BY MARK GOODSON — If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a thousand pictures is worth a million.
Bulk was certainly one of the appealing aspects to Studio SoHy’s @OurHyattsville Show, which opened on Saturday, April 1. Krissi Humbard, who manages the @OurHyattsville account, approached Bronwyn King with the idea for the show, as a celebration of Hyattsville.
“I was thinking of printing 100 or so photos and stretching the row of maybe three or four around the tiny hall,” Humbard said.
Hanging 1,000 photos taken from Hyattsville’s locally shared Instagram handle was King’s idea. King, a local artist and the co-founder of Studio SoHy at 4327 Gallatin St., told Humbard to “go big.” The result was a staggering wall cover of pictures printed from @OurHyattsville’s Instagram feed, representing more than 80 residents over the past 25 months.
“It took a lot of time to put up 1,000 photos,” Humbard said. “It was a lot of work, but it has a huge payoff. Seeing my vision come to life was pretty amazing.”
The effect was an extraordinary visual and an achievement in bringing a social-media-scroll experience, usually reserved for digital screens, to real life.
Humbard and King approached Aaron Marcavitch, executive director of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Inc. (ATHA), to help fund the endeavor. Marcavitch was pleased to have Maryland Milestones sponsor the printing of the photos, allowing Humbard to cover the walls from end to end with moments captured by the people of Hyattsville.
“Maryland Milestones/ATHA Inc. is about preserving and promoting the history, art, culture, and natural resources of our region,” Marcavitch said. “Showcasing the community and the people of that community seemed like a great opportunity. We support activities, programs, and grants in all of our partner communities and we are proud to support this project, too.”
In case the photos weren’t enough to imbue a love for the city and its people, Humbard asked Pat Padua, a Hyattsville resident and former @OurHyattsville handler, to prepare a soundtrack featuring Hyattsville-affiliated artists — from R&B singer and Hyattsville resident George Smallwood, to post-punk’s Dale Jenkins and rockabilly’s Leslee “Bird” Anderson who both recorded tracks at Glasswing Studios on Ager Road. Padua also queued up the Baghdad-born Rahim Al-Haj who recorded an album at Private Ear Studios in Hyattsville.
“On his album Little Earth, he even has a song called ‘Morning in Hyattsville,’” said Padua.
Another former @OurHyattsville handler, photographer Erika Nizborski, ran a Polaroid-style photo booth at the show’s opening. Nizborski, who met Humbard through Instagram, wanted to provide “an interactive experience for the guests.” Her service helped to enhance the social-media-comes-alive feel of the show, sharing real photos instantaneously.
Beverage for the show was provided by Handsome Beer, a “no-brainer,” Humbard says, since co-founder Matt Humbard is a Hyattsville resident and husband to Krissi Humbard. Humbard served Handsome Beer’s Belgian tripel called Rise Above. To continue the local theme, pupusas were provided from El Comalito.
If a guest thought the show seemed too saturated with city influence, that guest missed the point. “This show’s opening was an uber-Hyattsville event — and I love that,” said Humbard. “I love so many things about Hyattsville, and clearly other residents feel the same.”
“The @OurHyattsville Show is my love letter to Hyattsville,” she said.
The @OurHyattsville Show will be up on the walls of Studio SoHy’s Tiny Hall at least until May 1, but Humbard and King say they are in no hurry to take it down. You can view the show during Vigilante Coffee Co.’s normal business hours. Got pictures from the show? Tag them on Instagram with #OHInstashow