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The Arts Council of Fayetteville | Cumberland County is proud to display the exhibit, Face to Fayetteville by Tim French. This exhibit explores what one can learn about the image-making process when examining works before they're finished. The public gets be a part of the process and witness "Pentimenti"—details that the artist changes before finishing the work. 

This exhibit is on display August 2nd - 31st, 2024

Artist Mission:
My mission as a visual artist is to contribute to the broad conversation of art in ways that deepen human empathy, bring pleasure to the viewer, and challenge an individual's assumptions about the world. - Tim French


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Portrait by Tim French

Take a Closer Look

What’s the big idea? 

The intention for the work is to explore the ways in which people define, shape, edit, or inherit their identities both as individuals and as place-makers. We seem to share in this moment in time an obsession with controlling our personal brands, not getting canceled, achieving fame, virtue signaling, fitting in, standing out, etc. For many of us, our identities are shaped by our relationships. Some of us move fluidly between communities while others are immobile. Some are defined by a sense of place while others are happily disconnected. 


Portrait by Tim French

What if you were to find yourself identified in a public work as part of something that perhaps you never fully understood or came face-to-face with before? How would that change the way you understand your own identity? How would that redefine your concept of the local community that you claim? 

The work I intend to create to explore these themes will be a series of 40 portraits. Each portrait will depict a resident of Fayetteville. The subject of each portrait will represent a demographically, psychographically, and economically identifiable group of ~5,000 people within the 200,000+ residents of Fayetteville. These portraits will be created as a series to be viewed in a public space. Limited information about the people in the portraits will be provided to an exhibition designer who will have to intuit relationships between the portraits as they relate to each other and to the space in which they’ll be exhibited. Visitors to the exhibit will receive a guide that explains the intentions of the work as well as information about each portrait including what groups of people in Fayetteville they’re meant to represent and how those groups statistically relate to the whole without revealing the actual identity of the people in the portraits. 


Portrait by Tim French

Why Fayetteville? 

Fayetteville is, in my opinion, one of the best places to be the focus of this work. Its residents have deep, multigenerational roots in this city. Its residents are only here for a short time. Its residents have come, moved away and returned many times. People here came here against their will. People here relocated to be close to family. There are folks who have relocated all over the world but still call this place home. There are people who of all places have lived here the longest but will tell you they’re really from somewhere else.

Fayetteville’s identity as a group of people is not very easily summed up. Looking only at the numbers is an accurate way to try to grasp it. But the numbers alone don’t reveal the complexity with which Fayetteville’s residents relate to this place. When someone tells you that they’re from New York City, it conjures a very specific but broadly applicable and clear identity. But if you tell someone from New York City that you’re from Fayetteville, they’ll likely not know what that means—even in a very broad sense. If you tell someone from Raleigh that you’re from here then you’re met with a specific kind of reaction. Fayetteville is a city with an identity in flux.

Curated for You

a sneak peek


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