By Joe Wyatt

The island nation of Cuba had long been an alluring destination for Patricia D. Richards, a photographer and educator whose perseverance ultimately gave way to an exhibit currently on display at Amarillo College’s Southern Light Gallery. 

Richards, who spent years trying to obtain a necessary visa, finally reached Cuba in 2011 and began creating Unexpected Cuba, an ongoing photography project viewable at Southern Light Gallery through Feb. 2. 

The gallery is located on the first floor of the Ware Student Commons on AC’s Washington Street Campus and is free and open to the public. 

“Cuba, cut off from American travel by her island location, her dictator, the U.S. State Department, and several presidents, had always been an enigma to me,” Richards said. “Whenever I would think about visiting there, I was told there was no legal way to get there.” 

Fortunately, relentless communication with the State Department finally paid off. 

“I finally got my visa. Once there, everything I discovered was unexpected, including the use of color, which was all-consuming,” Richards said. 

A product of the west coast, Richards was born in California and grew up in Seattle, Wash. She earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California, and a master of fine arts degree from Southern Methodist University. 

She received a Mid-America Arts Alliance/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Photography in 1991 and teaches photography at Tarrant County College in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Her work can be found in several museum collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. She exhibits her work internationally.

For more information about the Patricia D. Richards photo exhibit or the Southern Light Gallery, please contact René West, associate professor of photography, at rwest@actx.edu or 806-345-5654.