Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Flagler Beach Photography Club Captures First Responders

 FLAGLER BEACH, FL – In May 2016 David Bowers, president of the Flagler Beach Photography Club, approached Frank Gromling, owner of Ocean Art Gallery where David is a displaying artist, with a request for a special art show entitled “Get to Know Your Emergency Responders.” Bowers asked if the gallery could be the venue for an exhibit of photographic art featuring the county‘s first responders. This project, a combination of photo journalism and art, is designed to instill in the community a sense of connection ​between citizens and the 9-1-1 responders, who just might be the person next door or down the street; maybe even a family member.

Gromling and Ocean Art Gallery have been connected with community-based projects for a long time, so it was an easy decision for him to agree with the request. Plans began immediately for a two-part exhibit with a private opening reception for the emergency responders on Friday, July 22 and a nine-day display for the public on July 23-31. Then, the real work began as Bowers arranged for club members to photograph the personnel who provide fire, emergency medical, and law enforcement services throughout the county.
Bowers said, “In that we never intended to be part of an actual emergency response, it was necessary to coordinate our photographic efforts with the cooperating agencies’ training schedules. Their willingness to assist with this project and arrange their training around us was quite gratifying.”
Bowers also obtained the interest and support of Brian McMillan, Palm Coast Observer’s editor, who quickly agreed to run a four-part feature in his newspaper to highlight different components of the emergency service community. Written by journalist Carol Kines, and complemented by photographs taken by different club members, the Observer articles provided an excellent awareness for the upcoming exhibit.
All fire, EMS, and law enforcement personnel, including administrative and support staff of county and city emergency service departments, plus county and city elected officials, are invited to the private showing of “Get to Know Your First Responders” on Friday, July 22 with an official welcome at 6:00 PM at Ocean Art Gallery, 206 Moody Blvd. (SR 100), Flagler Beach. There is parking behind the building and on neighboring streets and city parking lots.
Beginning on Saturday, July 23, the exhibit will be on display to the public every day, including Monday (July 25) when the gallery is normally closed, through July 31. Hours will be 12 noon to 6:00 PM daily.
All 50 pieces of the photographic exhibit will be available for sale, with a percentage of all proceeds being shared by the gallery with the Flagler Beach Photography Club participating members, and the emergency responder departments to benefit their personnel.

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