When Kristin V. Rehder isn’t raising money for elite colleges like Amherst, Bowdoin, Brown and Bucknell (the list does run down the alphabet to Wesleyan and Williams), she’s spending the summer in the Adirondacks. The distinctive hamlet of Wanakena, to be exact. So enchanted by the locals there, Rehder created a photodocumentary called “The Way to Wanakena.” It became her Master’s thesis at Skidmore (yes, a client). Rehder photographed and interviewed 34 people (Wanakena’s population varies from 50-200, based on the time of year) including kids born and raised there, young couples from Manhattan, and older folks settling nicely into retirement. There aren’t many sad stories told here.
“The Way to Wanakena” can now be seen at the Writer’s House at Franklin & Marshall College (and yes, F&M is a client). The exhibition is not all congratulations and white wine. Rehder is in Lancaster (population 60,000) for another reason: she’s studying the wave of refugees who are restarting their lives there. Since 2009, more than 500 refugees from Bhutan alone have resettled in Lancaster, following the faded footsteps of the Dutch from centuries past. A self-proclaimed social activist, Rehder will have plenty of opportunity in Lancaster – home of ethnic German Amish and Mennonite culture – to capture the strains/conflicts of a small and quickly expanding community. Then back to work.