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Folklife Center to host 'town clerks project'

MIDDLEBURY - "Town Clerks of Vermont - Reflections on Democracy" will be exhibited at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury Feb. 1 to March 31.

This unique exhibition created by New York-based photographer, Sandra Elkin, combines portrait photography and the voices of 19 women clerks to create a fascinating glimpse of who they are and their concerns. Whether plainspoken or boldly provocative, the "Clerks" challenge us as they speak openly and frankly of democracy, town meetings, the obligations of citizenship, state government and their towns.

Elkin began work on her "Town Clerks" project in the summer of 2008 in the midst of a historic presidential campaign that held our country and most of the world captivated. An unpopular war and an ailing economy were on people's minds. The candidates talked of making choices between personal freedoms and national security. Questions about the health of our democracy and our political system swirled around the campaign. To find answers, Elkin turned to the strong basic democratic tradition in small towns in Vermont and to town clerks, the officials closest to the people and the neighborhood watchers of our elections.

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