When he dreamed up the multimedia show "Facing East: 48 Hours in the Life of East Austin," Harold McMillan might not have set out to document the ebb and flow of gentrification and stagnation that East Austin has witnessed over the past decade or so. But that's what his ongoing photography and filmmaking challenge has accomplished.
The founder and director of DiverseArts Culture Works has been overseeing the series, in which photographers and videographers are given two days to capture impressions of the Central East Side and get a chance to have their work exhibited afterward, for a little more than 10 years. During that time, artists have hit the streets of neighborhoods witnessing marked and rapid change, transformations both cheered and resisted. It's a familiar American story in a specific American place, one that can feel utterly changed and innately familiar at any given moment.
They are moments that the Facing East series has captured with poignancy and beauty. The work of this year's participants – a group that includes Jennifer Crews, Alejandro Moreno Alanis, Thomas Fierro, Katrina Simpson and Richard Lynn – is no exception.
The Facing East 2013 exhibit opening is Saturday, September 14, at 7pm, at New East Arts Gallery. It will feature the work of five photographers displaying five to 10 images each and will showcase 10 minutes of the participating video- and filmmakers' work. The winner of the exhibit's Best in Show title will also be announced. It promises to be another moment of constancy and change in East Austin.