Visualizing Our Community, Ourselves: APAH Data Walk with Photographs by Matthew Swanson
November 15, 2019 – January 3, 2020
For Advent 2019, St. Michael’s seeks to draw attention to those presiding at the margins of our community. We plan to do this through “Visualizing Our Community, Ourselves,” an art exhibit pairing the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s (APAH) “Data Walk” with images by Washington, D.C., area resident Matthew Swanson. Matthew has been photographing for St. Michael’s our immediate surroundings and people, places, and activities in the greater Westover community.
The Advent exhibition invites us to compare and contrast what we think we know about our racially and economically diverse community with the often difficult-to-accept facts illustrated in APAH’s “Data Walk” — a set of stand-alone posters presenting data, trends, and analyses of general demographic information about Arlington County and such “not-in-my-backyard” issues as income inequality, homelessness, and hunger.
Some of us may be surprised at the discrepancies between Matthew Swanson’s images and the APAH data. Some of us may learn something new: for example, that a third of our neighbors struggle to keep a roof over their heads, have enough food to satisfy their hunger, and lack what many of us take for granted, such as access to excellent health care, educational opportunities, and job training. And finally, some of us may find our vision of the “good life” in Arlington so challenged by the Data Walk that we become advocates for change, pledging to help correct the inequities in our community that our pictures of ourselves fail to show.
There will be opportunities throughout Advent and for a brief period thereafter (the exhibition will remain on view until January 3, 2020) to take the Data Walk, discuss the data and the conclusions you might draw from it, and, through increased awareness, explore how we at St. Michael’s might best turn God’s enduring light on those in need.