top of page



Photo of J.W. Cooper gym part of Harrisburg museum exhibit


July 29, 2012

















HARRISBURG - A photograph of the gymnasium of the former J.W. Cooper High School in Shenandoah hangs in the "Art of the State" exhibit at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and has been selected to be a permanent part of the museum's collection.


The owner of the building, Kent Steinmetz, Schuylkill Haven, his son, Spencer, and two members of the Class of '76 Adopt A Room Project, Theresa Price, Ashland, and Michael Godynick, Shenandoah Heights, traveled to the state museum on Friday afternoon to meet with photographer Jim Crowley, Dillsburg, who won second prize in the photography division of the annual "Art of the State" contest. His photo was one of 129 entries in painting, photography, sculpture, crafts, works on paper and other categories selected for the exhibit.

Crowley, a member of the Harrisburg Camera Club, visited the Cooper building last August with 10 club members to photograph the Shenandoah landmark, which is slowly being restored by Steinmetz and volunteers. The building was constructed as the Shenandoah High School in 1917, but first became a hospital and morgue during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and opened as a high school in 1919. It was named years later in honor of Superintendent Jonathan Wilkinson Cooper.


Museum Director David W. Dunn was intrigued with Crowley's photo to select it as one of three artworks to be purchased and become part of the museum's permanent collection.

"It's a real treasure," said Beth A. Hager, chief of Education and Outreach for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission/The State Museum of Pennsylvania, of the photo. "Our director was interested in it, not only because it's a great photograph, but because of the historic preservation element. He was really interested in the story of being part of the flu epidemic."

During the visit, Crowley presented Steinmetz with a framed copy of the photo at the location in the museum the photo is displayed.


"I asked you down here because I wanted you to see the photo and give you this copy to take back with you," Crowley said to Steinmetz, who will display it in the Cooper building. Steinmetz was thrilled about the honor that the photograph of the Cooper building has in the museum. "The building has been a draw for photographers from around the country," Steinmetz said. "We are one of the most photographed buildings in the region."

Crowley explained the photo was made using a technique called "high dynamic range imaging." Due to the great range of light and dark areas, the gymnasium was photographed six times, which was followed by using a HDR computer program to use the six images and layer them to create the digital photograph. "This way I can get a lot of detail in the high-lighted area and a lot of detail in the dark areas. It's an advanced technique," Crowley said.


Guided tours of "Art of the State" will be offered every week throughout the exhibit's run. The tours are approximately 25 minutes long and are offered on Fridays at 12:15 p.m. and 1 p.m., and on Sundays at 2 p.m. The Friday tours are a part of museum's special "Learn at Lunchtime" summer series in which admission is free every Friday through Aug. 31, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The "Art of the State" exhibit will be on display until Sept. 9.

"Art of the State" is recognized as the official, statewide juried competition for Pennsylvania artists. This year's show features 129 pieces by 115 artists working throughout the state. "Art of the State" is co-presented by the Greater Harrisburg Arts Council and state museum.




J David Photography - 12-20-2013

Happy to announce that Ms. Cuff's Classroom from the J.W. Cooper Community Center was selected as 1 of 45 prints to be part of an Urban Exploration exhibit at the Marlboro Gallery space at Prince George's Community College. 

The show installs Saturday, January 18th, opens January 21 with a reception on Feb 6th. If you have a chance and you're in the area, stop by to see the exhibit and all of the prints on exhibit.
bottom of page