Inspired by the fashion, antiques and events of PBS’ period TV drama “Downton Abbey,” our residents transformed parts of the community into “Downton Meadows.” Taking on new personas and traveling back in time, residents organized and modeled for a creative photo project that captures the spirit of the popular show and the community.
Organizers Susan Gaca, Chris Kesner and Carol Lehmann thought the portraits would be a great way to raise awareness and money for a cause we support every year – the UNC-TV annual fundraiser to support the public TV station. The group found a skilled photographer, Jack Benjamin, who offered to take the photos pro-bono and secured costumes from PlayMakers Repertory Company and Bernard’s Formalwear – all provided free of charge.
Over the course of three months, dozens of residents joined in the effort, finding period props, providing handmade jewelry, and even touching up an antique car. A few even braved the hot summer heat for hours to get the perfect shot.
The UNC-TV fundraiser kicked off Feb. 21, and to celebrate the start, we hosted a “Downton Abbey”-themed dinner where the stunning “Downton Meadows” portraits were revealed to the public. Resident volunteers also stopped by the UNC-TV studio to answer calls and gather pledges. This year, residents and our company matching programs raised more than $25,650 in just one month, contributing to the importance of North Carolina’s 12-station public broadcasting system.
Check out all 13 portraits here: http://on.fb.me/1FC8SRp