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Avila's Thornhill Gallery to premiere interactive/3D exhibit of Joplin storm images
Prof. J. Anthony Snorgrass, Ph.D., gathered shots of responses to May 22 disaster


August 23, 2011

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KANSAS CITY, Mo - -The Thornhill Gallery will premiere {HOPE}'s Stations: Faith, Patriotism & Brands, an interactive exhibit by Avila University professor J. Anthony Snorgrass, Ph.D., showcasing photographs and video he shot while working with the Joplin, Mo. tornado {HOPE} Station relief teams throughout the summer.

The photography focuses on Joplin residents' responses to the destruction caused by the May 22 F5 tornado and their personal and community resilience symbolized by their expressions of faith, patriotism, and branding that permeated the community.

Marci Aylward, Thornhill Gallery director, said Snorgrass shot more than 500 photographs and 22 hours of video footage that have been culled into a dynamic and moving exhibit.

"I am pleased to open the academic year with an exhibit that is both timely and of this magnitude", Aylward said.
Snorgrass is a professor with Avila's School of Visual and Communication Arts and owner of AdVantage Associates, a non-profit social media-marketing firm. He spent much of the summer joining forces with iKros and {HOPE} Station to assist with communications associated with the delivery of relief, supplies, and services in tornado-ravaged Joplin.

Stephanie Tillman, founder of {HOPE} Station, a disaster relief program, met Snorgrass at a South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce seminar held on Avila's campus in early June where they both were presenters. After a brief conversation following the event, Snorgrass agreed to help direct the social media, broadcast, and media communications associated with the {HOPE} Station relief efforts.

"Communication during times of high stress and uncertainty is always a challenge," Tillman said, "but Snorgrass' willingness to join the team brought a level of professionalism and expertise that benefited the efficiency and effectiveness of the full range of our programs."

Snorgrass felt that the location of the {HOPE} Station, near St. John's Hospital, St. Mary's Church, and Joplin High School - all destroyed by the storm - served as an impactful and inspirational visual backdrop for his work. Snorgrass emphasized that in shooting both his photographs and videos, extra precautions and sensitivities were taken to avoid interfering with or exploiting personal mourning, sorrow, and loss. Instead, he focused on capturing the special sense of place and community exemplified by the individual and collective expressions of faith, patriotism, and brand messages, which served to galvanize the recovery efforts.

The exhibit will run from August 24 - September 9. An opening reception, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, August 26th at the Thornhill Gallery.



Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.