BECKLEY, W.Va (WOAY) – The Beckley Art Center unveiled its exhibit of photographer Builder Levy’s photos from the coalfields of West Virginia on Sunday.
After growing up and attending college in New York, Levy decided it was time for a change of scenery. He began his project in 1968 but didn’t finish capturing the coal industry in West Virginia until 2009.
“I wanted to see the rest of America and explore it,” said Levy. “I thought that the fantastic heritage of coalfield Appalachia would be a good place to see it.”
The exhibit only holds a fraction of his work, but it has already captured the hearts of guests who visited during its opening day. Guests included curious community members and subjects he photographed nearly 50 years ago.
Among those guests were the daughters of one of Levy’s subjects, John Mendez. The three women; Emelia Mendez, Linda Mendez Lambert and Gloria Chambers; brought the original photograph to the gallery. Before Sunday, they had never met Levy but were thankful for his work.
“You know its important to us because he was a hard worker and, like I said, he was a small man but he stood tall for everything he achieved,” said Lambert.
The gallery will be on display until March 29. Beckley Art Center is open Wednesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.