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American Hands

Sally Grotta

American Hands is an ongoing narrative photography project documenting and sharing the stories of traditional tradespeople, like bookbinders, spinners, etc.


Current sponsors of American Hands include:

HP Workstations, Pentax, Kingston Technology, HP Designjet Printers, Smugmug, and anonymous donors  

The project has also received over 35 grants in support of various exhibits and lectures.

American Hands (www.AmHands.com) is Sally Wiener Grotta's visual celebration of those individuals who keep alive the traditional crafts that built our dynamically diverse culture. American Hands is a narrative, not only about who we are, but who and what we were, how our country developed, one person, one skill at a time, and what it means to us now and into the future. 

"A delightful gem!  Sally's photographs are exquisitely warm and inviting. Along with her didactic information, she presents an accessible and compelling reminder of our rich heritage of skilled craftsmen and artisans."
~ Kathryn Burke, Director, Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College

Please Support American Hands

While American Hands is a long-range program, with a multi-year budget, the target figure above is what we must raise to meet this year's goals, in terms of artisans to be photographed, as well as exhibits and slideshow presentations to be given for free to the public.

We are currently also seeking a van to help us take the exhibit to communities around the country. If you have any connections with a car or car rental company, or know someone who may have a van they would like to donate, please contact us.

Thank you. 

And Please Stay in Touch with Us

     * Via our website at www.AmHands.com

     * Like American Hands on Facebook

     * On American Hands YouTube channel

     * Use the Contact page on the American Hands website

     * Email Sally at Sally@Grotta.net

     * We welcome suggestions of artisans to photograph, as well as exhibit and lecture venues

Below are specifics about:

     * The American Hands Vision

     * American Hands Publications

The American Hands Vision

American Hands is a decade-long program, during which Sally will be traveling around the United States, capturing and sharing the visual and verbal stories of traditional tradespeople. To date, American Hands has had significant success, and has garnered public and critical acclaim for its numerous exhibits and slideshow presentations.

“Such a beautiful and well-executed concept.  I love your descriptions as much as the photos.”

~ Kristin, an exhibit attendee (no last name provided)

As she travels the country, capturing the images and stories of these artisans, Sally will continue to mount exhibits and give lectures to widely diverse audiences. Her venues are not just limited to museums, universities and other large institutions, but also local community libraries, elementary schools, senior centers, and so forth. That way, she has the ability to reach audiences that might never visit a museum or gallery. To help cover some of the considerable expenses involved, Sally will also consider accepting artist-in-residence invitations at local venues, giving master classes as well as lectures on photography and related subjects for the general public.  

A preteen was dragged against her will to an American Hands presentation, as an after-school punishment. But within a few minutes, she became quite still and attentive to Sally's pictures and stories. The girl came up to Sally afterwards, surprised at how fascinating the slideshow discussion had been, and she was filled with questions that Sally spent some time answering. Finally, she said, "You know, Ms. Grotta, if makes you think, not everything comes from the mall."

American Hands Publications

The first in a series of full-color printed American Hands Journals was recently published and may be viewed and purchased by clicking here; new issues will be released periodically. 

We launched a free emailed American Hands Newsletter in spring 2012. (A PDF sample is available by clicking here.) The newsletter (which will be published no more than a couple of times a year) will include stories, pictures, and background information of some of the artisans Sally meets and photographs as she travels the country. You can sign up to receive the free American Hands Newsletter by going to the Contact page on the American Hands website. (We will not share your contact information, and you will be able to easily Unsubscribe at any time.)

Eventually, we will publish at least one American Hands book.

"Every once in a while great artists are able to transcend.... Sally's vision is grand... [and] ... reflected in the warmth she portrays in the people she photographs and the world she captures." ~ Steven Rosenbaum, President of SIR Communications & former Editor of Modern Photography