Believing Takes Time is a youth photography exhibit that was presented to share the photography work of several young girls (ages 7 - 13) that participated in the 12-week Youth Photography Workshop hosted by SVNCRWNS + Greenmount West Community Center (GWCC). The work was on display at Gallery CA May 3 - May 25 2018.
Before the exhibit and workshop, SVNCRWNS had been spending time at the community center using the space as an office to complete our work. We learned about their summer camp and upcoming fall/winter programming that would be kicking off soon.
After meeting many of the kids in the space, we thought of ways we could impact them. It was important to not just share fun activities with the kids, but to also introduce them to new hobbies and share entrepreneurial skills. Of all the instructors in the space, 90% were entrepreneurs extending themselves as resources to the community center.
Although the neighborhood has gained new energy and resources in the community due to the newly developed real estate, the bleak reality for a lot of folks in urban America is living in poverty. Poverty is a huge topic to unpack, but as innovators and resource connectors, we used our time in the center to create curriculum that would be interesting and opportunity-driven - we presented artrepreneurship to the youth. The idea of artrepreneurship is very important, especially in resource-stricken environments. To change your reality by creating opportunities for self is no small task.
As youth between the ages of 7 - 13, we thought this was a great age range to introduce different art skills that could be used to create income. Very quickly, we landed on photography. Our goals were to learn the fundamentals of photography, receive camera and film equipment for real-world practice, learn to see using your photography eye to create a collection of photos and then figure out ways to sell our art.
SVNCRWNS created a 12-week curriculum (Jan 2017 - Mar 2017) and partnered with photographers in the community to donate equipment. As part of the curriculum, we had several artists come and speak to our kids about their art and how they used it to create opportunities for themselves. Some of our best moments during the workshops were our weekly photo walks. Some of our stops included the nearby park, the Baltimore Penn Station and Open Works. After settling on a theme for our collection of photos, we were able to create a plan with our kids to talk to the local gallery space within the community to see what it would take to create an exhibit, select and print our work, and invite our friends and family for our very first youth photography exhibit.