Activist, Photographer Headlines College’s Feb. 18 Lyceum Event

Colombian Photographs are Part of College’s Gallery Exhibit Feb. 9-March 6

The Lone Star College-Montgomery Lyceum Speaker Series is pleased to welcome activist and documentary photographer Steve Cagan, who will give a lecture on Wednesday, February 18, at 6 p.m. in building B, room 102, with a “meet and greet” reception at 5:30 p.m. in the same location. Cagan’s subject is “El Choco, Colombia: Struggle for Cultural & Environmental Survival.”
Additionally, Cagan’s photography will be on display in the Mary Matteson-Parrish Art Gallery (building D), beginning February 9 through March 6, and a reception in the gallery is also scheduled for February 18 from noon-2 p.m.


Cagan, who resides in the Cleveland, OH, area, has been working for more than five years on a project in El Choco, Colombia. El Choco is the northwestern-most department of Colombia, on the border with Panama. It is an area of great natural beauty and incredible bio-diversity, and home to river-centered Afro-Colombian and indigenous cultures. The area has been isolated from--and ignored by--the rest of the country for a long time.

While their reasonable demands for public services such as health and education were not met, the residents of El Choco could still live well on the bounty of the rain forest. This life and the whole area, however, are under great threat, as Colombian and international economic interests are determined to eliminate the rain forest to develop large industrial agricultural and infrastructure projects. If nothing changes, the rain forest of El Choco, with its important environmental treasures and the special cultures it shelters, will soon be gone, probably within a generation. The one hope is the potential of the local communities to organize and resist the pressures to abandon their homes.

Steve Cagan has photographed the environment and the people of the area and works closely with social organizations committed to defending the people of the region. 

With more than 30 years of photographic experience, Cagan has exhibited his work nationally and internationally on three continents. His reviews and critical writings have been published in a variety of professional journals and books. He has received two Fulbright Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and several Ohio Arts Council Fellowships and New Jersey Arts Council Fellowships. He taught in the visual arts department of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University from 1985 to 1993. In fall 2006, spring 2008 and spring 2009, he was a SAGES Presidential Fellow at Case Western Reserve University. He has taught photography at the Universidad de El Salvador as a Fulbright Fellow. He spent five months in Colombia at the end of 2007, photographing and lecturing under another Fulbright grant.

He is co-author with his wife, Beth, of the book, This Promised Land, El Salvador, which in 1991 won the Book of the Year Award of the Association for Humanist Sociology, and was reprinted, with a new final chapter, as El Salvador, La Tierra Prometida, in San Salvador. 1991 was a momentous year for Cagan; in addition to publishing the book, he was also recognized as “Teacher of the Year” at Rutgers University.

Linda Woodward, chair of the Lyceum Series and professor of art at LSC-Montgomery, said that “this event has a broad appeal not only to students but also to the community at large.”

“Steve’s work is incredible, and the story he tells to accompany his photography is powerful and motivating,” added Woodward.
The Lyceum Speaker Series at LSC-Montgomery provides a variety of lectures throughout the fall and spring semesters that are based on sociological, historical, economic, political, psychological, and spiritual views. All campus and community members are invited to attend this free lecture and performance--as well as all other Lyceum events throughout the year.


Additional information regarding the Lyceum Speaker Series is located online at http://Montgomery.LoneStar.edu/131779. For further information on this speaker, contact Linda Woodward at (936) 273-7228 or via e-mail: Linda.Woodward@LoneStar.edu.


LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit Montgomery.LoneStar.edu.


Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. With more than 51,000 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. For more information, visit www.LoneStar.edu.