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About The Best of Us Project

Ever see that movie called AS GOOD AS IT GETS?  The one with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt?  Jack plays an OCD author named Melvin and Helen’s his favorite waitress, Carol.  In the movie, Melvin knows zip about Carol.  He only knows she’s an integral part of his orbit.  He needs to sit in his seat, order his regular order, but most of all, be waited on by Carol.  As long as he has that, everything about Melvin’s breakfast experience feels right.  It’s only later in the movie he realizes there may be more to the weary Carol than slinging dishes and filling coffee cups.  Lots more.


My name is Stacey (GG High).  I’m a sub-novice photographer, a painter, a writer and a big believer in the power of us girls.  But perhaps more than all that, I’m no Melvin.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve wondered about people.  Not so much the cookie cutter folks, but more the quiet, jaggedy folks who linger on the periphery of perfect days and cherished routines.  Like the cook in the local diner who slips a bowl of grapes to my son…just because.  Or the cheery store clerk who always wears the big red flower in her hair.  The homeless guy with AIDS and the worn out Starbucks cup and a cooking school degree.  Holy cow!  THESE are the people I want to know.  THEIRS are the stories I want to hear.  And mostly, THESE are the friends I want to treasure.


The Best of Us Project is about the people in our community who so often go unnoticed and yet…something wouldn’t be right if they weren’t there, doing what they do.  It’s a project intended to introduce us to ourselves, to find our unlikely teachers and to celebrate our commonalities and our differences.  But beyond that, The Best of Us Project highlights the oft-ignored bedrocks of our community and shines a light on the many things we are...beyond what we think we see.


Our project begins in Durham, NC where I’ll be photographing these amazing people, painting them (with my hands…because brush cleaning…no thanks!) and writing a narrative so you can learn more about the incredible folks right here in our own backyard.


Join me in raising a glass to THE BEST OF US.  And most of all, join me in TRULY taking a moment to know the folks celebrated in our project and so many others just like them.  Their stories are inspirational.  And I promise you…their hearts are as good as it gets.

(To see more of Stacey's work, visit

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