Educational Materials
Labor History
Work Curriculum
Events & Programs
Film Series
Labor Lyceum
Special Events
Union Label
Labor Links
Rochester CLC History
Rochester CLC Book

VISIT Introducing Labor  Films at LaborFilms.org

Film still The Navigators movie

SEE Rochester: A  Community of Workers  Photo Exhibit

machinist at work



Web access to photos and text from the exhibit at:
Exhibit Home | About the Exhibit | Site Map | The Artists | Update


About the Exhibit

From the outset the Community of Workers project was intended to result in an exhibition at the Links Gallery in Rochester’s City Hall and in a publication.

The gallery exhibition was organized as a series of 26 panels, each containing photographs and text from one of the worksites documented in 1990. (It should be noted that the excerpts from interviews were not intended as captions and were not necessarily attributable to workers in the photos: often the text material came from others at the worksite).

The exhibition panels were arranged in the sequence in which worksites were documented, to avoid seeming to favor any work or union. The exhibit thus followed the sequence of the project’s unfolding, at once random and organic.

The exhibit was displayed at the Links Gallery from October 2 through November 5, 1990. It was well received and soon the Labor Council had requests from local schools to bring the exhibit to their “Career Days.” A portable version of the exhibit enabled the Council to honor these requests.

Rochester: A Community of Workers” also began to be shown at functions of the Labor Council and its affiliates, as well as at labor conferences in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC and Albany, New York.

As teachers became familiar with the exhibition they wanted to use its images in the classroom, leading the artist, Marilyn Anderson, to translate 30 of them into drawings for a coloring book. “Our Community of Workers Coloring Book,” published in 1995, is now in its fifth printing and nearly 45,000 copies have been distributed nationally.

Meanwhile the artists continued their documentation, visiting three additional worksites in 1991, five in 1992, and three more in 1993. While images from these sites were included in the coloring book and appeared in the Labor Council’s sesquicentennial publication, they were not added to the exhibition as attention turned to plans for printing them as a book.

By this time, however, the Council’s Education Committee had already launched this website, RochesterLabor.org, and it was decided to publish the exhibit electronically. This on-line exhibit, then, is the first to contain images and text from all the worksites documented as part of the Community of Workers project. Since the early ’90s changes have occurred at many worksites and unions: some of these changes are briefly noted in the exhibit pages and are more fully discussed in the Update section.

This project has benefited from considerable support of many kinds:

  • The documentation process was facilitated by the Rochester Labor Council, which understood the importance of depicting, to both union members and the general public, the community of work; by the many unions which participated in the project and their members who agreed to be photographed and interviewed; and by the employers who granted access to worksites.
  • The project, including the gallery exhibition, received financial assistance not only from the Labor Council but from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered in Monroe County by Arts for Greater Rochester.
  • This on-line exhibit is made possible with support from the Ronald G. Pettengill Labor Education Fund, a component of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, through grants from the New York State Department of Education.

    View the Exhibit»

Exhibit Home | About the Exhibit | Site Map | The Artists | Update


View of exhibit installation

View of installation

Hicket Freeman worker



Lathe operator

Psych Center worker

Delco factory

Can of Worms job site