Lisa McCord: Cocktail Hour & Artist Talk



The Cotton Museum invites the community to a Cocktail Hour and Artist Talk with documentary photographer Lisa McCord on Thursday, October 30th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. The event will feature a discussion with the artist, celebrating the release of her two newest books of photography, Osceola and Highway 61. Through compelling and personal photographs, her collections document life in rural Arkansas in the Mississippi River Delta Region. McCord will give a slide presentation of her newest photographs as she shares the touching stories that inform her work. Guests will meet the author and enjoy wine, mulled cider and light snacks. This event is free and open to the public.

About the Event:
Last September Lisa McCord exhibited a stunning series of photos entitled Rotan Switch with documented life in one of the last remaining share cropping communities in the US. Located just across the Mississippi River from downtown Memphis in Osceola, Arkansas, the Rotan Switch community began to dissolve in the early eighties, and her exhibit served as a documentary epitaph to their way of life. This October 30th, McCord is back to discuss the release of her two latest series of photos, entitled Osceola and Highway 61.


The daughter of a painter, photographer Lisa McCord traveled across the country with her mother over the course of her childhood. But it was her grandparents cotton farm in Osceola and the community of people around Rotan Switch that gave her the security of home. After pursuing an education in photography at schools in New York, Paris, Greece, and California, McCord returned to the Delta to document the people who had supported her as a child. Oceola is her follow-up to the Rotan Switch series. “Osceola is the town my parents grew up in. They went to church and to high school in Osceola and it was here they met. It is also where my granddaddy Ohlendorf’s bank and radio station were. Uncle Eldon, Uncle Julian and Aunt Vivian had their medical clinic in this town....Although I never lived full time in Osceola, it is my sense of place. It is a town of family and friends.”

Though McCord has lived and photographed in London, Guatemala, Haiti, and throughout the United States, she makes annual trips home to the South. As a result, much of Lisa McCord’s work in Highway 61 draws from her relationships with permanence and transience. “Highway 61 is dotted with small towns and railroad junctions between Memphis, going south, and Blytheville, going north and to St. Louis if you continue on....It was our farms, our homes to everyone who lived on Highway 61. We knew our neighbors and our parents socialized with each other. They talked cotton... It was more than a road or a zip code. It was a way of life. We were all farming families.”
At the Cocktail Hour and Artist talk her books Rotan Switch, Osceola, and Highway 61 will be available for purchase and signing along with high quality, archival prints from each series. McCord will share a slideshow of her latest work along with the heartfelt stories that inform her work.

This discussion is part of the Cotton Museum’s Southern Discovery: Author Series, a program that invites the community to enjoy talks from authors exploring southern experience, culture and history. The Cotton Museum hosts expanded Southern Discovery events, as well, offering special events, tours, and supplementary exhibits for both children and adults. The event will be held at the Cotton Museum (65 Union Avenue) at 5:30pm on October 30 and is free and open to the public. 

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