Taken by R. Landis_Idea Francis&Michelle

Building Love

Each year I volunteer my time to an after school program for children facing social and environmental barriers through an wonderful organization called Family & Children’s Agency (FCA).  Four years ago I was asked by a related agency to put together a photography program for young adults ranging from 12 yo 15 years.  After a successful school term I was referred to FCA where the program has continued for another three years.

This year we added a new challenge.  One of the galleries that shows my own work, River Road Gallery in Wilton, CT, heard about my efforts and asked if they could host the kids’ work at the end of the course.  Caught by surprise I contacted the leadership at FCA and after an initial meeting with the manager and the owner of River Road Gallery we created a fund raising event spotlighting their photography.  The initial reaction from the kids was cautious, but as the term progressed they created wonderful work, 75 pieces in all, 50 of which are framed and hung for the show on June 6th and the other 25 in a portfolio book.  The show continues and runs through July 6th.  If you mention the event as you purchase art or framing, River Road donates 5% of all art sold and 10% of all framing to FCA.  In addition the kids photos can be purchased and proceeds go to FCA as a charitable donation.  FCA is a 501(c)3 and provides proper documentation for tax deductions.

Their first assignment was to compose a mission statement; an expression of how they would interpret the word “BUILD” through the lens of their camera. In addition each class began with a compositional lesson, a basic principle of aesthetics that lays the universal foundation for art and photography. They combined these practical lessons with their personal vision of  the show’s theme, “BUILD,” with the aid of only a rudimentary point-and-shoot camera.

My great regret is that I can’t share with you all of their work since I don’t have the permission of their parents to show them here, but at graduation next week I intend to ask some if they would, have them sign a release, and then post them.  However, there is a terrific internet news piece from ITSRELEVANT.COM that was done about the show that I share with you.  It features some of their work.

There is no greater feeling making a small contribution to their confidence and maturity.  Better than any award winning photo.