HIGH SCHOOL PHOTO AND ENGLISH STUDENTS ASK “WHAT’S YOUR STORY?” WITH PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION EXPLORING TEENAGE IDENTITY
We hear about Philadelphia’s students in the news often, but we rarely get the chance to hear from them. With this project from Kensington CAPA High School, 8 sets of student work on identity are displayed for all to see. The sets are well-suited for an afternoon of walking, close to the restaurants, bars, and cafes of the Frankford Avenue corridor.
Student work is generally confined to the school and classroom, and most often to the individual student and the teacher. In our current era of standardized testing and data-driven schooling, we lose sight of the value of engagement and discovery for our students. With this Literacy through Photography project, we aimed to give students an opportunity to explore their identities in the classroom, and to present their work publicly.
Students are all members of the photography and English program of Kensington CAPA. Using projects based on the Literacy Through Photography program and photographer Wendy Ewald, they have planned and produced a large format installation. The work is displayed in a corridor of Philadelphia where residents of multiple neighborhoods converge. The 8x10 foot vinyl panels feature portraits of the students, treasured family photos, and silhouettes, along with original student writing. Students digitally converted their own handwriting to illustrate their ideas on top of photos. This builds on a public project from last year, which addressed education funding cuts. By viewing all 8 sites, you will see a striking and complex image of our students’ identities.
In addition to the 8 publicly displayed sets, a gallery show will be up at Franny Lou’s Porch (2400 Coral St.) through mid-July featuring additional student pieces from this project.
This project is possible through partnership with Learning Through Photography at Moore -- an outreach program of The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design. Learning Through Photography at Moore is supported by Moore College of Art & Design.
The Kensington CAPA photography program produces a yearly public exhibition and is open to all students attending the school. The program is growing and seeks to explore social justice issues through the visual arts. The school serves a diverse population of students, 100% of whom are categorized as economically disadvantaged. These are the very students hurt most by the current focus on data-driven schooling as the only way, and the voices that are usually unheard.