March First Friday: Jacob Riis

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M-­AAA Presents the Premiere of Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives

Mid-America Arts Alliance is pleased to present an exhibition preview of NEH on the Road’s Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives for First Friday March 2 from 6:00–8:00 p.m. at 2018 Baltimore in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District.

Jacob Riis (1849–1914) was a pioneering newspaper reporter and social reformer in New York at the turn of the twentieth century. His then-­novel idea of using photographs of the city’s slums to illustrate the plight of impoverished residents established Riis as forerunner of modern photojournalism. Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives features photographs by Riis and his contemporaries, as well as his handwritten journals and personal correspondence.

By taking photographs to accompany his newspaper articles, Riis first began documenting the lives of the impoverished and the places they lived and took refuge. With the development of flash powder, he was able to illuminate nighttime images of those living and working in alleyways, tenements, and sweat shops, among other squalid places in the city. His interests in writing about “how the other half lived” grew, and over his lifetime Riis wrote many books about the urban poor that included his photographs.

Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives will be on view for First Friday on March 2 from 6:00–8:00 p.m., with other hours by appointment. It closes March 9.