Character Building

View the "Character Project," an art initiative capturing the nature of our nation

The "Character Project" is an ongoing artistic initiative sponsored by USA Network and Comcast in partnership with Vanity Fair that seeks to capture the nature of America through the camera lens.

Featuring more than 125 photographs of diverse Americans of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life, "American Character: A Photographic Journey" is a fine-art book showcasing the unique perspectives of 11 world-class photographers, including Mary Ellen Mark, Sylvia Plachy, Richard Renaldi, Jeff Dunas and Chicago's own Dawoud Bey, who photographed students around Columbia College where he is a professor of photography.

A free public exhibition of photographs included in "American Character" will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m on Friday, April 24, and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 at River North's Alan Koppel Gallery (210 W. Chicago Ave., 312-640-0730).

The Chicago stop is one of a seven-city tour for "Character Project" that runs through April and May.

USA Network and Comcast will present an educational component to the exhibition for local high school students, including a photography contest, field trips and Q&A sessions with the "Character Project" photographers.

All proceeds from the "Character Project" initiative will benefit the Aperture Foundation, a nonprofit photography organization, and Characters Unite, USA's new social platform promoting acceptance and understanding.

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