If you’ve stepped foot in The Latchis Theatre lately, you’ve probably noticed the enormous array of faces that have consumed the wall opposite the concession stand. This colossal collage is more than just something to stare at while you wait in line for popcorn — it’s an homage to the dedicated leaders of The Latchis, and part of a wider mission in Brattleboro. They’re not just Latchis leaders; they’re pieces of the local community.
The wall consists of 39 black-and-white portraits, each individual being connected to The Latchis in some way. They’re board members, dedicated employees, and even a Latchis descendant — anyone who plays a part in helping The Latchis grow and thrive.
Each photograph is captioned with the name, role, and a special quote or fact about the community member. If you passed them on the street, would you know that one individual is an experienced juggler and another is a recreational gamer? The members also include parents, culinary lovers, and even an independent filmmaker.
Bringing The Latchis to Life
It’s easy to understand what the project is, but why? Jon Potter, Executive Director of Latchis Arts, hopes for the wall to accomplish three goals:
1. Put a human face to The Latchis, allowing the opportunity to see who is helping to keep The Latchis alive and well.
2. Show the public that The Latchis is being maintained by their friends, neighbors, and community members — some of them can be surprisingly-familiar faces!
3. Allow Latchis staff and board members to become more familiar with each other through a linked display of portraits.
Enhancing the Community Through the Arts
To tackle this project, we reached out to Christopher Irion, a professional portrait photographer who has worked with around 26 communities nationwide. His work ranges from businesses to schools, including University of California Berkeley and HBO Creative in New York.
The Latchis community was the perfect fit for the project’s next installment. Irion built his national PhotoBooth Project to “enhance community through photography,” overlapping with the main mission of Latchis Arts, which is to enhance the community through the arts.
However, the scope of the project stems beyond The Latchis community itself. We aim to piece together parts of the community that may be seen as distanced or disparate, and show how each and every person in the town contributes to the town’s identity. The faces on the wall may operate The Latchis, but more than that, they’re our friends and neighbors. They’re Brattleboro community members like everyone else, whose quirkiness and individualism contribute to what we know Brattleboro to be — a town with a big heart and character like none other.
One thing’s for sure: the photo wall is a real showstopper. Be sure to take a swing by the theatre to see some familiar or not-as-familiar faces — and if you see them “off the wall” as you explore Brattleboro, don’t be afraid to say hi!