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The Arts

Voice and outlet

In-Sight celebrates 20th anniversary with a student photography show that reflects the creative self-expression of area teens

BRATTLEBORO—Two photography exhibits will be on display to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the In-Sight Photography Project, a Brattleboro-based photography program for youth.

In-Sight’s annual exhibition of local student work will be on display at the Hooker-Dunham Theater and Gallery all of May, with its opening reception on Friday, May 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.

In its own gallery on Flat Street, In-Sight will present work from its satellite program, “Exposures,” with selections from the “24 Hour Project,” in which students from across the country were asked to create a series of photographs representing a single day which demonstrates how their region is unique. This show will have its opening also on May 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.

In addition to these two shows, actor and sociologist Jerry Levy will appear as Karl Marx in Howard Zinn’s acclaimed play Marx in Soho at Hooker-Dunham Theater on Saturday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. as a benefit performance for In-Sight.

In-Sight was founded by photographers Bill Ledger and John Willis in 1992 to teach photography to youth throughout southern Vermont regardless of their ability to pay. It now offers photography courses at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels for ages 11 to 18.

According to its website, the goal is to give “students a creative voice and outlet, an opportunity to experience success, tools for self-awareness and self-worth, and the encouragement to become actively engaged in their communities.”

Sophia Lacava-Bohanan, assistant director of In-Sight, curates both the In-Sight show at Hooker Dunham, and the “Exposures” show on Flat Street.

The In-Sight exhibition “will be a celebration of the creative self-expression of our students,” she said.

Two shows, two topics

The show, including works of both digital and black-and-white film photography, will showcase work by most students from the past year. These include landscapes, portraits, and experimental techniques, and represent the depth and diversity of programs offered at In-Sight.

While the In-Sight show focuses on work from students in Windham County, the “Exposures” show consists of work from all over the country.

“Exposures” is a cross-cultural exchange program that was developed in 2001 collaboratively by directors of In-Sight and the Hall Farm Center, both Vermont-based nonprofit arts organizations, who began to work with youth organizations on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. They assisted with the implementation of photography programming for youth on the reservation and forming relationships within the community.

In-Sight students in Vermont partnered with participants at Street-Level Youth Media from Chicago; Little Wound School from Pine Ridge Reservation, S.D.; Shannon County Virtual High School, also on Pine Ridge Reservation; and Diné Southwest High School from Navajo Nation, Ariz.

“This year’s special focus was called ‘The 24 Hour Project,’” said LaCava-Bohanan. “Our photography show on Flat Street is the Spring Exchange culminating event. The goal of the ‘24 Hour Project’ was to study routine. We asked the students, ‘What constitutes the daily pattern of where you live?’”

She said participants were instructed to make photographs to represent a 24-hour cycle of a typical day in their area by capturing an image from each hour of that day.

The “Exposures” exhibit on Flat Street will showcase the best of the work from “The 24 Hour Project.”

“The idea was to figure out what makes a day truly representative of our lives,” she said. “From the photographs of each participant, in each area the group of ’Exposures’ students had to curate a communal work that best represented this 24-hout period. Participants thereby learned photographic skills and techniques to explore how daily routines build a sense of community and culture.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #150 (Wednesday, May 2, 2012).

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