Like many schools in the area, Monticello High requires students to render some service to the community as part of the curriculum. Projects can be anything from entertaining kids at a day care center to mucking around in the river cleaning out the trash.
Fellow students were envious, though, when Miranda Pax, Brooke Easton, Grace Busse, and Megan Ravenscroft landed the assignment at the Virginia Discovery Museum. For their service project, these four young women were invited to take up a camera and create a photographic exhibit about children and diversity in Charlottesville.
Each of the students brought with her some interest in and prior experience with photography along with lots of enthusiasm about this project. The girls went out into the community with the goal of retrieving images of all the different kinds of kids who are growing up in Charlottesville. They attended local events such as Fridays after Five, popped in on preschool and Sunday school classes, sought out family friends with small children, and found kids to photograph at parks, the shopping mall, and restaurants.
In the end, what the students brought back to the museum astonished gallery assistants and project coordinators Dana Sheridan and Jenny Keeling. These were not pictures with kids in the standard school picture pose standing next to the tree with everybody smiling sweetly. The images were rich with texture and perspective, candids of all kinds of children playing together and being camera shy, with a feel for what kids are really like.
The result of this unique service project is a collection of over 40 photographs, both black and white and color, some hand-developed in the darkroom by the students, some commercially processed. This exhibit, featuring kids from two to 10 years old, entitled “Everyone, Everywhere: Diversity and Kids,” hangs at a child’s level, of course, in the classroom space at the Virginia Discovery Museum. The public is welcome to celebrate the official opening of the show and meet these photo artists and some of their subjects on May 24 from 4 to 5pm.
Everyone, Everywhere: Diversity and Kids hangs through June 24 in the classroom space at the Virginia Discovery Museum. The exhibit is free with museum admission. East end of the Downtown Mall. 977-1025