unique skillset to help my community during this crisis. As a professional photographer, I believe that it is my responsibility to document this moment in history.

I am offering this opportunity to families, small businesses and non-profits within my community, to help them to document this unprecedented moment in our country’s living history. The idea for the project is to capture your family (or business/organization) as you really are, right now, in this moment. No special hair, makeup or wardrobe required & nothing is perfectly lit or posed… this is meant to be just you: real, honest, and human.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the project is to document your struggles, your resilience, your tenacity, your hope and the JOY that you create despite this crisis. Some families have opted to do a “normal” portrait and my favorites have been those families who have chosen to make light of or to make the very best of an incredibly bad situation by dressing up in costume, incorporating funny props, bubbles or signs of encouragement for their neighbors, etc!

SAFETY:

I actually shoot these portraits with a telephoto lens (70-200mm) so that I can shoot comfortably from a 50-75ft ft distance away from my subjects (I am usually at the curb, out in the yard or at the end of the driveway. I am no where near my subjects and certainly not within any distance where there could be any potential risk of virus transmission.

COST:

The cost for a Pandemic Porch Portrait is $40 (as of 4.18.2020)

$10 of every session booked will go directly to MANNA FOOD BANK on behalf of the Pandemic Porch Portrait Project Families. (as of 4.18.2020)

PAYMENT:

You can Pay Pal or Venmo me.

Venmo me: @ Brittany-Sisk OR Pay Pal me: brittanyksisk@gmail.com

This modest fee quite literally keeps gas in my car to carry on with the project, keeps the lights on, keeps a roof over our heads and keeps food on our table during this very scary and uncertain time to be an artist, a small business owner, single mother & my son’s sole provider.

From the very depths of my Soul, Thank you for your Support.

SCHEDULING:

You can schedule your very own Pandemic Portrait Project experience for your family, business or non-profit by clicking the link below to sign up for an available space on my calendar!

(I am trying to schedule folks in the same area on the same day so as to limit my running back & forth and all around the county!)

Please be aware that as I begin to look at the calendar (usually a couple days ahead of time), I will likely send an updated confirmation with your scheduled shoot time — which may change slightly as I organize a travel route that is efficient and limits backtracking!)

Wednesday: East AVL – Haw Creek, Oakley, Sweeten Creek area, Kenilworth, N. Hendersonville Rd neighborhoods + points in between.
Thursdays: Asheville City (proper) – Downtown, Five Points, Montford, Norwood, Grove Park/Sunset + points in between
Fridays: N. Asheville (UNCA area, Beaver Lake area, Woodfin)
Saturdays: West Asheville- RAD, Haywood + points in between.

⭐️ I currently spend about 4-5hrs per day on this project. I spend at least an hour per day just going through the schedule to map a route that is efficient against accomodating multiple people’s scheduling restrictions… I spend 2hrs in the car, traveling around shooting and about 2hrs editing and delivering galleries, blogging updates etc.
All this in addition to still trying to maintain two businesses, figure out the dumpster fire that is SBA/Disaster Relief Assistance and raising a 3yr alone… during a pandemic. It’s A LOT! 

I have blocked off Mondays and Tuesdays from the calendar, if you live in a surrounding community (Black Mountain, Fairview, Fletcher, Arden, Hendersonville, Candler, Canton, Waynesville, Leicester, Weaverville) I WILL come there IF you can share the opportunity with your friends / neighbors and get 5-10 other families in your hood on board for the same day / time frame (its a 2hr window, usually 3:30-5:30pm).

Why?

If I only have 2hrs per day to shoot, I can’t spend 40 minutes driving to and from just one location, instead, I try to photograph multiple homes around the same area to make the most of my time!

Just email me about it and I’ll open up a Monday or Tuesday just for your community! -Brit

CONTACT:

If you need to speak to me ahead of your session, please give me a call OR shoot me a text 828-779-8401)

The Process: I usually text when I’m en route to your location with an ETA, I’ll beep the horn when I arrive, you’ll come outside & I’ll shoot the portraits. After the shoot, I’ll edit the files and upload them into an online gallery for you to download your files or order prints, etc. I will send a link to your email with a download PIN for access to download your files! 

FOLLOW US ON THE SOCIALS!?

Facebook: @AshevillePortraitCompany
Instagram: @AshevilleWeddingPhoto

Photographer: Brittany Sisk
Native of WNC, Professional Wedding & Family Portrait Photographer located in downtown Asheville for the last eleven years.
Owner/Lead Photographer at Asheville Portrait Company – which is the umbrella company for:

WWW.ASHEVILLEFAMILYPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

 WWW.ASHEVILLEWEDDINGPHOTO.COM

Asheville family Photography

Serving Asheville, NC & Beyond

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Serving Asheville North Carolina& Beyond