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Award-winning photographer to visit WVU-P

John Noltner of Minnesota, an award-winning photographer, will present several exhibits and workshops at the Center for Civic Engagement at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — John Noltner, a Minnesota photographer who has shot for national magazines and Fortune 500 companies, will visit the Center for Civic Engagement at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, sharing photos and stories from his award-winning series “A Peace of My Mind” with the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Noltner will transform downtown Parkersburg businesses and organizations into exhibits, featuring portraits and stories from people of diverse backgrounds responding to the question, “What does peace mean to you?” Since 2009, he has driven over 40,000 miles across the U.S., meeting individuals and telling their stories.

“I’ve learned that storytelling can help build a community,” Noltner said. “When we share our stories, we begin to see ourselves and those around us in new ways.”

The community may view the “American Stories” exhibit through a free walking tour until Nov. 6. Participants are asked to follow social distancing and mask-wearing policies when viewing displays and entering local establishments.

Displays will be exhibited at:

* WVU Parkersburg Center for Civic Engagement, 414 Market St.

* Parkersburg Art Center, 725 Market St.

* Actors Guild of Parkersburg, 724 Market St.

* Wood County Society, 317 Eighth St.

* Artsbridge, 925 Market St.

* Edward Jones Office, 617 Market St.

Noltner also invites residents to be a part of his new exhibit, “Voices of the Mid-Ohio Valley.” From Tuesday to Friday, Noltner will host an on-site studio at the Center for Civic Engagement. Individuals wishing to have their portrait taken and share their voice and personal stories may make an appointment by calling 304 424-8341.

“I’m looking forward to gathering stories about resilience in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” Noltner said. “We have all been through a lot over the past several months and storytelling has the ability to remind us how much we are connected, even as we may be apart.”

“Voices of the Mid-Ohio Valley” will be on display at the Center for Civic Engagement from Nov. 4 to Nov. 14.

WVU Parkersburg will host two master class workshops with the artist for those wanting to learn more about photography, storytelling and writing.

* Wide-Eyed Rambler: Photographing the surrounding beauty and wisdom will be held on Nov. 3. During the session, Noltner will share his techniques and processes for photographing people, places and things while crafting storytelling images. He will use examples of his own photography from across the country and world.

* Soul Sessions: Writing to reveal our personal story will be held on Nov. 4. Noltner will lead a writing workshop designed to explore your own story and celebrate your mission, vision and values in the world. Participants will complete short writing exercises and open discussions, tapping into themes of vulnerability, courage and connection.

Both sessions will be from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Center for Civic Engagement and are free and open to the public. Limited seats are available to accommodate social distancing. Please email wed@wvup.edu or call 304.424.8606 to register.

Programming is sponsored by the WVU Parkersburg, WVU at Parkersburg Foundation, Ross Foundation, First Energy, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, Arts Collaborative of the Mid-Ohio Valley and Judy Sjostedt Richie.

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