September 15, 2016 | By Emily Dingmann
Immersive, Interactive Experience Reveals Faces, Stories of America’s Hidden Hungry
LOS ANGELES, CA (September 15, 2016) – MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger announced today a first-of-its-kind free exhibit that will launch before Thanksgiving to bring Americans face to face with the stark realities of hunger in the United States. Through state-of-the-art storytelling techniques and interactive elements, the “This Is Hunger” mobile installation will engage thousands of visitors as it travels nationwide.
“While millions of Americans struggle with hunger every day, the reality of hunger in America is still largely invisible,” said Abby Leibman, MAZON’s president and CEO. “With this initiative, we’re humanizing food insecurity in a way that no anti-hunger organization has done before. The immersive elements take the experience of learning people’s stories to a deeper level than what news articles or standard photo gallery exhibitions can usually accomplish.”
Forty-two million Americans – more than one in eight people of all ethnicities and ages – struggle with hunger. In its annual report on food security released last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that nearly 13 percent of households had difficulty at some point last year in providing enough food for their families.
To raise awareness about the prevalence of hunger in America, MAZON, a 30-year-old nonprofit organization known for its advocacy efforts in the fight against hunger, designed the exhibit as a community engagement campaign. MAZON enlisted members of the creative team behind the acclaimed Noah’s Ark exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles to help bring “This Is Hunger” to life.
“This Is Hunger” features black and white portraits and stories of dozens of Americans who have had difficulty putting enough nutritious food on the table each day. Through digital and hands-on activities, participants are taken on a compelling journey that draws them into the real-life circumstances of these individuals and deepens their awareness about who in America struggles with hunger and why. Visitors are then encouraged to educate others and advocate for change.
“Hunger is usually thought of in stereotypes, such as those who are homeless or children with distended bellies living in a developing country,” said Barbara Grover, an internationally renowned photojournalist who was commissioned to take the “This Is Hunger” profiles. Grover has traveled to more than 40 countries and won the prestigious Ernst Haas award for her images of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. “But in America, the reality of hunger is nuanced and hidden. It could be your neighbor who just got cancer or the single mother who just lost her job.”
“This Is Hunger” is housed in a 53-foot-long double expandable semitrailer. When parked and opened on both sides, it provides nearly 1,000 square feet of exhibit space. The outside of the trailer is wrapped with phrases collected from the profile interviews, turning the trailer into a mobile public service announcement as it travels the nation’s highways.
The exhibit will launch at Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles on Nov. 16 and remain in the L.A. area through Dec. 18. “This Is Hunger” will then continue its 10-month national tour, stopping in more than 30 cities in and around Phoenix, Tucson, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C., the greater New York City area, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.
For a complete list of tour dates and locations, as well as free ticket reservations and more information about “This Is Hunger,” visit thisishunger.org.
About MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Founded in 1985, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is a leading nonprofit advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel. For more information, please visit mazon.org.