From Around Here

Ann Friedman, Lara Shipley, Jose Faus, Rekha Sharma-Crawford
Photographer Lara Shipley and journalist Ann Friedman examine the shifting demographics of small-town Columbus Junction, Iowa – little more than an hour north of the Missouri border and a microcosm of the regional, national, and international impact of migration.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
6:30 pm
Event Audio

Columbus Junction, Iowa, doesn’t fit the Midwest small-town stereotype. As large agricultural operations and meat processing plants have become prominent rural employers, people from Latin America, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere are drawn in to work. White residents are moving away. Small towns are increasingly diverse.

Photographer Lara Shipley and journalist Ann Friedman examine the trend in a discussion of their multimedia project spotlighting the shifting demographics of Columbus Junction. The southeast Iowa town reflects the impact of migration -- regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Shipley is an assistant professor of photography at Michigan State University. Friedman is co-host of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend and a regular contributor to and The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets. Joining them in the discussion are Rekha Sharma-Crawford, an immigration rights attorney working with the nonprofit legal defense firm The Clinic, and artist Jose Faus, a native of Bogota, Colombia, who received a cultural ambassador grant from the U.S. State Department for his community-driven murals.

Shipley's and Friedman's venture is funded by a Rocket Grant administered by the Charlotte Street Foundation and Spencer Museum of Art.