This Is My City 2013: Student Exhibition Opening Soon!
Student exhibition This Is My City 2013 opens November 27!
The famous American landscape photographer Ansel Adams once said, “All should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
It is this sentiment that brought about the creation of AAC’s This Is My City teen photography program — to foster the creativity of the youth and to encourage collaboration with others.
For the past four years, AAC has hosted This Is My City in partnership with other individuals and organizations all over the world in order to create an ongoing cross-cultural dialogue based on community and identity. Previously, AAC has worked with international students from Suchitoto, El Salvador; Coyoacán, Mexico; and a rural village in the Bududa District near Mbale, Uganda.
This year we switched things up and partnered with a class in the small town of Haines, Alaska. This is the first time AAC has had a national partnership, and it certainly put an interesting patriotic twist on the program and the photographs produced this year.
The program kicked off with summer classes where AAC instructors Chanan Delivuk (Arlington, VA) and Sunday Ballew (Haines, AK) led field trips and created specialized lesson plans based on documentary photography and photography fundamentals. Due to the unique nature of each location, both instructors tackled the themes differently.
The Arlington class focused on photographic technique and composition while developing creative thinking skills and photography processes. Delivuk describes her experience with the Arlington class:
For This Is My City – Arlington, my goal was to allow students to visualize the city of Arlington using various techniques with digital photography. These techniques included collage, stop motion animation, and thematic image taking. The students worked in groups for some projects, with emphasis on gaining experience and comfort shooting photos outdoors in an environment. Students were asked to think creatively about overall composition when presenting works for critiques. Overall, each student brought something unique to the class as evident in their works in this showcase.
Meanwhile, the Haines class focused on honing a personal artistic voice and using their photography to get involved with the community. Instructor Sunday Ballew describes her experience leading the class:
While engaging image making and viewing in new and different ways, these young students got the chance to share their personal and local world views with those of students from across the continent. The entire community—teachers, parents, small children and passersby (tourists)— were excited about the idea of this creative bridge between two US communities. The class was held at one of Haines’ social hubs, the public library, and we had people from all walks of life – not just the students – dropping in and observing (even participating in) the class. It was an event that enriched many more than just the students’ lives. Great fun was had!
Although the states of Virginia and Alaska share the same national flag, these two places are extremely different in terms of lifestyle and environment. As a result, the exhibition presents an interesting juxtaposition of Arlington’s urban landscape with the scenic coast lands of Alaska. Still, similar themes such as identity, community, and nature are explored by the young photographers in the two environments. Each students’ unique perspective is evident in the photos selected for the exhibition.
This Is My City 2013 will be on view in the Jenkin’s Community Gallery from November 27 to December 22, 2013. Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities for teen art classes at AAC as well as the announcement for the new partner city for This Is My City 2014!
– written by Leslie Mounaime, AAC’s Education Intern