Race…Are we so different? This question was the starting point for the 2nd Nature summer program that employed 49 youth aged 14-18. The youth created art and media that represented their understanding of race. They researched and discussed the development of race, their personal identity and how people are affected by race. Throughout this process youth were inspired and reflected on the theme while visiting National Parks in the National Capital Region.
For 6-weeks the youth worked in production teams – fine art, graphic design, creative writing and photography. Each youth developed their skills in a medium and simultaneously explored the theme of race. The theme was inspired by an exhibition developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota. RACE is the first nationally traveling exhibition to tell the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view.
This summer youth had a lot of questions. Is ‘Race’ real? Where did the word ‘race’ come from? Who made all these ignorant stereotypes? In the end there were fewer answers. But there are some things everyone was sure about – We are all part of the Human Race; ‘Race’ was created; and that everyone has a unique story and perspective to share.
Color Us Human reflects on how differences have caused hardships in history; and celebrates the vibrancy of youth today.
Photography Track: In the photography track, the participants used the still photograph as a tool to express themselves and interpret the world around them. Using a digital SLR camera and the Photoshop software, each participant was given both formal projects and free reign in order to learn not only the technical aspects of photography, but how to express oneself using a camera. In addition to learning photo basics such as composition and lighting, we also delved into deeper subjects such as self-expression, race, and culture.
We kicked off the summer arts program this week with 40 youth, 9 of which are photography students. We've spent the first week with orientation and exploration activities.
The youth have enjoyed exploring the four art tracks, including the photography track, meeting new friends and learning about the Civil War, which is the theme for the summer. In this first week, participants received an introduction to photography including the elements of composition and parts of a camera.
In the next weeks, participants will delve into their chosen track, go on a camping trip to Catoctin Mountain Park, make a self portrait and begin planning their final project or presentation piece.
Stay tuned for more updates on the youth's camping trip and self-portrait project.
Thank you for your continued support. Your generosity is helping change the lives of low-income youth in Washington DC with meaningful art experiences!
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