Granville, NY – The Slate Valley Museum will soon welcome back visitors for a new season of activities, and when its doors open, it will also open a new special exhibition featuring stories from across the Atlantic.
This year, the museum will present Quarrymen, an exhibition curated by Welsh photographer Carwyn Rhys Jones. Previously on view at the National Slate Museum and other venues in Wales, this special exhibition is comprised of a short documentary and photography stills. It features Jones' creative use of double exposure in photography – representing the human subject and textures and images connected to their life stories – and a video documentary. The resulting presentation offers rich, layered visual storytelling as well as film footage that captures the stories of quarrymen who once worked in the quarries of Northern Wales. Viewers see those stories both through the eyes of the artist and in the quarrymen’s own words.
Origins and Slate Valley Ties
Jones became captivated by the slate industry during his time in university. He began with photography that focused on the landscape, how industrialization had changed it, and the new landscape that came to be as a result. “The natural next step was to look at the people of the quarries,” explains Jones. “I am very interested in people and their stories. Everyone has a story to be shared.”
The Slate Valley Museum in Granville has longstanding ties to the industry in Wales.
“The slate industry here was heavily influenced by Welsh slateworkers,” explains Executive Director Sarah Kijowski. “When slate was discovered in farm fields in the Slate Valley, the residents lacked the skills to do anything with it. At the time, the massive slate industry in Wales was experiencing labor strikes and conditions that made relocating seem appealing. Slate workers were actually recruited to come to America – specifically the Slate Valley – where they really led the establishment of the industry.”
That cultural and industrial history tie the two countries together in history, and today. The Slate Valley Museum and National Slate Museum in Wales twinned several years ago and have a connection.
“That’s actually how Carwyn came to us,” notes Kijowski. He had previously exhibited Quarrymen at the National Slate Museum in Wales and they suggested to him that we might be interested in sharing it here. And they were absolutely correct. We are very excited to offer this exhibition this year as a sort of refreshment and a reminder of the connection between the Welsh slate industry and ours here in the Slate Valley.”
Jones is traveling to the United States and will be at the Slate Valley Museum to participate in the exhibition’s opening events.
“It has always been a dream of mine to be able to have my work travel the world,” shares Jones regarding his upcoming visit to the States. “You and your community have made this possible for me and I am so grateful to have this chance.”
The museum will hold a preview reception for Quarrymen on Friday, May 19 from 7-9pm. The event will offer a first look at the exhibition, the opportunity to meet Jones, and an array of refreshments. Jones will also provide a brief curator’s tour of the exhibit.
Quarrymen will open to the public in conjunction with the museum’s spring reopening celebration on Saturday, May 20. Jones will offer a curator’s talk and discussion program at 10am to kick off the day. Light refreshments will also be available in the morning.
The cost to attend the preview reception is $15. Museum members may attend for free.
The cost to attend the Saturday curator’s talk is $10, with free admission for museum members.
Regular museum admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens (65+). Admission is free for children, members of the military, and slate workers.
The exhibition will remain on view through November 4 of this year.
About Carwyn Rhys Jones: Carwyn Rhys Jones is a photographer from North Wales. Learn more about him and see more of his work on Instagram at carwynrhysjones. You can also follow him on Twitter.
About the Slate Valley Museum: The Slate Valley Museum will open for the season on May 20. Hours will be Tuesday through Friday from noon until 4pm and Saturday from 10am until 4pm. Special “mask-only” hours only for visitors who will wear masks are Tuesday and Friday mornings from 10am-Noon. The museum is located at 17 Water Street in Granville, NY. More information is available on its website, www.SlateValleyMuseum.org. The museum also has pages on Facebook and Twitter - @SlateMuseum.
Photo Caption: Carwyn Rhys Jones. Courtesy Carwyn Rhys Jones.
Sarah Kijowski, Executive Director