Planting Roots

Rural Studio is located in Hale County, a west-central area of Alabama within the state’s Black Belt region. Once known for its fertile soil, the county still retains its agrarian roots, though catfish ponds have now largely replaced cotton fields. The north’s bright-red clay, the west’s Black Warrior River, the south’s grassy prairies, and the northeast’s corner of the Talladega National Forest all hint at the county’s storied history and rich topographical complexity.

map showing hale county's relationship to the state of Alabama

Rural Studio directly serves the persistently impoverished counties of Hale, Perry, Greene, Dallas, and Marengo Counties.

  • Hale County
    Hale County
    Population: 14,995
    Average Income: $34,679
    Median Age: 39.8
    People Below Poverty Level: 26.1%
  • Perry County
    Perry County
    Population: 9,680
    Average Income: $22,973
    Median Age: 37.6
    People Below Poverty Level: 41.9%
  • Greene County
    Greene County
    Population: 8,533
    Average Income: $20,954
    Median Age: 42.0
    People Below Poverty Level: 38.8%
  • Dallas County
    Dallas County
    Population: 40,755
    Average Income: $30,065
    Median Age: 39.3
    People Below Poverty Level: 31.9%
  • Marengo County
    Marengo County
    Population: 19,743
    Average Income: $32,255
    Median Age: 42.1
    People Below Poverty Level: 25.6%

Source: US Census Bureau, 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Hale County includes four incorporated municipalities: Greensboro, Akron, Moundville, and Newbern, as well as a number of smaller communities. Its population totals around 15,700 residents, which reside in Newbern, Rural Studio’s home base.

graphic of Hale county and photograph by William Christenberry

This is and always will be where my heart is. It is what I care about.

—William Christenberry, Photographer

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