BRATTLEBORO >> Eighteen youth from all over the country have come to Vermont for In-Sight Photography Project's Exposures Program this summer.
On the simplest level, Exposures is a three-week immersion in the study of photography, culture, and diversity. On a deeper level, Exposures establishes the photographic arts as a language, common to these youth from diverse communities and cultures. Programming is based in collaboration and exchange, and is intended to facilitate creative cross-cultural dialogue and experiences that lead to a better understanding of individuals, communities and cultures.
For 14 years, Exposures has been guided by the principle that positive social and economic change rests on a foundation of understanding and respect.
Participants come from partnering organizations in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Vermont and range in age from 15 to 21. They come from many ethnic backgrounds and life experiences and they value the particular slice of opportunity In-Sight offers: the meeting place of photography and cultural understanding.
For three weeks from late June to mid-July, the Exposures participants engage with their host community here. They visit culturally and historically significant places around New England. They have the opportunity to participate in the Interfaith Group at the Guilford Church see Bread & Puppet Theater, visit the Bunker Farm and the Brattleboro Farmers' Market, hike Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire, camp by the ocean in Maine, experience a small town 4th of July Parade in Brattleboro, and have a remarkable opportunity to develop their photographs at Cone Editions.
They will be telling their stories, living, cooking, photographing together, creating a unique cyanotype quilt, and fostering their own unique community.
As with all programs at In-Sight, students may participate regardless of their ability to pay. The program is supported by grants and donations in addition to program fees.
After three weeks of photography and adventures, Exposures culminates in an exhibition of the work produced, along with a celebratory potluck community dinner. This year's dinner will be held Friday, July 15, at 5 p.m. on Winston Prouty's new campus, formerly the Austine School, in the dining room of the Vermont Hall. The public is invited to bring a potluck dish which has significance on either a personal, community, or cultural level. For instance, you bring potato salad because it is your personal favorite; or perhaps you bring cheddar cheese because you bought it from your neighboring farm; or yet again you bring a curry because it is a dish connected with your own cultural background.
As community members arrive, a blank card will be provided to label potluck dishes and add a few words about the personal significance of the dish.
Since 2002, Exposures has been opening the minds of young people. "I learned from each moment, each day and each conversation. And now I can go home with memories; cultural enrichment, photography skill ... More than anything, I felt part of something, like I was working towards something real, something that mattered," said one recent participant.
The In-Sight Photography Project and its Exposures Cross-Cultural Youth Arts Program empower youth to find their own creative voices and to communicate their unique personal visions through photography. Classes in photographic arts are provided regardless of ability to pay. Curriculum is guided by understanding and respect for individuals, communities, and cultures.
For more information, call 802-251-9961 or visit www.insight-photography.org.