There’s A Story To Be Told About Community Of Pride — It Starts With The Kids At Emlen.

There is a story to be told, and it’s unfolding at Eleanor C. Emlen School, a public school with lack of access to the arts. A public school where the children are guaranteed one meal a day, where many kids walk to school. But dreams are happening and possibilities are being introduced as the children immerse themselves in the creativity of the visual arts, (performing arts an unexpected bonus), while we add on the critical literacy component in Phase 2. Hope and opportunity, along with pride and tears of joy and celebration, are opening new doors — led by artists from the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG), teachers from Emlen, an inspired principal, Ms. Tammy Thomas, and, of course, the most amazing class of 4th and 5th grade kids ever.

The first word is children, the next word is pride, followed by creativity and making dreams happen. Year 1 of the Community of Pride (COP) Mural Project has been a year of exploration — talking, drawing, creating unique personal artwork incorporating self pride, family pride, and community pride. Finding artistic safe space that is accepting and creative. But even more… the stories:

· Denise Veronick, Emlen lead teacher, during the mural dedication: “We didn’t pick the best students (to be in the COP Project). We didn’t pick those with the highest grades or best attendance. We chose the ones we felt needed it the most, would be impacted the most, would affect their lives the most. I learned many important lessons. First, everyone is an artist in their own way. Everyone loves when another appreciates their work. These kids were brave and, in the end, reaped the benefits of putting themselves out there.

The group that came together to create this mural couldn’t have been more diverse. With our common goal in mind and our various abilities on display we created a beautiful and meaningful work of art. This is not something that happens in the School District of Philadelphia. This may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity for these young people. They learned to work with people who are very different from them. We shared a mutual respect for our differences. Even though I think we all witnessed the great learning opportunities throughout our time together, I can’t help but think of the lessons these students will take with them into their futures.”

· Touissant: “Toussaint came to Emlen as a 4th grader in the Autistic Support class. He was quiet and seemed to defer to the slightly older and slightly bolder children. In fact, I rarely heard him speak. I chose Toussaint to participate in this project as a 5th grader because of his artistic ability. When he put his mind to a project he saw it through to the end. He put all he had into his drawings, using every bit of space on the paper and using color like a pro.

As the project got started we watched Toussaint bloom into a whole new person. His confidence grew before our eyes. He made friends with a few students finding shared interests such as football and Pokemon. He was actually having full conversations, but that was only one example of his confidence. One class period we were going over a Powerpoint that consisted of words and pictures. When asked for a volunteer to read Toussaint’s hand shot up. (I knew he could not read all the words but he wanted to try.) He stood proudly and read the words out loud as I whispered them to him. He was able to put himself out there because he trusted the group to not make fun of him. He took a giant step in his social confidence that day. Plus he ended up selling his original framed piece.”  — Denise Veronick, teacher.
·  Ishaaq: “Ishaaq came to Emlen for 5th grade. He was a student with limited academic ability and many behavior problems. The first few months of school his teacher complained that he did no school work — all he did was draw all day. We later found out that he couldn’t do the work so he did what he did best, draw.

Whenever Ishaaq came to work on the mural he had perfect behavior and worked harder than anyone else. He had found his niche at Emlen School. His two drawings were a prominent part of the mural. Had he not been a part of this group I fear the growth we saw in June would not have happened. He carried himself with pride, his behavior was completely turned around and his school work was getting done. I saw him the morning of his 5th Grade Move Up Ceremony, he was bursting with pride and looking forward to getting awards in front of his classmates. (I gave him an Art Award and his teacher gave him a Most Improved Award)” — Denise Veronick, teacher.

Celebratory breakfast honoring the participants at Emlen for Mural Dedication Day.

· Naomi: Naomi showed she had a flair for showing what pride meant to her. She drew a picture of her uncle who is a firefighter along with his fire truck. She spoke about how proud she and her family are of her uncle. She also drew an excellent picture of a hip-hop dancer. This drawing captured the attention from an adult who wanted to own this drawing. They negotiated a price, discussed time spent and value, Naomi signed her work, and both walked away happy.

· Mom, crying at mural dedication: “I am so happy that my child is going to Emlen. Thank you so much for doing this.”

And yet, there was more… what we lovingly refer to as the “icing on the cake”:

MAAGs exhibition of “Having Our Say” at PTC! Kids are loving every minute.

· Free tickets and a bus to see “Having Our Say” at the Philadelphia Theater Company (PTC) was a highlight. Thank you PTC for your partnership with MAAG! Most of the students had never been to see a live play. They were all dressed up and on their best behavior. They made us all proud! And at the end of the performance they all got to see MAAGs art exhibition in the gallery. Even better, one child texted her Mom during the entire show — it was her first time ever going to a live performance in a theatre. And Mom said, for her daughter’s birthday, they were next going to see “Wicked,” and we were sworn to secrecy!

For most of these kids, it was their first time for live theatre. And they turned it out! Proud of YOU!

· Art At City Hall student showcase: A special invitation from the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture to showcase the work of the children from the COP Mural Project where art is making a difference in the community. Exhibition runs from August 7 – Sept. 29 with the reception on Wed., Sept. 27 in Rm 116.

Hip Hop Girl — SOLD!

· Young artists selling their work: We never saw it coming. Framed original artwork, ready to go to City Hall, were all over the COP artroom. Two students sold their work. So, next year, part of the program will involve framing all artwork, creating their own artists bio’s, with sale prices attached. In short, curating and selling their work!

So, you may ask, what’s next? We can barely contain ourselves we are just that excited. As children chase the teachers and principal at Emlen to be in Phase 2 starting this September, we proudly announce we are adding a literacy component. You will be hearing more about the Community of Pride Mural and Literacy Project.

Just know this. Maybe, just maybe, you may be able to attend Emlen’s “Welcome Back to School” night on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 5:15 pm. Mt Airy Art Garage will be launching Phase 2 and featuring Arielle Baril (now 14 years old) who will be telling her story and singing for the entire school. Don’t know who she is? Well, check this out, and believe that you WILL want to be at Emlen on that night.

Stay tuned. There’s so much more going on. You won’t want to miss a thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric Collage Workshop — Your Time to Shine!

Fabric Collage Workshop
No-Sew, Fusible Web Applique
Saturday, June 3rd, 1 – 4 pm, 6700 Germantown Ave., Lower Level
Class Fee $40

These gorgeous fabric collages look stunning when framed in shadow boxes, and make excellent wall hangings. Make one for yourself or as a handmade gift which will charm anyone who receives it. They are made from beautiful 100% cotton batiks, then matted and framed. In 3 hours you can leave the class with a fully- framed work of art.

Materials: You can bring your own collection of fusible web-prepared fabric, or you can purchase a fabric kit of first-quality batik fabrics. You will need a 8.5” x 10.5” background fabric, and coordinating fabrics for the vase and flowers. Fabric kits will be available for $10. Students must bring good scissors and inspiration.

Students who purchase fabric kits will be given the base fabric and the vase and flower fabrics for this no-sew project. They will create their own flower vase collages. Then they will have the option of purchasing a $10 8” x 10” shadow box frame for immediate finishing of their project. Students will be given detailed instructions so they can create more projects on their own. Students will receive a materials list and details upon registration.

Karoline WallaceKaroline Wallace: A Mt. Airy resident and MAAG member, Karoline is an art quilt maker with 18 years experience. She has taught fabric collage and quilt classes for the past 7 years.

“The Struggle Continues! Women Artists Fighting For Our Rights”

Panel, Sunday, March 6 @ 3 pm

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In observance of Women’s History Month, the Mt. Airy Art Garage will present “No Longer Anonymous” — a series of exhibitions, panel discussions, writing circles, and a live concert in partnership with the Philadelphia Folk Song Society.

On Sunday, March 6, celebrating International Women’s Day, MAAG will host a panel— “It’s Not Over Yet! Women Artists Fighting For Our Rights.” Building on the fiber exhibition and featuring artists and educators throughout the city, this event will start at 3 pm. Leading women artists will be talking about challenges to success and the meaning of success, how things have changed (or not), and a host of issues pertinent to women and the arts. Panelists include Valerie Gay, Miriam Davidson, Trapeta B. Mayson, Dr. Sally O’Driscoll, and Tieshka Smith. Speakers will tell their stories and examine ways to overcome stereotypes, while inspiring empowerment.

Admission for the panel is $10/$8 in advance. Everyone is welcome.

Buy your advance tickets now and save:

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Speakers Include:

Valerie V GayValerie V. Gay is a performing artist as well as a civic leader and arts administrator. She has developed a unique blend of skills, which allow her to seamlessly interact in arts and business settings.

As classically trained singer, Val regularly performs in operas, special events, solo concert recitals and plays piano and organ as a church musician across the Philadelphia region, nationally and internationally. 

Since 2012, Val has served as executive director of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia.  Prior to joining Art Sanctuary, she was Assistant Dean for Institutional Advancement for the College of Education at Temple University, and Vice President and Portfolio Manager with PNC Financial Services Group.

Having been named one of Philadelphia’s “Most Influential African Americans” and “101 Connector Leaders,” Val serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Barra Foundation, the Marian Anderson Award, the Blues Babe Foundation and The Arts and Business Council Advisory Board.

Holding a Bachelor and Master of Music, Val is also a Certified Financial Planner. 

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Miriam Davidson, Artistic Director, is a contemporary folk performer, songwriter, instrumentalist, arranger and choir director. She has recorded and co-produced eight CDs, several of which have won national awards. She is the author of several books for Alfred Publishing on songwriting and instrumental performance skills. In addition to directing ANNA Crusis Women’s Choir, Miriam is the music director at the Unitarian Congregation of West Chester, PA and choir director at Makhelat Micha’el: Mishkan Community Choir in Philadelphia.

 

TrapetapicTrapeta B. Mayson has read her poetry widely and worked extensively conducting poetry and creative writing workshops. She is a recipient of a 2002 Pew Fellowship, 2007 Leeway Transformation Award, 2014 Leeway Art and Change Grant, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grants. She is the author of two books, She Was Once Herself and Mocha Melodies. Her other publications include submissions in The American Poetry Review, Aesthetica Magazine, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry and Lavanderia, among others. She is a native of Liberia and has spent most of her life in Philadelphia. Her work sheds light on and honors the immigrant experience as well as amplifies the stories of everyday people. Trapeta earned degrees from Temple University, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (MSS) and Villanova University School of Business (MBA). She resides in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia and is the Executive Director of Historic Germantown in Philadelphia. www.trapetamayson.com

Sally O'Driscoll Professor English Womens Studies

 

 

Sally O’Driscoll, Ph.D., is Professor of English and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Fairfield University.  She specializes in eighteenth-century British culture, focusing on gender and sexuality issues.  She writes about women novelists and about women and queer people in popular culture.

 

 

 

Taken October 4, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA.

Tieshka Smith is a Philadelphia-based photographer, blogger, community activist and creator of the #RacismIsASickness art and social action project. Her overall body of work incorporates street/documentary digital photography in the photojournalistic tradition of Henri Cartier Bresson, Gordon Parks, Jamel Shabazz, Vivian Meier, and others; social media, blogging, collaborative mapping, and interactions with people, organizations and coalitions working at the intersection of race, class and gender. It is her goal to use her art to facilitate dialogue and action around a range of socioeconomic issues that impact urban communities and to promote the use of as many tools at her disposal to challenge the status quo. 

Smith has contributed work to a number of online and print publications. Also, her work has been exhibited in galleries and other community spaces both on the East Coast and in the Midwest. A Chicago native, Smith is a graduate of Northwestern University and Keller Graduate School of Management.   

Buy your advance tickets now and save!

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Celebrate International Women’s Day 

Find out more.  Just click on the events below!

 

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Day Of The Dead Visits the Abyss! Ready, Set, Draw!

2nd Sunday, Nov. 8, 3 pm — 5 pm.

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Close your eyes, look in your soul, and step outside yourself as you go to Sketching in the Abyss — the monthly life drawing class that you never had in art school!

promophoto3Every Second Sunday, at 3 pm, we have models come in and pose with a theme. With an admission price of only $15 for nonmembers/ $12 for members, it’s sure to be a good time for all! We welcome illustrators, painters, and all visual artists, although we do not allow photography. Bring your materials and be prepared to have a great time!

This month, we’re pleased to announce our theme is Day of the Dead with Philly-based alternative models Nike Bonez and Jenelle Aimée Noelll posing for us! Between their amazing makeup and costumes, its sure to be a great time! We encourage you to wear your Goth best as well!promophoto2

So come on out, bring your supplies, and get ready for a 2 hours of sketching like crazy! The Abyss is open from 3-5 pm.

For more information contact Larry.maag@gmail.com or call 215.242.5074

Photos (c) Larry West

Artists Vs. Gentrification—A Dialogue

Friday, October 30, 6 pm

maag_banner_art-xwebIt’s the age-old story of artists being the vanguard in a community, building out where rubble exists, and then being displaced. What are some of the reasons behind these closures? How can artists safeguard themselves to avoid being caught in the middle of a space being closed? Who are potential partners for figuring out where to go next? What spaces are available in the city? Dialogue with invited guests from Center for Emerging and Visual Artists (CFEVA), artists from 915 Spring Garden, the Mt. Airy Art Garage, MaKen Studios and others. It’s an evening of informal conversation — a necessary discussion within a community of artists and the city as a whole. 

Speakers:

Bailey Chick, Crane Arts

Dora Ficher, Artist Formerly at 915 Spring Garden

Cait Kenny, Outreach and Project Manager at MaKen Studios

MaKen Studios provides rentable space and resources to interdisciplinary artists, businesses, and manufacturers. The MaKen Studios brand consists of two industrial buildings that sit a block away from each other–MaKen North and MaKen South–that can accommodate a multitude of businesses and special events.

In June 2014, the MaKen North building received a stop-work order due to permitting issues for an event that was to be held at the building, Force Field. This is how the event started. And this is how it ended.  As a result, the event was forced to relocate and our management team had to work with the businesses within the North building to relocate as well. In addition, we’ve faced negative and positive experiences working with L&I to get the project off-the-ground. Now, we’re almost out of the clear and are getting ready to bring artists and businesses back in to the buildings, after a year and a half of renovations.

Marnie Lersch, CFEVA

Marnie Lersch has worked as an arts administrator and curator for over 7 years and is currently the Program Associate at the Center for Emerging Visual Artist (CFEVA). She is responsible for facilitating exhibitions, arts programming and the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. Marnie is a recent transplant to Philadelphia from the Finger Lakes region of New York where she co-founded FFL Artist Collaborative which provides exhibition opportunities for emerging artists in the Finger Lakes. Additionally, Marnie has worked in an administrative capacity assisting with the curation, installation and community programming at Rochester Contemporary Art Center (Rochester, NY), The Memorial Art Gallery (Rochester, NY) and the Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase, NY). She was the 2013- 2014 Gallery Assistant at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University.

Marnie is currently working towards a Master’s of Science in Arts Administration at Drexel University, focusing on the interdependency of artists, arts organizations and tourism in rural communities economically dependent on seasonal tourism. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in painting and printmaking.

Arleen Olshan, Mt. Airy Art Garage

 

 

 

Make Art, Grow Food Mural Dedication This Week. Join us!

Mural Dedication this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 11 am at the Mt. Airy Art Garage (rear).

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Mural Design (c) Daisy Langston Juarez. Photo (c) Michael Albany.

What an amazing intergenerational collaboration between children at Henry Houston Elementary School and elders at Homelink making their own kind of special magic. All drawings in the mural are original and created solely by the participants. The teacher artists of the Mt. Airy Art Garage compiled the images.

Now we are ready to celebrate! Join us this Wed., Sept 9, @ 11 am in the rear garden of the Mt. Airy Art Garage. We’ll be joined by all the artists in the project, both young and old, plus a host of sponsors who made this project possible.  Earth, Bread, and Brewery will concoct some tasty garden treats for all to enjoy.

So, let’s celebrate and keep on dreaming!

 

Make Art Grow Food Mural Comes To Life!

Make Art Grow Food Mural

Oh yes! The kids from Houston School, elders from Homelink, and MAAG teacher artists have been busy making murals and growing urban gardens. There’s so much happening here…we jus have to show you how much fun we’re having and the amazing artwork we’re all creating. Who knows? Just maybe, you’ll join us and volunteer to make this amazing project even better! We’re full steam ahead into September.

So, please indulge us as we share our ongoing joy in this project.

It starts with an idea. Urban gardens, food, vegetables, nature, animals, nutrition, and, of course, a big helping of creativity and love. Then everyone starts to do their artwork. Daisy Juarez and Arleen Olshan take those ideas and help incorporate them into a mural. Daisy does the layout and design of the mural, while everyone’s artwork gets added to the mix.

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Then begins the mural painting, and everyone gets to work. Sometimes the kids come to MAAG every day to make the most of their time before school’s out!

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And, lo and behold, the mural starts to come alive. The kids are jumping up and down as they see their birds, and caterpillars, and faces, and… The elders smile—they love their mural hands, shaped in a heart, leaves of the tree, embracing all, especially the children.

 

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The urban garden? Thriving!

From this…

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To this….

With Nettie Scott, MAAG garden and nutrition teacher, at the helm…

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To this…

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To this…

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BUT WAIT! We’re not done. We’re tending to the garden, watering, weeding, and nurturing so that Earth, Bread, and Brewery will have a luscious crop from which to cook their meal in September for all the participants to enjoy. Thank you Peggy Zwerver!

We’re also finishing off the mural, filling it in, making it even richer. And we need your help! It really is great fun when you’re painting with a group of 5-6 folks. You don’t have to be an artist. Just have a steady hand.

So, reach out to us at info@mtairyartgarage.org or call 215.242.5074. We need your help. We pretty sure you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks again to our sponsors. We could have never done it without you. Stay tuned for updates on Make Art, Grow Food.

 

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Make Art Grow Food Project Is Off To A Running Start

What do you think is happening at the Mt. Airy Art Garage right now? Magic…that’s what’s happening.

Autistic kids at Houston School are partnering with elders at Homelink and MAAG artist teachers are right by their sides. For starters we’re all making a mural—one that will have everyone’s artwork in it, both young and elder. At the same time, we’re planting an urban garden—learning about nutritious foods and how to grow them in your own backyard. Earth, Bread and Brewery will be cooking up the garden herbs and veggies in September to make something yummy. The fruits of everyone’s labor for all to participate in and celebrate.

This project’s part fantasy, part reality, pure creativity, and all about sustainability, urban gardens, nutrition, good health, and, of course, art. Children and elders, working together, creating something so very special. Anyone who comes in can’t help but fall under its spell. We see it every day with our very own eyes.

Come visit, volunteer your time, donate, join our growing list of community sponsors. Join the growing list of supporters who are becoming a part of this project happening right in the heart of Mt. Airy. We’ll be updating you on a regular basis.

Meet the teachers!

Arleen Olshan, Art Teacher

Arleen Olshan, Art Teacher

Daisy Juarez, art teacher and muralist designer extraordinaire

Daisy Juarez, art teacher and muralist designer extraordinaire

Our artist teachers design, teach, prep walls, mix paint, and share the best of themselves.

Both Nettie Scott, our Master Gardener & Artist Teacher, and Carol Nashleanas, our artist gardener, were camera shy.

 

 

 

 

A small section of Daisy's imagining with artwork from one of the children.First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

A small section of Daisy’s imagining with artwork from one of the children.First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

Creating The Mural & Urban Garden

Make an impact this summer! Stop in and learn how you can get involved in Make Art Grow Food. We need volunteers to keep the garden growing. We’ll be hosting community paint days to complete the mural. And lots more.

Be a part of something really special. Join the neighbors that are stopping by with soil, plants, and an abundance of smiles and enthusiasm. Be a part of making a difference. Email us at info@mtairyartgarage.org or all 215.242.5074.

 

Stay tuned as we get ready to paint!
 

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My Son Matters! TALKBACK…A Plea From One Mother To Another

TALKBACK Friday, May 15, 6 pm, @ 11 W. Mt Airy Ave. $5 Donation. Everyone welcome.

Post Ferguson—My Son Matters! Post Baltimore—My Son Matters! 300 people at Denise Allen’s opening reception—My Son Matters!  Check out this video! The main question on everyone’s lips—when can we talk more about this? 

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(c) Sheppard Williams

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(c) Sheppard Williams

TALKBACK is our response. A roundtable discussion with Denise Allen and the mothers in the Exhibition. A safe space, amidst the most positive imagery. As Vashti Dubois says “It’s a chance to speak through motherhood to all mothers regardless of race or status.” A time to talk, to listen, to share, to understand. For all of us. Men, women, and children.

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(c) Sheppard Williams

You won’t want to miss this. Bring your family, bring your friends, bring yourself. Why? Because My Son Matters!

 

 

Post Ferguson: My Son Matters!

Opening Reception April 17 at 6 pm. Solo exhibition runs April 10 through May 31, 2015. Admission free.

Post Ferguson. Denise Allen, photographer, deeply impacted, writes:

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(c) Denise Allen

“I am an African American single mother and I have a son. I have always taught my son to be respectful and to do what is right.  Now I realize that I also have to teach my son how to survive in a world where he will be treated differently because of the color of his skin.  All across this country, this is the heartbreaking discussion black parents are having with their teenage kids — telling them that being black in America means they must watch how they dress, how they move, how they behave. It means being deferential to authority and suffering indignities in silence rather than face the risks of speaking out.”

Quote1Ms. Allen, responds with My Son Matters, an exhibition consisting of 35 portraits of African-American single mothers and their sons, with written declarations by those women. It elevates and honors the relationship between mothers and their sons, while shining a loving light on the young men whose existence is often stigmatized. Not only does this exhibit document the concerns and the struggles mothers go through to raise their sons, but it gives engaged mothers a platform to re-envision their sons’ images. Images, that have been and continue to be portrayed as negative and demeaning.

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(c) Denise Allen

There will also be portraits of young men appearing in hoodies, set in an environment, which rings true to their individual strength and uniqueness. All photography in this exhibition is a response to an epidemic of police violence in the black community, particularly against African-American young men.

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(c) Denise Allen

This exhibition highlights photographic art borne of the love and concern that the featured mothers have for their sons. Join us as we celebrate mother’s voices and hopes for their children and their future. Admission is free and open to the entire family. 

More about Denise Allen…

Denise is a single mother, an Art and Social Change Documentary photographer, and an art teacher. Years ago, she use to describe herself as simply an art teacher, or depending on the year, a photographer. Today her life has come full circle, and she considers herself to be an Art and Social Change Photographer that advocates and celebrates young African-American children and diversity.

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Denise Allen and her son Jordan. (c) Denise Allen

Upon graduation from Columbia College, Denise started her photography career in Chicago as a catalogue photographer and quickly moved to New York as a freelance photographer. Fortunately, she did not have to wait long to receive catalog and editorial work and became emerged in the Fashion Industry. The unfortunate part of this experience was she experienced the death of so many talented and creative people from the outbreak of the AIDS Virus. Denise was devastated and felt her photography was frivolous. She decided to do something that could give her life more meaning. So she went back to school to receive a Masters Degree in Art Education. Denise has worked as an art teacher for 25 years. During this time she developed mentoring and leadership programs for African-American children. She continued with her photography, but it lacked direction.

Denise believes that we are living in a moment where another epidemic is striking and so many of our bright future stars are being killed physically, mentally, and spiritually. This time the epidemic is affecting our African-American young males — Denise realizes that she does have a voice and can do something. This realization was triggered when she learned about the circumstances in the death of Trayvon Martin. The difference between then and now is that she knows she has power and knows her photography is not frivolous. Denise documents and share stories of African-American young men and their parents. She raises consciousness about the stigma associated with African-American males. Denise uses her photography as her tool, her weapon, and PART OF THE SOLUTION!