Street Smarts

The circa ’60s black-and-white photos from Afghanistan show women without a headscarf, in pencil skirts and bare legs. “It's straight out of the ’60s here in the Midwest,” explains Shannon Galpin, founder of Mountain2Mountain. “This was the course they were on until forty years of war ravaged the country, and I think it illustrates beautifully why Mountain2Mountain believes change is possible in Afghanistan.”

The Colorado-based nonprofit is working toward that change, providing educational opportunities for girls in areas of conflict -– and it will raise funds for those programs with Streets of Afghanistan, an exhibit of both current and historic photographs that has its nationwide premiere at the Denver Art Museum tonight. “Three years ago, I envisioned this exhibit as a way to connect communities and cultures through the power of photography and storytelling,” Galpin explains. “I traveled to Afghanistan in October 2008 and met with several emerging Afghan photojournalists, and realized that I could make this a collaborative show, perspectives of this oft-misunderstood region from both Western and Afghan lenses.... I had the idea of a large-scale, multimedia exhibit that would take the art off the wall and amongst the audience. So I found a Denver-based company that could produce the images six to eight feet tall on stands, and we'll combine that with video project, music, and live action and storytelling.”

After this premiere, the show will travel to Telluride, Breckenridge, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., and finally Afghanistan, where Galpin will soon head to push her program. Tickets to tonight's event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the DAM, 101 West 14th Avenue Parkway, are $75 ($150 VIP tickets include a reception at 5:30); for more information, go to www.streetsofafghanistan.org.
Thu., April 28, 6:30 p.m., 2011

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun