Schools Out

Chalkboards, desk chairs, hallways, lockers, lunchrooms, gymnasiums.  Schools have a unique visual iconography and it evokes powerful memories and emotions.  Schools are where we learned, dreamed and grew into ourselves.  And they are where our children follow these same paths. 

Abandonment has its own visual language: peeling paint, faded color, dust, damage and decay, a language that is jarring when layered upon a place of youth and growth.

An abandoned school tells an inherent narrative of rise and fall and the inevitability of change.  Schools may be abandoned due to changes in educational approach or the economics that compel us to replace so many buildings after just fifty or so years.  But an abandoned school also tells stories of the place where it resides, and in the South those stories have particular facets.  White flight.  Gentrification.  The rise of parochial and private schools.  Gay and lesbian couples in the urban core with double incomes and no kids.  Empty nesters returning to city centers.  Wealth.  Poverty.  Race.  


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