Decades after Asheville’s businesses and schools were officially desegregated, some local communities are still living very much separate lives. And some of those communities still go largely unseen—or unnoticed—by their neighbors.
Liam Luttrell-Rowland is out to change that for the young residents of Asheville’s predominantly African-American Erskine neighborhood. He’s put their daily lives in the spotlight with a new video documentary, New Segregations, which debuts at the W.C. Reid Center for Creative Arts this week. The film will be accompanied by an exhibit of 100 photos taken by young neighborhood residents.
“This show is about giving them a voice,” explains Luttrell-Rowland, a UNCA student graduating this month who’s tutored in local schools for the past four years. “It’s intended to get people to dialogue about the school system and about new forms of segregation in the system, and to humanize people through video and photography.”
Much of the documentary, he says, came together during a series of Monday-night “real-talk dialogues” he conducted with the camera running. Most of the participants were young people, but the budding director says he was surprised to find that, as the project evolved, more and more adults came to play a role.
“I found that there’s really a lot of beautiful relationships between the kids and older people in the community,” he says. “One of things about giving these kids a voice is to find out what it is that makes those relationships work—how community leaders can listen to these kids and work with them.”
New Segregations, a 45-minute documentary, will debut on Thursday and Friday, May 10 and 11, at the Reid Center (133 Livingston St.). Both the photo exhibit and the film screenings, which will take place every hour from 5 to 9 p.m. both days, are free and open to the public. For more information, call 350-2048.