An exhibit of photographs created and assembled by a group of local teens about their recent exploration of place in Antioch will open at the Antioch Library at 1 p.m. on Nov. 8 with a reception featuring presentations and a discussion session, followed by a social period with refreshments. The event is free and open to the entire community.
The exhibit is the culmination of a 10-week project called How I See It: My Place, a program of the California Council for the Humanities that involved more than 300 young people in 21 libraries across the state exploring and investigating their cities and towns using digital cameras, direct observation and the resources of their respective libraries. The council supplied the libraries with materials, equipment, a curriculum and a small grant to enable them to conduct the projects.
Through the course of the 10-week project, participants learned how to document their observations with photography and writing, how to curate an exhibit and how to organize and conduct a public program. This group of teens has grown in knowledge and abilities since the start of the project. Their photographs are absolutely amazing, and I can't wait for the public to see them, said Kathy Middleton, project director and acting community library manager at the Antioch Library.
The program aims to create stronger connections between young people and their communities, promote intergenerational understanding and civic engagement, and highlight the role of libraries as centers of community cultural life, said Council Executive Director Ralph Lewin. Libraries have long encouraged people to read and seek information on topics of interest, but fostering communication between people of different ages, experiences and walks of life has grown increasingly more important as the state has become more and more diverse, Lewin added.
The project is loosely based on the work of Harvard landscape historian John Stilgoe, who sees everyday landscape as a historical record and wants to awaken people to the excitement of exploring their surroundings. In addition to its observational intent, the program also aims to spark teens' interest in the humanities and encourage them to pursue their newly developed skills and interests through higher education and careers.
In addition to the library exhibits, the youths' work will be featured at the Lynn House Gallery in Antioch for a two-week show beginning Dec. 11, and in an online exhibit on the Council's Web site in the spring of 2009.