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Cheerleaders, big and small, support their team at a home game. Newburgh Free Academy, Newburgh, NY Ben Moldenhauer/P4H Photographers For Hope, September 25, 2015

Cheerleaders, big and small, support their team at a home game.
Newburgh Free Academy, Newburgh, NY
Ben Moldenhauer/P4H, September 25, 2015


Photographers for Hope: Newburgh Revival

“Photographers for Hope: Newburgh Revival” featuring a collection of photographs telling stories of a community that is struggling but on the mend is on display in the lobby gallery of the Newburgh Free Library through Feb. 26.The nine photographers from 7 countries, led by the legendary photojournalist and Newburgh resident David Burnett, shot and produced this exhibition in just 10 days from the end of September to the beginning of October, 2015.

The team of photographers from as far away as Hong Kong, Geneva and India, are part of a photographers’ collective called “Photographers for Hope” whose mission is to use the power of images to support positive social change. They have previously worked in the slums of Brazil, the streets of Bangladesh and forest in Indonesia, and chose Newburgh this time because they wanted to turn their lens on a historic city that is rebuilding itself.

photographers of hope photo 2
“In the four years I have lived in Newburgh, it has always been a nice place to come back to from an out-of-town or out-of-country trip. Often when returning, one of my cousins here would pester me about always going somewhere else to take photographs. Why didn’t I do something here?”, said Burnett. “Finally I approached the group who I have worked with since its inception, and to my surprise, everyone loved the idea.”

Newburgh is one of the country’s most important cities, historically and architecturally. However, that proud history, dating back to George Washington and the Revolutionary War, has been overshadowed by economic decline and decay. In less than 10 days, the photographers combed the city and their images brought to life stories of entrepreneurship, struggle, resilience – giving voice to a community that believes they can change the trajectory of history.

“This is an important story to tell. Currently, the rhetoric in America seems to be “American Cities on the Decline”. Positive stories of cities making a comeback are rarely told in the press,” said Anna Wang, the founder of Photographers for Hope. “Our project is not about shining a positive light on the city; it’s about the real story on the ground. It’s about people who want to do right by their children, and not just their kids, all of the kids in a community. Newburgh is a city that has been quietly doing soul searching and building up a groundswell of change. We were really moved by what we saw.”
Photographers for Hope, an informal collective of professional and amateur photographers, channels the common drive of photographers for compelling stories and opportunities to use their skills for good. All of them donate their time for these projects. What binds the group is also their sense of camaraderie where friendship and good pictures trump egos.

“We are friends first, and then photographers. Funny thing is we make better pictures this way. Our hope is that these stories will inspire people to play a positive role in their own community and get connected to part of the city that they might not know,” said Wang, “I don’t know how many people came up to me, completely dumbfounded that there is a rodeo in Newburgh!”

For more information, contact the Newburgh Free Library at (845) 563-3600 or (845) 563-3619. To see all upcoming events, go to newburghlibrary.org and click on “Calendar of Events”.

If you wish to view the exhibit when the gate is down, please ask a guard to open the gate.

Exhibit Space

A spacious gallery space in the lobby of the Newburgh Free Library is the site of monthly exhibits and art shows by local artists. Many of the artists offer receptions to showcase their art and meet the public. In addition, glass cases showcase local collections and displays related to library and literary-related events.

Exhibit Policy

The Newburgh Free Library welcomes exhibits by Hudson Valley artists. The exhibits are hung by the artists themselves and are usually on display for one month. For more information, please see the Exhibit and Display Registration Form and Waiver as well as the Exhibit Spaces and Bulletin Boards Policy. If you are interested in exhibiting, please call the library, 845-563-3619 or 563-3645. Samples of work are required before an exhibit can be scheduled.


In addition, the library has a number of display cases that showcase special collections or materials loaned by local artists and individuals. If you have a special collection or small project you would like to display, please call 845-563-3619 or 563-3645.