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/ Exhibitions / 21st Annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition

21st Annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition

February 2, 2024 – June 1, 2024

Bickers Gallery

Roots. Ground. Water. Seed.

Appalachia. A region. An idea. An imaginative and geopolitical landscape with real land(s) and real people(s)–those living, those who have passed on, and those to come. These mountains, valleys and streams, hollers and cities, dirt roads and railroad tracks texture our lives and craft our many histories. They build a felt sense of place. 

My story (a snippet): I grew up not in the mountains, but always going to them–a ritual homecoming as we gathered each month with my Daddy’s family in the Swannanoa Valley. As Daddy and all but one of his siblings have transitioned to the ancestral realm, I often lay my eyes on these hills and valleys (IRL and in my dreamworld) to center myself and to return home to them…to me.

The stories reflected in these photographs reveal the specificity of you/me/him/her/they as well as the common and collective (the we/us). Whether embodied by grandma’s hands, animals grazing, raindrops resting on leaves, banjos fixin’ to be played, painted church windows, rebel flags or carrots pulled fresh from earth, they call us to question. To dream. To remember. To muse.  Who’s at the center of these lands? Who’s at the center of this story? What is the story, here? What is this place? And what if there’s not one story–there isn’t y’all–but a multiplicity of narratives that bob and weave, overlap, criss-cross and diverge?

“Roots, Ground, Water, Seeds” is an effort to amplify visual artists whose photography considers our many and intertwining ancestral roots; our connection and relationship to the land, the ground we walk on, the lives these lands have supported and the way Appalachian earth demands and yearns for our conscious care. Here, you dip into the waterways and communities that sustain and repair us and witness the seeds that birth new life/futures, rejuvenate our soil and spirits, and spark necessary political change. Here in this place, you/we/I bear witness to a personal and collective archive. Come in. Listen. See.

21st Annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition

Jax Gaglianese-Woody, Not a Sea Anemone

About the juror

Juror: E. Gale Greenlee, Ph.D.

Gale Greenlee, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is a writer-educator, an independent children’s literature and Black Girlhood Studies scholar, and a recent teacher-scholar in residence at the bell hooks center at Berea College. Born in Greensboro, NC, she is the granddaughter of farmers from rural South Carolina and a descendent of five generations of Affrilachians who called Western North Carolina home. Broadly interested in pop culture, Black Appalachian literature, memory work and Black feminist legacy keeping, Gale is a longtime arts advocate whose childhood dream was to travel across the U.S. in an RV selling her art. Her public humanities work focuses on curating literary and cultural programs for community spaces, and she is committed to creating ethical collaborations and weaving art in her world. From teaching courses such as “Women of Color: Art, Justice and Joy” at The Ohio State University, organizing artist talks, co-curating a permanent installation at the bell hooks center, to writing about Black craft as a Center for Craft Archival Research Fellow, Gale works to amplify the artistic traditions of historically marginalized communities.

Exhibition finalists

  • Christopher Burton
  • Heather Cormons
  • Jax Gaglianese-Woody
  • Frederica Georgia
  • Carrie Hanrahan
  • Caleb Hayes
  • Tucker Hibbitts
  • Ben Hill
  • Cary Hitchcock
  • Cinda Holscombach-Ebner
  • Lauren Kern
  • Michael Snyder
  • Evan Bates
  • Ann Kunz
  • Mark Mahoney
  • Tyler McRae
  • Sophie Mead
  • David O’Daniel
  • Robert Parker
  • Becky Price
  • Katie Richard
  • Kelsey Riso
  • Robert Seevers
  • Mitzi Simmons
  • Matt Ballain
  • Ken Barrett

About the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition

Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition logo

Following last year’s 20th Anniversary Celebration for the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition (AMPC), the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is pleased to host this year’s 21st Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition exhibition.

Inspired by the Banff Centre’s Mountain Photo Competition, this year’s AMPC features three series finalists alongside 23 single-image finalists. Highlighting the AMPC’s vision to support the expansion of Appalachian narratives, artists submitted work aligned with this year’s theme of “Roots, Ground, Water, Seeds” chosen by juror Dr. E. Gale Greenlee.

Please visit the gallery in person to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award!


2023-2024 Calendar

  • Online Submission System Opens September 22, 2023
  • Deadline for Entries November 18, 2023 @ 5 PM EST
  • Notifications Emailed December 8, 2023
  • Artwork Delivery Dates January 17-20, 2024
  • Exhibition Dates February 2 – June 1, 2024
  • BANFF Weekend March 21-23, 2024
  • AMPC Portfolio Reviews, Panel Discussion, & Awards Reception March 23, 2024

Thank you to our sponsors!

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