Art gallery hosts exhibit from Pulitzer Prize winner


Max Connor

Austin Gonzales browses the photo collection by Renne C. Byer, showcasing poverty around the world.

The Cosumnes River College Art Gallery held an opening reception on April 21 to introduce the new exhibit “Living on a Dollar a Day” which showcases a large variety of photos of people living in extreme poverty around the world.

The exhibit comes from Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Renne C. Byer, who traveled to 10 different countries on four continents to document the conditions of the poorest people around the world. The photos can take your breath away and break your heart at the same time.

“This is one of the most important exhibitions I have curated in the last almost 12 years,” said Yoshio Taylor, a CRC professor of fine art and the curator of the art gallery.  

The reception had more than 100 people show up to see the opening, have the opportunity to hear Byer speak and to ask her questions. In addition to the photographs, there is a documentary of Byer’s travels projected on one wall with several seats set up so visitors can sit down and get more information about the exhibit and the photos.

Much more than just an art exhibition, the photos all come with at least a one paragraph story describing the subject and the hardships they may be experiencing. Byer considers herself a “catalyst for change” and this exhibition debuts her efforts to allow people to opportunity to engage the subject further by downloading an app called “You Bridge It.” The app uses QR codes to allow people to gain more information about the photos in front of them, provides more detailed information and statistics about poverty and hunger around the world and even allows you to donate directly from the app.

When Byer first debuted the exhibit in 2014, she got such a strong response from viewers that she felt the gallery had the power to create change.

“The outpouring of support and all the comments made me start thinking, wow, we need another component for people,” Byer said. “The most important thing about this exhibit is if you can experience this audience engagement app.”

Those who attended the event were engaged with and moved by the exhibit, slowly walking through staring at the photos and carefully reading the stories.

“That’s insane that it’s so normalized,” said Austin Gonzales, 23, while viewing a photo of a small boy crying out because of hunger pains. “It’s like they just get used to it. That’s nuts.”

The exhibit had many people stammering and shocked while also struck by the beauty of the photographs.

Sam Yang, a 25-year-old studio art major, who helped put the exhibit together, felt “honored” to be able to take part in the new exhibit.

“All these pictures are very powerful, very touching to the heart,” said Yang.

The exhibit is open Monday-Friday 11am-5pm until May 18. Admission is free.