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Photography Exhibit Hopes to Stir Muslim American Understanding

“Muslim/American, American/Muslim,” a black-and-white photography exhibit showing Muslim Americans in their daily lives, is the next exhibit at The Gallery at Penn College.

On display Jan. 14 through March 4, the works by photographer Robert Gerhardt seek to stir cultural understanding. A Meet the Artist Reception is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, featuring a 5:30 p.m. gallery talk. The reception and exhibit are open to the public and free of charge.

“Young Girl at Prayers with her Father” – gelatin silver print
“Young Girl at Prayers with her Father” – gelatin silver print

Gerhardt, who was born in Georgia and grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, was raised as a Roman Catholic and gravitated toward photography while studying at the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Massachusetts. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in anthropology/sociology, Gerhardt earned a Master of Fine Arts in photography from the Lesley University College of Art and Design in Boston.

“My goal for this project is to try to understand and document the intersection between ‘Muslim’ and ‘American,’ since the latter part of this community’s identity is often forgotten,” the artist said. “I began photographing for this project on the first night of Ramadan in 2010, and I continue to make photographs through the present day. My hope is that this photo series can encourage a dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims in America that attempts to erase the boundaries that engender a sense of ‘them’ and begin to foster a sense of ‘us.’”

“Muslim/American, American/Muslim” has been exhibited at several colleges throughout the United States.

Gerhardt’s works have also been in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada and Europe, and his photography is in a number of private collections. He has lived and worked in New York City since 1999.

The Gallery at Penn College is on the third floor of Madigan Library. The gallery is open 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays; 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

In addition to serving as an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the college and community, the gallery is dedicated to promoting art appreciation through exhibitions of contemporary art.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.


Bill Astore,

An excellent initiative. I served with Muslim-Americans in the U.S. military. One of my best officers was an Iraqi-American who escaped from Iraq in the early 1990s. Other Muslim-Americans that I got to know were teachers at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California. They were loyal, dedicated, hard-working Americans. Great people.

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