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Nationally-touring exhibit celebrates and explores shared family experience

The River Falls Public Library is hosting "Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition" starting Aug. 6. Shown is one of the photos, "Double Vision" taken in 1975 in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.1 / 2
The River Falls Public Library is hosting an exhibit of awkward family photos. Shown is one such photo titled "Punks In Space," taken in 1986 in Boise, Idaho. Photos courtesy of River Falls Public Library.2 / 2

The nationally-touring photography exhibit Awkward Family Photos: The Exhibition runs Aug. 6 through Sept. 12 at River Falls Public Library Gallery, 140 Union St., River Falls. Over 200 photos and "behind the awkwardness" stories will be exhibited.

According to the exhibit website, the exhibition aims to "explore the perfectly imperfect moments that come with the family experience and provide a place for people to celebrate the awkwardness while taking comfort in the fact that their family is not alone."

"We are looking forward to hosting this exhibit in River Falls," said Cole Zrostlik, the library's event and gallery coordinator. "It's a great opportunity for community members and visitors to share the awkward family photo experience — and all the emotions, memories and traditions that surround it."

Zrostlik encourages the public to not only visit the exhibition but also to participate in activities throughout its run including an Awkward Family Photo contest, photography classes, Awkward Art — a Maker Monday project, "Finding the Funny in Life" author talk, and a family sing-along.

In addition, the library will host an Awkward Story Slam and Poetry Reading at Johnnie's Bar Sept. 6.

The exhibition was inspired by awarkwardfamilyphotos.com, which was launched in 2009 by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack. The site has become an internet sensation, receiving millions of visitors and submissions from around the world. The physical photo exhibition debuted in 2012 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. The collection has now traveled to dozens of cities in more than ten U.S. States.

For more information about various activities, see riverfallspubliclibrary.org.

Events

Awkward Family Photo Contest: River Falls Edition

Entries accepted Aug. 7- 21; winners will be announced Aug. 23. Submissions can be 1) posted to the River Falls Public Library Gallery's Facebook page; 2) emailed to czrostlik@riverfallslibrary.org; or 3) dropped off at the library, 140 Union St. Some photos may be included in a digital slideshow or hung on the wall during the gallery show. Cash prizes!

iPhone Photography 101 

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 7-8 p.m.

Library Lower Level

Instructor: Dee Grigus, Nature and Lifestyle Photographer

Register at riverfallspubliclibrary.org/in-the-gallery

Wake Up Family Sing-Along

Friday, Aug. 10 and Friday, Aug. 24, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Library Lower Level

A light breakfast will be served; kids are welcome to come in pajamas.

iPhone Lifestyle Photography

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 7-8 p.m.

Library Lower Level

Instructor: Dee Grigus, Nature and Lifestyle Photographer

Prerequisite: iPhone Photography 101 or familiarity with the iPhone camera

Register at riverfallspubliclibrary.org/in-the-gallery

Maker Monday: Awkward Art and Photography

Monday, Aug. 13, 3:30-6 p.m.

Library Lower Level

Families, kids 10+ w/out an adult, and adults without kids are all welcome.

That's How We Used to Do It: Learn to Record Your Family Stories

Saturday, Aug. 25, 11 a.m.-Noon

Library Lower Level

Instructor: Alison Staudinger, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

No registration required.

This workshop will explore how to gather, preserve, and use oral histories.

Finding the Funny in Life

Thursday, Aug 30, 7-8 p.m.

Library Lower Level

Instructor: Jen Mann, humorist and New York Times bestselling author

No registration required.

Awkward Moments: Poetry Reading & Story Slam 

Thursday, Sept 6, 7 p.m.

Johnnie's Bar, 116 North Main St., River Falls

Register on site or contact Cole Zrostlik at czrostlik@riverfallslibrary.org or 715-426-3496. Ages 21+ only.

Participants are invited to read an original "awkward moment" short story, diary entry, or poem.