Photo Exhibit Highlights Effects of Gas Drilling

A photo exhibit featuring the Marcellus Shale gas industry’s influence on communities has inspired conversation about regional issues.

Wheeling Jesuit University is hosting the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project until Dec. 10 in the WJU Art Gallery located in Kirby Hall on campus.

The goal of the exhibit is to use photography to tell stories, particularly those that show how Pennsylvanians have been affected by environmental, social and economic impacts of gas drilling.

Since its opening reception Oct. 29, the photo exhibit has been accessible to the public.

According to Beth Collins, director of the Appalachian Institute at WJU, the conversation began last fall when photographer Brian Cohen visited the university’s annual Celebrate Appalachia event. Collins then checked availability to schedule the exhibit’s showcase at the university.

“The exhibit is not only something to see,” Collins said. “We also wanted to offer educational programming, inspired by the photographers’ vision, to further the discussion.”

Such educational programming includes a lecture and panel discussion. The Uncharted Territory-Community Health Impacts Associated with Shale Gas Drilling lecture will begin at 6 p.m. today. Dr. Jill Kriesky, associate director of Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, will be the featured presenter.

A panel discussion featuring Dr. John Stolz of Duquesne University, Doug Shields, former president of the Pittsburgh City Council and Carrie Hahn, a local community member impacted by drilling, will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 21.

Both events will be held in the WJU Art Gallery and are open to the public.

The photo exhibit is open Monday through Thursday from noon until 5 p.m. It will be closed during WJU’s Thanksgiving break. To view the online archive or learn more about the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, visit