Piece Work

Polly Frye

Her name is Polly Frye. In this photo, she is sitting in her house on Hubbard St., in the village of White Oak.

It is the house she grew up in.

She is sitting in her father’s old chair.

Her mother, Vassie Pearman Harris, grew up in the mill village, and worked in the spool room of White Oak for thirty-two years.

Her father, John Harris, worked in the card room at White Oak for fifty years. He started there at age nine.

Polly has been married for 55 years to James Frye. He grew up in Revolution mill village.

– Lisa Scheer

I think Polly knows a thing or two about getting through tough times.

Polly, and others just like her in the area’s mill villages, will be featured in a series of portraits by local photographer Lisa Scheer. The special documentary photograph exhibit, “Mill Village Project,” is part of a multi-collaborative event for ArtBeat Greensboro.

The event, called Piece Work, is a free, two-day performance that weaves together music, literature, visual arts, and theater to capture the region’s historical and emotional connection to the textile industry.

The event is also a premier performance of the play Piece Work by Touring Theatre Ensemble of North Carolina. Adapted for stage by the 2008 O’Henry award winner Brenda Schleunes, the play is inspired by a collection of poems written by Asheboro writer Barbara Presnell.

Scheer’s exhibit also shares space with a special public history project with UNCG. History graduate students are working to gather memories of mill village residents and recording them on 6-by-7-foot map of the area’s mill villages. Students are working with Benjamin Filene, director of UNCG’s public history program. The map will be on display for the event.

This free performance is planned for May 1 and 2 at Greensboro Historical Museum in celebration of ArtBeat Greensboro.

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