One Man Is Spending A Year On The Road To Find The Most Creative Communities In The US

Wesley Verhoeve loves to travel. He also loves to take photos, and learn about communities coming together all over the country. Combine all of these loves and you get an adventure, one Verhoeve calls “One Of Many.”

One Of Many is a big project.

Verhoeve is travelling to twelve cities across the US, immersing himself in local creative communities “and capturing interesting creatives in portrait and writing,” Verhoeve told Business Insider.

“This can range from visual artists, to craftspeople, food and beverage makers, musicians, entrepreneurs, and more.”

Why? Verhoeve has a simple answer: “The growing creative independent movement, along with renewed interest in life outside the big cities, is rapidly reshaping our economy and culture.”

The first stop was Charleston, South Carolina.

It was here that Verhoeve discovered a woman he has dubbed “The Icon;” Martha Lou of Martha Lou’s Kitchen, a Charleston mainstay for over 31 years that has been written about in The New York Times.

Martha Lou One of ManyWesley VerhoeveMartha Lou of Martha Lou’s Kitchen

Verhoeve writes on Martha’s:

All eight of Martha’s children have at various times been employed by the restaurant, and four still help run the place, handling kitchen and hosting duties. The atmosphere at Martha Lou’s is like no other. Genuine, down home, simple, generous, and rich. The smells and hospitality set high expectations, and the food truly delivers. My favourite part was speaking with Ms. Martha Lou and her children. Their humility and the love for their customers is palatable and knows no bounds. Stepping into the restaurant is stepping into another world. A world in which kindness is the not-so-secret ingredient elevates the ingredients to greater than the sum of their parts.

The website for Martha Lou’s Kitchen is very unassuming.

But Verhoeve captures it — and Martha Lou herself — beautifully.

Business Insider talked to Verhoeve about the One Of Many project and his goals for bringing small creative communities attention. In an email, here’s what he had to say about his trip to Charleston, and the future of his project:

I started travelling about nine months ago, with a basic idea and parameters of what I wanted to do, but without very many details worked out. Through the kindness of many of these strangers that I’ve gotten to meet the project vision crystallized and after Charleston trip, which was actually the 4th city I visited, I was locked in completely and was able to collaborate with design firm Stitch Design Co to come up with a name and a visual identity. Since then I have visited 6 of the 12 cities and I’m currently hitting the last six at a rate of one or two a month.

Verhoeve has been sharing all of his photos and stories on his One Of Many site, but allowed Business Insider to exclusively publish a few of the photos you see below (some can be seen on One Of Many.)

You can also check out Verhoeve’s Instagram account here, which showcases some images you may not see while visiting One Of Many.

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