Local portraits at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

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Some familiar faces are on display alongside iconic photographs by Annie Leibowitz and others at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art this month.

“A Portrait of Sonoma” is an exhibition of portraits taken in the Sonoma community last month when pop-up portrait studios were appearing around town.

In search of an iconic Sonoma moment, three teams led by different photographers set-up three different free “pop-up portrait studios” in public places through greater Sonoma. Each team took 50 portraits, attempting to capture an essential aspect of each person photographed.

Andy Mitchell, Sonoma Valley High School photography teacher, led his group of 20 advanced photography students in orchestrating several portrait sites during the week of Oct. 11. Locations for team SVHS included the high school campus, local markets and Friday night football at Arnold Field.

Photojournalist Erik Castro, who was shooting in Sonoma on Oct. 14, led the second team. Castro is a local photographer recently featured in Sonoma magazine with photos from his “Harvester” series of black-and-white portraits of migrant vineyard workers.

Finally, local portrait photographer Jaime Thrower – owner of Studio 13 Designs based in Oakland, and a Sonoma Valley High School alum – led the third team on Nov. 7.

“The project was designed to engage people in Sonoma around photography and, through the exhibition of these portraits, it’s hoped that those participating will gain a different perspective on our community, and feel more closely connected to one another,” said SVMA executive director Linda Cano.

More than 150 Sonoma residents participated in the project and each will receive their photograph after the exhibition closes.

The museum is hosting a public reception for the exhibit on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and “The Sonomans” photographs will remain on view through Dec. 30.

The museum is also hosting its final “Pairings” event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. Petaluma sommelier Christopher Sawyer has lined up five Sonoma chefs, who will each creatively pair a dish with an artwork in the museum: Cafe La Haye’s Saul Gropman, the Girl and the Fig’s Sondra Bernstein, Carneros Bistro’s Andrew Wilson, Shiso Restaurant’s Ed Metcalfe and B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille’s Carlo-Alessandro Cavallo.

The cost is $20 for museum members and for the $25 general public. Advance registration is recommended.

The museum’s main exhibit, “Icons of Photography,” features portraiture, landscape, photojournalism, abstraction, fashion and more. The exhibit presents photography from private collections throughout California. Curated by Cano, this exhibition features works by over 40 photographers, including Ansel Adams, Ruth Bernhard, Edward Curtis, Robert Frank, Yousuf Karsh, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sebastião Salgado, Cindy Sherman, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward and Brett Weston and Garry Winogrand, to name a few.

More information is available at svma.org/calendar or call 939-7862 during museum hours, Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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