Dreambikes hosts photography fundraiser

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Mitchell Connell, photographer and Assistant Manager at DreamBikes Knoxville, will host a fundraiser photography exhibition to create a college bookstore scholarship fund for the DreamBikes youth interns. The opening reception will take place during April’s First Friday – Friday, April 7, 2017 from 6 to 10 pm, at DreamBikes, 309 N. Central Street just outside the Old City.

DreamBikes is Knoxville’s Non-profit bike shop, which provides hands-on, paid job training to local teens from moderate to low-income neighborhoods. 100 percent of the proceeds from this show will go towards college and career scholarships for the teen employees at DreamBikes.

The photography exhibition will consist of a very limited run of photographs taken while Connell traveled by bicycle, documenting a span of almost ten years. Connell says: ” My life was changed as a teenager when I began traveling by bike. Since then I’ve ridden more than 10,000 miles and taken thousands of photographs along the way. This photography exhibition is a celebration of the bicycle as a means of empowerment and travel, and I hope this show inspires others teens to find the freedom of a bicycle.”

Mitchell Connell graduated from UT Knoxville in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science. While in college he managed the UT Bike Shop, led bike tours for the UT Outdoors Program, and had two exhibitions of photography at the 1010 Gallery. After graduation Mitchell worked as a bicycle technician at REI until he left Knoxville to complete a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. Since returning from the trail Mitchell has dedicated himself to the development of DreamBikes’ Knoxville location.

Donations towards scholarships will be accepted at the door. Photographs will be available for purchase, as well as a limited edition book of photography, T-shirts, and stickers custom designed as companions to the show.

For the opening reception, Joseph Gillenwater (Maspeth), Sally Buice, and Spencer Connell will provide musical performances. Food trucks will be available as well.

Part non-profit bike shop, part community revitalizer, DreamBikes is an organization that hires and trains teens in disadvantaged neighborhoods to repair and sell donated bikes. Since 2008, DreamBikes has refurbished and returned over 10,000 used bikes to the community, provided jobs for over 80 teens, and helped a diverse audience see the world from the saddle of a bicycle.